In Photographs: A Gathering of the Grooviest Air-Cooled VWs in California

In the late 1990s, Andre Toselli of Airhead Components in Ventura, California kicked off a classic Volkswagen lunch cruise for VW fans who drove a Karmann Ghia. The unceremonious jaunt of basic Volkswagen sports activities vehicles occurred round Ventura and rapidly developed into the biggest annual gathering of Karmann Ghias on the earth. That being so, the Ghia operate’s reputation unfold like a wildfire within the Volkswagen group attracting fans who owned different classic VW fashions. As a result of rising curiosity, in 2005 the “Karmann Ghia solely” rule was amended with the intention to welcome all basic rear-engine Volkswagen vehicles to hitch the convoy.

To rejoice the inclusion of all rear-engine VWs, a 6,500-mile cross nation cruise ensued from Los Angeles to Chicago by way of Route 66, then to Florida and again to the Airhead Components Headquarters in Ventura. In 2008, the cruising route was prolonged from the Ventura Pier to the Golden Gate Bridge, which launched the inaugural Freeway 1 Treffen.

In German, the phrase treffen means to satisfy or collect, an appropriate time period to outline the classic Volkswagen conclave. Though the cruise didn’t formally develop into referred to as Freeway 1 Treffen till 2008, the earlier Karmann Ghia gatherings tailored the official title of the annual street journey. As if the story of the Freeway 1 Treffen couldn’t get extra intriguing, in 2012 the driving route was up to date and now stretched from the Canadian border to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The annual air-cooled Volkswagen trek begins in Port Angeles, Washington and covers a complete of 1,700 miles alongside the West Coast in ten days. Yearly, roughly 1,000 drivers take part on this Pacific shoreline voyage and there’s no charge or registration required. The one requirement is an air-cooled Volkswagen and contributors have the choice to hitch the cruise for a day or the complete journey. This occasion presents the chance to camp out and share meals with different classic Volkswagen fans. Along with cruising on Freeway 1, the Volkswagen convoy hosts automobile exhibits throughout their stops in Crescent Metropolis, Pacifica Grove, Ventura, and Port Hueneme.

Hosted and sponsored by its creator, Andre Toselli, Freeway 1 Treffen simply celebrated its 21st anniversary final month. As most Vehicle readers might already know, I not too long ago attended an all-British automobile present at Harbor View Park in Oxnard. Coincidently, the ultimate automobile present of Freeway 1 Treffen takes place on the similar park. I made one other journey to the Channel Islands Harbor to satisfy a few of the courageous contributors on the Classic Volkswagen Cruise and Automotive Present.

The automobile present featured principally Beetles and Buses, nevertheless, there have been Kind three’s, Buggies, Karmann Ghias, and Issues blended into the gang. Tucked away in a nook of Harbor View Park, I got here throughout one of the crucial weird Volkswagens I’ve ever seen in my life: a 1959 Volkswagen Deluxe 23-Window Bus with an unusually shortened physique. This odd-looking VW Bus was painted in a spectacular mixture of purple and yellow, which jogged my memory of one thing a hardcore Los Angeles Lakers fan would drive.

After I approached the tremendous cute and uncommon Bus, I circled it like a school pupil looking for parking on campus and observed that others have been doing the identical. This personalized 1959 Volkswagen Bus–a.okay.a. Shorty Bus–was minimize by 4 ft round 1971-72 and has custom paint and pinstriping of that period. The VW Bus got here into the palms of proprietor Invoice Stellmacher virtually 11 years in the past (shortly after the passing of his spouse.) He bought the Bus in a dilapidated and non-running situation and the method of getting it again on the street turned a part of his grief remedy.

“I really take pleasure in driving the Shorty Bus round city on day by day errands, taking it to automobile exhibits, and even to journeys from California to Washington. It brings smiles to everybody who sees it. I take pleasure in speaking with the folks and particularly the youngsters who all assume it’s a giant Sizzling Wheels toy. Seeing the grins it generates is my happiness,” mentioned Stellmacher.

Stellmacher spent a year-and-a-half repairing and upgrading his Bus and when rust from 50 years began to indicate, he determined to do a full restoration. Retaining it according to the 1960s model of hot-rodding, he added custom options all through the inside and exterior.

Contained in the groovy Bus: Suede inside, shag carpet with interval appropriate coloration and texture, metallic gel steering wheel, sprint controls, shift knob, hand-worked unique hardwood veneer paneling, and custom-made rear bounce seats.

On the Exterior: Pop-up sunroof, Volkswagen Transporter lights with blue jewels, 5 coats of metallic paint with pearl and clear coat, Safari home windows, hand-rolled engine consumption air scoops, and powder coated wheels with chromed moon hubcaps.

Equipment Are a Should: 1960s pinstriped and airbrushed surfboard, roof rack, aftermarket stereo system, USB charging ports, Volkswagen brand projector entry-door lights, musical air horn and siren, coat hooks, and barefoot pedals.

Drivetrain Goodies: Freeway Flyer transmission, 1776cc constructed air-cooled engine, heavy obligation race clutch, raked entrance suspension, twin two-barrel carburetors, and Porsche entrance disc brakes.

I adopted up with Stellmacher after assembly him on the classic Volkswagen automobile present and he shared a snapshot of his expertise on the 21st Annual Freeway 1 Treffen Cruise:

“I simply completed taking the Shorty Bus on a round-trip from California to Washington and again down the coast on Freeway 1 with different Volkswagens. Whereas in Washington, it was enjoyable taking my grandkids out and about within the Shorty Bus. Their pleasure and enthusiasm whereas driving in it’s priceless.”

And for these of you who’re curious, sure, it might do a wheelie.

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