Saturday, 21 March 2015

Ace Cafe, London - Monthly Air Cooled VW Meeting.

The world famous Ace Cafe was first opened in 1938 to accommodate the increase in traffic on the newly opened North Circular Road, around the North of London. This popular cafe is located just off the A406 on the North Circular Road in Stonebridge, NW10 7UD, and only a stones throw from the locally well known Ikea superstore in Brent Park. The cafe lasted until 1948 when it was totally destroyed in a WW2 air raid on the nearby Willesden railway marshalling yard. The cafe was rebuilt in 1949 and during the 1950's the cafe became popular with the "Ton up" boys as a place to hang out on their motorcycles and again in the late 1950's / early 1960's the "Rockers" were using the cafe as a place to meet, particularly as the north circular road proved a good place to race their motorcycles. The Cafe remained a bikers cafe until 1969 when it closed. The cafe as it is today re-opened on the original site in 1997 and has been there ever since. Today the cafe is still very motorcycle orientated with plenty of old black and white photographs of how the cafe looked back in the 1950's / 1960's with the the people and their motorcycles. The present owner, Mark Wilsmore caters for many varied tastes and there is normally something going on at the Ace every evening. From Hot Rods to Harley's to Hot hatch backs, from American muscle cars to German sleds and of course regular motorcycle meets. On the 3rd Tuesday of each month throughout the year it's the Air-cooled,  T4 / T5 night, and as the nights are just starting to get a bit lighter, and as the temperature is getting warmer I thought I'd have a drive into North West London to join in the air-cooled fun. You can check out the Ace Cafe website here:

To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of the page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.

Just one of the numerous old photo's that adorn
the staircase and top corridor of the Ace Cafe.
This aerial photo shows the Ace Cafe from the
late 1950's / early 1960's.

A montage of photo's depicting the motorcycle
heritage of the Ace. These photos show how
the 'Rockers' looked back in the 1960's and
the type of motorcycle they rode.

Shortly after I arrived a mate of mine Tom, pulled
up in his latest Beetle. I do like this photo, it must
be because the headlights are on. There are more
 photo's of Tom's early Beetle later in the blog.

This 1970 Beetle stood out in the Beetle line
up with it's super bright purple paint. The custom
front bumper and rear nerf bars, along with the
'centreline' replica wheels added to the overall
smooth clean look of this lovely Bug.

This really is a nice coat of paint, just look at
the reflection of the running board in the drivers
door, how deep that shine is and just how
perfectly straight the body is.

This 'Herbie' Beetle confused me slightly as it
had the registration number of the car used in
the Herbie films, OFP 857. I've heard that one
of the numerous original cars used in the film
was over here, so maybe this is one of the 
original cars.? If it wasn't it was an excellent

I don't remember the 'original' film car ever
having tape on the headlights, although this
could be the present owners own trademark.

Lovely colour coded banded steel wheels,
chrome towel rail bumpers, all red U.S. style
rear light lenses, Paris sunroof and discreet
roll cage all look straight from the film car. If
anyone can confirm or deny whether this is an 
actual film car or not, I'd love to hear from you.

This gorgeous pre 1958 gloss black oval window
Beetle looked stunning parked up. The paint work
was immaculate and the depth of the paint was
amazing. These oval window Beetles were
only produced from 1953 to 1957.

This really is a gorgeous looking car, the body
work was so straight as you can see in the
reflection it gives off. The Porsche wheels and
chrome blade bumpers, along with the chrome
window / body trim add the necessary bling.

Tom's latest cool ride is the 1963 Swedish
import Beetle. This early Bug has had a complete
body off restoration including floor pans and heater
channels etc. The underside of this bug is immaculate
with a show standard coat of paint which you can
just see from the front inner wing. The body has been
purposely left RAT looking.

Tom has owned many show standard bugs so this
RAT look bug must be a refreshing change for him.
Tom was saying that the rear wing needed some
attention and in order to keep the bug as original
as possible he cut up a brand new rear wing in
order to patch the damaged original wing as to 

retain as much of the original metal as possible.
Now that is dedication. It looks like Tom is still
running around with the Swedish number plate.

Joe and his dad Norman, donned their thick
 coats and bobble hats and came along to the
Ace in Joe's cool looking old skool beach 
Joe is a member of the Wolfsburg Weed 
Huggers VW Club, based in Penn Street 
in Buckinghamshire.

Without a roof or even a heater to speak of, driving
along the M40 / A40 from High Wycombe into
London on a cool misty evening in March 
have been some what bracing to say the least, but 
as I have said many times before, those buggy 
drivers really are a hardy bunch.

Joe's buggy from the rear end. I think Joe's
buggy has a MK1 GP body, (although I could
be wrong)... but whatever body it does have, it
does look good. I do like the contrasting white
paint on the roll bar and engine cage. 

A big and little tyre combination on a buggy is
almost compulsory, and Joe's buggy is no
exception. Huge rear tyres running on what looks
like old skool slot mags, along with the 1970's
metal flake paint, this buggy is pure nostalgia.

I arrived quite early in the evening and was directed
to park nearest the Cafe entrance and normally this
is a good spot to park, but because I knew I couldn't
stay for too long  I was at risk of getting blocked in
if it got really busy.

My 1969 bay window parked up in front of the
Ace Cafe. The car park was staring to fill up with
both air-cooled and water cooled VW's and due
to where they were parking the Beetle's my exit
route was getting smaller and smaller. My newly
acquired 'Route67' sticker in the top right hand
corner of my rear screen. This is proof that I shall
be joining the John O'Groats (In Scotland) to
Lands End (In England) charity cruise to help
 raise money for "Crisis". A total trip of 1008
miles in 5 days. check out the Route67 webpage
to donate what you can and to check out the route
we will be taking:

Bert and Darren came along in Bert's cool looking
blue T25. Bert was saying that he experienced a
small clutch problem on the drive down, but luckily it's
nothing that a small amount of tinkering won't sort out.
 Bert has also purchased a shiny new exhaust, but
that's a bit of bling that cannot really be seen.

Looking along the side of Bert's T25, Bert was
saying that he has been polishing the bus and it
does look better for it.

Bert does like a sticker or two in his rear window.
Bert and Darren are both currently members of the
Welwyn Garden City VW Club and the Dunstable
Dubbers VW Club, amongst others.

Two friends of Bert and Darren followed Bert
into the car park in a 1984 high top T25. These
high top T25's have so much room inside and
are so much more practical than a tin top bay.

This lovely 1974 white over blue Westfalia pop
top bay arrived and parked up. I did like the fun
spare wheel cover, it has 'No brakes' written
backwards on it so that any vehicle in front of this
bay could read it in their rear view mirror as they

come up behind them.

This really is a clean looking bus, with it's chrome
bumpers and Fiamma bike rack on the back.

Blue is definitely the 'in' colour this month as this
lovely 2008 dark blue T5 shows. I do like the

T4 / T5 especially when they are this clean.

This 2003 T4 is in a different shade of blue but
it still looks just as nice. I do like the wheels on
this bus and they suit the colour scheme and
overall look of the bus perfectly.

This simply stunning T25 single cab pick up came
along to the VW night at the Ace. This really was
a show standard vehicle with it's awesome blue
metal flake paint to custom wheels and polished
stainless roll bar.

The bed of the single cab was pretty neat with it's
netting rear panel, and lovely clean sheet metal bed. 

A better photo of the trick paint with neat rear
light clusters with custom made chrome nerf bars
and polished tail pipes.

Sometimes less is more and the clean and simple
look of the bed on this T25 make it stand out.

A lovely looking front end, the colour choice suits
the vehicle perfectly. The twin headlights stand
out against the lovely dark blue paint.

This gorgeous T25 single cab from yet another
angle, it doesn't really matter what angle you look
at this bus from, it still looks just so good.

The water cooled T4 / T5's did actually out-
number the air-cooled VW's this month, but
that's fine, it's their night as well and they are
just as interesting to look at.

A very fuzzy photo showing that the Ace Cafe
car park is starting to fill up with both air cooled
and water cooled VW's. This photo makes the
surface of the Ace car park look like the surface
of the moon, it really is not as bad as it looks
honest, it must be a trick of the light.

More T4 / T5's parked up in the Ace car park.
It turned out to be a busy night and the normal
organised parallel lines of parked cars went
some what astray due to sheer vehicle numbers
that attended the monthly meet.

This bright red T4 caught my eye, maybe it was
the super bright colour or maybe it was the
chequered side step.. I'm not sure why, but it did
look nice.

This 2007 T5 also caught my eye, but this time
I did know why... because it looks so big and
so orange.! Wow this paint really is in your face,
and with the black side glass and matching
wheels it looked awesome.

From this angle you can see the contrasting
black and orange work perfectly together.

Being such a big slab of a single colour, the
bright orange shouldn't work, but it does, and
it works very well.

Just a few of the water cooled T4 / T5's that
attended the VW night at the Ace Cafe.

This 2014 white T5 with a black bonnet looked
striking in contrasting colours. I did like the lowered
stance and the aftermarket wheels.

This early bay obviously decided to park across
the road due to how busy the car park was. I
mentioned earlier that I liked the photo of Tom's
beetle with it's lights on, well the same goes for
this early bay... it seems to make the photo more
interesting somehow.

I liked the look of the above photo so I just had
to take another.. ! Unfortunately I didn't find out
much about this Westfalia early bay with a pop
top. It does however appear to be a U.S. import
with it's side marker lights.

So that was the March air-cooled & T4 / T5

night at  the Ace Cafe, London. Overall a very
enjoyable evening with plenty of Volkswagen's
to cater for everyone's taste. I had a very
enjoyable chat to Joe and Norman whilst we
all ate a snack in the cafe, but unfortunately
missed them before I left, sorry guy's. Next
month the clocks would have gone forward an
hour so the evenings will be much lighter so
hopefully this will encourage more people to come
along to the Ace Cafe, London.

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