Last weekend the 3rd International Vintage Volkswagen Show was held in the historic town of Lavenham in Suffolk, UK. I had helped to organise the first two shows which take place every four years but this on was organised by The UK Historic VW Club who I entrusted it to after deciding it need a bigger, dedicated team for it to continue to happen.
I set off for the 150 mile, 3 hour drive to Lavenham at 5.30am on Saturday morning. The sun was already out and the weather was looking promising for the day. When I arrived in Lavenham, I managed to park near the Market Square which was to be home to the oldest Beetles and Busses – following the same format as the previous shows. There was a great turn out with around 160 vehicles pre registered for the weekend, arriving from all over Europe. I hung around the Square taking photographs until it was full and chatted with some old friends who I’ve not seen for a while – probably the last show in Lavenham 4 years ago!
Moving on, I followed the ‘Vintage VW Trail’ which lead me to Lavenham Hall which was a new display area which hasn’t been used before for the show. The house and gardens made a fantastic setting for the Karmann Ghias and Commercial Busses. The house is home to sculptor Kate Denton and her sculptures are placed around the grounds and gallery, next to the house and barns.
Continuing along the trail, I was directed to the sports field which was the location of the sixties beetles, later split busses, military VWs and the trade stands. Lots more traders present this year which was great to see. I stopped to chat with Rob and Paul for a while over coffee and bacon rolls and then headed back to the market square just in time for the first rain shower of the day. The rain quickly passed and the sun returned for a while before the next shower rolled in. I headed home having had a great day as a visitor to the show. Thanks to The Historic VW Club and everyone involved for putting on a fantastic show, well done!
Click on the first picture for full screen images…
Photo of the week #54 – Throughout it’s long production run the Volkswagen beetle sedan changed little from year to year with just a few detail enhancements and improvements but, one of the biggest and most noticeable changes was to the size of the windows, the rear in particular. In 1953, with improvements in glass making technology, VW introduced the curved, oval shaped rear window which replaced the previous split-window which was made from two flat pieces of glass.
The oval-window body continued until the 1958 model year when the shape of the rear window changed to the more familiar and larger rectangle shape along with the dashboard design which was changed to the layout which continued to the end of production in the 70s. This photo was taken at the Lavenham Vintage VW show where we had no less than 36 oval -window beetles registered from all over Europe. All basically the same car but each one completely different and individual!
Photo of the week #48 – Where were you in ’72? Well, add another 40 years and you’ll be nearer the mark for the date this photo was taken. I’ve been playing around with trying to achieve a vintage film look, which I think works well with this picture. I may have to pick some more and do a series of retro photos…
Photo of the week #43 – The Type 34 ‘Razor Edge’ is a rare Volkswagen. From the 45,505 made (the Razor was curiously never sold in America), only 1252 are known to survive, and are known to suffer badly from rust. So a Type 34 in superb condition is a rare machine indeed.
This Ghia, photographed in Lavenham this year, has only had three owners and has covered just 10,948 miles from new! The first owner, Mrs Dixon of Leamington Spa kept the car from new until 1990 when it had covered just 8,589 miles. The second, a Mr Vijay Solanki, owned the car until 2011, covering just 43 miles in his 21 years of ownership. Finally it fell into the hands of well-known Volkswagen collector, Wayne McCarthy who has brought the car up to show-winning standard.
Photo of the week #33 – Dave Mitchell drove his 1953 oval window beetle all the way from Glasgow in Scotland to the Lavenham Vintage Volkswagen Show in Suffolk. This was a trip of around 1,000 miles through some dreadful weather making this one of the furthest driven vehicles at the show! Thanks to Dave and Jean for being so enthusiastic and making the long journey.
Photo of the week #31 – Sometimes it’s nice to try a photo in black & white for a change and I reckon this shot lends itself perfectly. This could have been shot during the year of the Queen’s Coronation in 1952 rather than the Diamond Jubilee in 2012!
This fantastic 1949 standard model 11A split window beetle, belonging to Andrew Axnix, is pictured in the market square at The Lavenham Vintage Volkswagen Show last weekend.
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.