On Sunday Alison and I made our way over Stanford Hall for this year’s annual show which is organised by the Leicestershire and Warwickshire Volkswagen Owners club. I usually take my beetle to display in the Historic VW line-up but, this year we decided to bring my Audi A3. Last year’s show was one of many which fell fowl of the appalling weather being postponed to later in the year. By the time we got to Stanford Hall, at about 10.30 am, the show was in full swing and looked to be busier than ever!
There were lots of great VWs for sale including some nice, early stock examples, along with the lowered and custom cars which are always in plentiful supply. One of several which caught our attention was a very straight and original split screen pick-up which was a fresh import from Ohio in the US.
The concourse area was packed with immaculate VWs of all kinds from early air-cooled models right through to recent vehicles including the Audi TT and New Beetle. The Splitscreen Van Club always have a huge presence at this show as they have their AGM the same weekend and then cruise to the show en mass. The Historic VW display was also impressive and seems to be getting better each year.
We left after lunch having enjoyed wondering around the show for most of the morning, in sunshine for a change!
Sunday 17th February was my first opportunity this year to visit a Volkswagen show. Still a little cold, but nowhere as bad as it’s been in recent weeks, I made the 90 mile drive up to Stafford for DubFreeze, a mainly indoor show at Stafford showground. I’ve been going to this show for many years. In the past, I’ve driven a beetle in convoy with other members of the Milton Keynes VW Club – in sub-zero conditions at a steady 60 mph, stopping regularly to scrape ice from the windscreen. This trip soon lost it’s appeal after leaving Stafford in freezing fog one year and breaking down less than 5 miles from the show. We got recovered eventually and had a nice warn ride home in the cab of the recovery truck! I think that was the last time I went in an aircooled VW, now preferring the warmth and comfort of a modern car in the winter!
After a two hour drive, I arrived at the show ground at 10am, no usual traffic queue, it was straight into the car park and then a short walk to the show. I had arranged to meet up with a guy who wanted to buy a 60s VW jack from me so I rang him and we met up at the doors to the hall. I had a quick chat with Barclay from Status VW Parts who always has a stand there selling parts. This year he only had two tables rather than his usual large stand. He explained that he makes more sales over the phone and online on the Monday morning after the show so will just be visiting shows with his barndoor bus this year to promote his business but not trading. I guess it’s a sign of the times when you can buy just about anything online for your VW. If I wasn’t taking photos, I doubt I would go again either.
There were definitely less VWs in the show-hall than last year but, still lots of people looking around them. Rat-look still still heavily represented and very popular but also a few restored aircooled VWs and a hand full of water pumpers too. It’s always difficult to get photos as you seem to become invisible when you stop and point a camera at a car. People will look at you, then walk in front of you and stop with their back to you, totally oblivious. You definitely need a lot of patience to photograph at car shows!
After the miserable weather we had in the UK for most of 2012, 2013 started with a bright sunny day! So I headed over to Stony Stratford for the new years day classic car gathering. I went last year and the turn-out was a little disappointing but given the weather was as expected. What a contrast this year. The sunshine brought out the classics in their hundred and by midday the town was completely packed with old cars!
A distinct lack of VWs though! Just a couple of split screen campers, one bay window and two beetles. I will definitely make more of an effort to take my beetle to the next Vintage Stony meeting in the summer.
Sunday started very grey and very very wet as I made my way down the M40 motorway in torrential rain at 8am. As my car aquaplaned from lane to lane, I questioned why I had got up so early on a Sunday morning to make this trip in such appalling weather and wondered if I should just turn around and head for home…
I pressed on and got to Slough just after 9am – not bad considering the conditions. No queue at the door this year, I parked up, grabbed my umbrella and headed in for a wonder around the traders stalls in the sports hall. Every year there seems to be less and less stalls and less people making the trip to this one day swap meet. The bad weather obviously played its part this year and I guess another VW show in Stafford on the same day may have had an impact too?
Less stalls meant wider isles between them, which made wondering around much easier and less of a shuffle! There was quite a lot of interesting bits and bobs for sale this year but, I was determined just to look and not buy as there was nothing I really needed for my beetle. A friend of mine managed to pick up a front wing for and early oval-window beetle at a reasonable price which might end up on one of his1953 bugs. Other friends were sat behind their tables offering me discounts to help clear their goods. Many people take the same stuff to sell year after year with little success but I think there was a lot less rubbish this time as you need to sell some ‘quality’ items to pay for you pitch and make a profit of some kind.
Outside, the heavy rain had reduced to a light sprinkle so I decided to seize the moment to grab my camera for a stroll around the car park. Considering the rain, quite a few air-cooled VWs had turned up. Nothing very shiny and pristine though. Lots of daily-drivers mostly in what appears to be original or old paint and looking a bit ‘weathered’!
Do you know where Birdingbury is? Well, neither did I until I paid a visit to the Back 2 Basics Vee Dub Show on Sunday 16th September. Birdingbury is a small village right in the centre between Coventry, Rugby and Royal Leamington Spa and it just happens to have its own show ground with mains water, showers and plumbed in (proper) toilets! What more could you want for a weekend’s camp-out with fellow Volkswagen fans?
I’d spent Saturday at Silverstone race circuit photographing Ferraris in bright sunshine and Sunday was just about as far removed from the previous day as as you could get. Grey stormy skies and what started life as cheap, affordable transport – ‘the peoples car’! This was my first visit to the Back 2 Basics VW show which is now in its fourth year and the first time at Birdingbury. Only a forty minute drive for me from my home, I got there at around 10am. Too early for some as a lot of the traders hadn’t yet opened shop and there were only a handful of early-birds lined up in the show and shine area. I decided to take a wonder around the camping areas in search of interesting VWs to photograph. A loverly red Karmann Ghia was parked on top of a hill and as I walked towards it, the sun decided to make it’s first appearance of the day. There was also a nice, completely stock, white ’66 beetle which was being loaded up with camping equipment. Most people were busy packing up so I left them to it and headed back to the show field.
There was a steady stream of VWs into the show area during the morning and what you could describe as a very diverse mix of styles and models: A stock, blue, very original and unrestored ’58 bug complete with battle scars was one of my favourites. There were ultra-clean and highly ‘pimped’ Water cooled models and a fair selection of ‘Rat-look VWs, one of which drew quite a lot of attention. The brown split bus had been imported from the Tennessee Mountains. The story goes that the owner had used the VW in the 60s to smuggle illegal Fireworks into the US from south of the border. After being caught several times he hid himself away in the mountains and was never heard of again. The bus was recently discovered up in the hills, hauled back down and shipped to the UK where it’s had a complete mechanical overhaul before being put back in the road, the body however remains as it was found! Another intersesting ‘vehicle’ wizzing around the show ground was the motorised armchair which had everyone laughing in disbelief. Certainly something for everyone at this small, local show which lives up to it’s name. Well done to all involved for a great show.
Words by : RandyF Photos by : RandyF
During my shop visit to MoonEyes, Moon of Japan (article coming up after this, this event is way too backlogged) I got news from the staff at the shop that there will be a "gathering" of Volkswagen that will be happening over the weekend at the PA near Tokyo Teleport station.
Gathering to me is probably 30 cars chilling over a couple of drinks under the sun and doing nothing much but admiring each others automobile.
On Sunday I made my first visit to the annual VW & Mini show at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The magnificent home of the First Duke of Marlborourgh was built in the early 1700s and has been used as a location in many films including the recent Gulliver’s Travels staring Jack Black.
Due to bad weather, the show had been moved from the grass to the large hardstanding area in front of the house which, from a photography point of view, was an excellent decision! I got there at half ten and had to queue for 15 minutes to get in, so very busy with lots of people visiting for the day, helped I’m sure by some sunshine.
There were plenty of Volkswagens (and Minis) on display both outside the palace and on either side of the road leading down to the bridge, nothing particularly old apart from a couple of 60′s split screen campers and handful of similarly aged beetles.One of my favourites has to be the red and cream split screen bus belonging to Terry Lee from Bloxham. A random selection of trade stands, mostly Mini related, were situated at the front entrance. The only one that tempted me to spend some cash was a burger van at lunch time!
I think the palace makes an excellent backdrop for classic cars and it’s a shame that they don’t allow cars to be displayed there more often. Maybe this will be the start of a new permanent show area. We’ll see what happens next year!
Stanford Hall is a stately home built in the time of William & Mary, it’s located near Lutterworth in the UK and is the location for the Leicestershire and Warwickshire VW owners club’s annual Volkswagen show. This year’s show took place on Sunday 1st July having been postponed from May due to bad weather and was blessed by some sunshine during a day of dark clouds.
I arrived early as my oval window beetle was to form part of the Historic VW display in front of the main house which is organised by the Historic VW Club each year. You get in for free if you take part in the display so it’s a good incentive to register and bring your VW along! There was a good turn out for the display this year including several military VWs, Split window and oval bugs and quite a few in the recently added pre 1960 line up.
I parked up and took a wonder around the show armed with my camera. After a walk through some of the vast array of trade stands, I headed for the VWs for sale area. I real mix of Volkswagens were on offer from a very nice 1955 Devon Camper right up to T4 campers and new beetles, with just about everything in between. Other VWs that caught my eye were a red 1965 beetle called Ruby which was an ex-concourse winner which was now for sale and a very low blue single-cab splitscreen pickup.
Past a few more trade stands was the concourse area where everyone was busy cleaning and polishing before judging started later in the morning. The ’67 beige Beetle of Rob Evens was looking perfect to me and a strong contender for an award this year. Matt Lancaster, Known as ‘Baron Von Kronken’ had bought along both of his busses, a sign-written panel van and his very original 1956 Krankenwagen VW ambulance. One thing I did notice was the number of razor-edge Karmann Ghias which are surfacing at the moment. Another VW worth a mention was the 1950 Karmann Cabriolet owned by Russell Ritchie from Scotland. Russell had only decided at the last minute to bring his cabrio along to the show and I’m glad he did! It’s always nice to see the rarer VWs being brought out for people to admire. It seems that all of the restoration projects are finishing at the same time! The Split Screen were there in force as usual with long lines of vans, every colour, model and height you could care to imagine.
All in all another great show, and a Sunday well spent. I’m sure I’ll be back in 2013 again for what many regard as one of the best VW shows on the UK calendar. Well done to all involved.
Our second Vintage Volkswagen Show took place in Lavenham, the beautiful historic Suffolk village, on Saturday 23rd June 2012. Our first show was four years before, way back in 2008, and expectations were high as the next show was to be double the size – with 165 stock, pre-1967 Vintage Volkswagens registered for 2012. June has turned out to be a very wet month in the UK, with many outdoor events, including car shows, being cancelled or postponed until the weather picks up a bit. The weather leading up to the Lavenham show was ‘mixed’ to say the least with forecasts for the Saturday changing by the hour, depending on which weather report you read! Thursday evening was bright and dry but Friday started with showers and it wasn’t until about 11.30 am that we actually got the final go-ahead from the Parish Council to use the common for the show, quite a stressful morning!
By the time registration opened in the village hall at noon, things had got a lot better and it was now a warm but cloudy afternoon. There was an occasional patch of blue sky and the sun even made an appearance from time to time. There was a steady flow of people around the Village Hall signing-in throughout the afternoon and evening, with several stopping a while to chat or tinker with their cars. Fingers crossed for Saturday’s weather!
Well, the crossing of fingers worked as Saturday was a great day. As we were finishing out breakfast in our hotel on the Market Square, the cars were starting to assemble outside. The Market Square was to be home to the oldest VWs: Kubelwagens, Split window and Oval window beetles, Karmann and Hebmüller Convertibles, Barn-door busses and a special display of standard-model beetles. Mainly vehicles built before 1957 which was the last year of the oval shaped rear window. There were three Hebmüller Convertibles on display from Germany, Belgium and Italy. Andreas from Italy had set off on Wednesday morning for the show. Apparently he had been sleeping in his car en-route. Arriving in dover at midnight on Thursday, he got to Lavenham on Friday afternoon, signed in then headed straight to his hotel for some well deserved rest.
Other long distance visitors included Carsten Andersen from Denmark and Fernando and Joaquim who had driven their beetles all the way from Portugal (around 1500 miles). There were several visitors from Wales and Scotland who had actually driven further than some of the visitors from overseas! Richard Tricker brought along his amazing 1952 Karmann Convertible. Originally used as a border patrol car by the German police, this car hasn’t been seen at a VW show for many years. There were 35 Oval window beetles on display which was an excellent turn out, ranging from some very original unrestored examples to many superbly restored cars.
A short walk from the square was Lavenham Press where you found a display of beetles from 1965-1967 – the last beetles with sloping headlights. There was also a very rare 1963 Beutler pickup on display, brought over for the show from Belgium by Raoul Verbeemen. It’s one of only three that have survived. Just around the corner from the press was Lavenham Common with some trade stands, refreshments and even more vintage volkswagen displays: Karman Ghias, Type 3s, 1958-1964 beetles and over 60 1956-1967 splitscreen campers! The weather stayed fine for the rest of the day and in the evening we had a party in the village hall with a meal, laid on by Karat catering. This went down well after a busy day and was a chance to chat with everyone you missed during the day over a drink.
For Sunday morning we had organised a cruise around some of the neighbouring villages, so everyone assembled on the common again for an 11am departure. Not the 109 who had registered though, probably due to the change in the weather as it was starting to look pretty grim! We headed off for the 35 mile drive and ended up at the village green in Long Melford for Lunch. The perfect end do a great weekend.
I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone involved with the show. Rob Amos and Barclay Stainton who helped with the organisation before hand and over the weekend, The People of Lavenham for their assistance and for allowing us to hold the event there again this year, including Lavenham Parish Council, Lavenham Merchants Guild, Lavenham Community Council, Lavenham Press and 1st Lavenham Scouts. Our sponsors and supporting organisations including The Historic Volkswagen Club, The Split Screen Van Club, Pre67vw.com, Status VW Parts and VW Camper & Commercial Magazine. All of the people involved with marshalling on Saturday, visitor parking, registration on Friday, the party on Saturday evening and the Sunday cruise. These include Adrian Chalmers, Karl Grevatt and his parents, Rob & Pippa, Jack Norman, Neal Smart, Phil Taylor, Rob Meekings & crew, Scott & Liz Furness and all at Karat Catering, Scott Spencer and Jacqui Hobbs & team. Also thanks to everyone who brought their Vintage VWs to Lavenham from near and far and all who visited the show and created such a great atmosphere. It really was a team effort so thank you.