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.