Beetles In the Rain

VW 201512

Every car marque and type in the world has a fan club somewhere. The exotic and entitled have Aston Martins and Ferraris and such – the inventive have hot rods – the old established families have vintage and veteran cars. They have their venues and their clothing styles and music and there is little cross-over in the shows – a rod show might have a couple of veterans and a vintage show might have one hot rod. The classic types disdain all of this…but still have to admit hoi polloi when it comes to the coffee vans and catering. Of course Shannon’s is at all of them, with a suitable drawcard car to sell insurance. Shannon’s work on actuarial tables and calculated risks but they are happy to take money from any driver or collector.

All this is a workup for this morning’s visit to the VW Club car show in McCallum Park. I didn’t know I was going to it until I opened Facebook at 9:00AM and found out that another photographer was there. With a cynical eye to the weather – we have had heavy rain storms – I decided to see what VW owners look like.

I used to be one myself – a used 1500 station sedan that seized its engine a block from home and a brand new Passat station sedan that lost its suspension bolts a thousand kilometres into the desert. I admire the make but have long lost the gambling instinct that would put me behind the wheel of one…

Still, there were a lot of different things to see. I started with the humble beetles and worked my way up to the flashier camper wagons and observed the people on the way. They are a sort of a quiet cross between older rodders and vintage restorers with a strong bias for sitting out outside of their cars near the ocean somewhere on folding chairs and drinking cans from an Esky. Not so much the wild macho bush bashers as the slightly nostalgic motorised gypsies.

The beetles at least were a foundation of memory – particularly the two-tone paint jobs. They were sold new with solid paint finishes but it was only a matter of time here in WA before someone clapped a chrome strip on the side and applied a coat of white Duco. There were all sorts of excuses floated for doing this, from making it safer to see on the road to repelling the heat of the sun. Hardly anyone in the 60’s admitted they just did it to look fancy. And, strangely enough, hardly anyone with a white VW beetle painted a darker side panel.

VW 201514

It wasn’t all that common for the white to be extended to the front and rear wings either – just the side panel. Easier to mask and do, and I suspect a few of them were done with rattle cans.Wonder if anyone is game to do it on a new Beetle?

BTW. Next time a new 2104 or 2015 New Beetle is out on the road observe how big it is. A grey one passed me on the highway the other day and it loomed over the Hyundai next door to it. They may look small, but they ain’t.

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