Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A year that was and a year ahead

What a year!
This will sum up my 2006 VW life.
This year, marked my joining a formal VW club, as I have been joining only informal groups in recent years. I have to add that the later is still something I’m always keen to be a part of. I always believe in addition, the more the merrier!
Momentous are the fun-runs I enjoyed with the different groups; from the formal club, my old friends, and the Waterwagen peeps. Those were blasts of clean fun!
This is the year I started “ECM VW life blog”, hope you read a few of what I am by this. The photos, images and drawings are my way of sharing what I’ve discovered and learned.
Met some really nice people in 2006. Some of whom are added to a growing yet select group of friends that I have, who share the real love of Volkswagen.

So what lies ahead?
No one certainly knows, yet for sure my wish is long and filled with enthusiasm. One of my fervent wish is that I’ll keep ownership of the Volkswagen car and enjoy the hobby on a daily basis. As to drive one daily truly keeps me happy! I always pray that I will not be on the same boat as some enthusiasts, who had given up their VW car for various reasons. I understand their predicament, for they wear the VW spirit still in their hearts and some of whom I know very well. I won’t make a new year’s resolution of sorts. I won’t promise to be ultra active in a club, although I wish it could be possible in my line of work. I won’t promise to learn a lot in 2007, yet I’ll be insatiable in accumulating more info about VWs. I’ll try to limit my VW toy collection acquisition this year, but as early as now this will be tough to do.

What I can forecast though, is that the coming year will be better. For I’ve learn to take things in stride and not to be overwhelmed with too much of everything. I’ve realized a VW hobby is something you should enjoy as much as possible in your own terms, without any pressure of sorts. It’s a lifestyle you live out of fun, not out of necessity. My wish is the same for all my friends, as I’ve been blessed to enjoy this hobby together with my family on a daily basis, with much joy over the years. You are part of the joys experienced this year, thus much thanks and best wishes are meant for all of you.
Health, wealth, peace and more happy moments to have this 2007!
Happy New Year to all!
God bless
!

ECM”komenda” and “Boom-Trat-a-Bus” bringing you New Year’s cheers and good vibes!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Season’s Greetings

It’s again the season,
when there’s magic in the air.
A wonderful time,
that warms the heart and soul.
When everything,
seems happy and so right.
Then it must be Christmas!

Special wishes go to…..
family and friends….
colleagues and comrades….
….and all we hold dear.
Peace, Joy & Love….
be yours this season!


ECM"komenda" and T2 Santa ....bringing you cheers

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dubbed, Damp and Dandy

Rain showers are sometimes viewed as blessings from above. And judging by how much downpour Sunday got, it must have been overflowing with blessings. It was the perfect British weather for a Vdub meet, but the only problem is that this is the Tropics. The event shaped out to be a first for everything, partly due to the grey skies.

First time that the annual VWday, wasn’t held on the first Sunday of December, thus re-shaping local Vdub history. First time for me to experience, a much damped VWday, but nevertheless it was a soaking success. First time that I wasn’t able to capture at least ten images of the gathering, as my camera isn’t waterproof and so was I. First time to get a prize from this event. I didn’t join that day’s competition, but this is where I got to claim my prize from Ms. Joana, and from a previous “just for fun” VW toy contest. Surely the rains have brought blessings.

Seems as though, the Vdubs are raining down on my umbrella!
My favorite “take home” is this shirt I got! Hope Dopebeat Derrick wouldn’t mind me wearing this.
Thanks Ramjo, this Dandy VW Bus will put a smile on me and always remind me of VWday 2006.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Make my day!

A simple man begets a simple day.
I have already been celebrating quietly for days prior to this one. Finally it’s my birthday today and as always this day is and was spent, with simple but meaningful hours. A visit to the church and quiet time with the family is more than one can ask for.

I wouldn’t say that I haven’t had special gifts for today, for I did receive much loved surprises from my family. But this last gift I received came all the way from miles away, from Japan to be exact.

It arrived just in time for my special day, hand delivered by no other than the dynamic duo of TNT, (not ‘Tago n’ tago’, but it might also apply?) Tateng n’ Tintin.

Thanks Kuya Conrad for this wonderful present and gift! This really made my day!
Hope this will serve as a preview of a real 930 turbo to have….someday!

BTW,
Thanks for the greetings of Volks-friends; Nito, Ian, Dag and Gilbert!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Double Cool

The good thing about having a hobby is you get to enjoy life a whole lot more. You infuse excitement and adventure in an otherwise normal life. In the case of diecast car collecting, the thrill is seeking out for a particular model that eludes you. In collecting circles, they call it the “HUNT”. The ‘thrill of the hunt’ is what excites most, and is carried out as an enjoyable adventure. Mattel’s Hot Wheels even made special car models called “Treasure Hunt”, that embodies the excitement of searching for these miniature gems.

Most look for at least two pieces of a particular model. One to keep in ‘mint’ condition or in actual 1:1 cars, leave it as stock. The other spare to customize and this is where the real fun part begins!

If you remember the stock mint VW Golf Pickup or Caddy diecast, then you’ll surely see the difference of these customized gems. Again, these are awesome even in their small size. Trick paint job, tuner wheels and dropped stance really set it apart. Attention to detail that is way cool!

Double Cool by Don Croxton
Big Brod Caddy!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cool Caddy

What an appropriate name it is; Golf Caddy. We all know what a caddy in the game of golf is. VW marketing guys must have pick this name out of fun or maybe pun.

The VW Golf Pickup or ‘Caddy’ is an elusive model, and it seems that there is only one in existence in this part of the world. There are sightings of a beige example and have seen it around ten years ago myself, in Project-7 Q.C.

It is a holy grail Waterwagen for one of my friends, and surely you can add it to mine. A few months ago, I was in the processes of importing one from Japan. Have a brod-in-law there to get it for me, but developments in car importation weren’t on my side. The painless importation of used vehicle from Japan, starting September 2006 was next to improbable, at least for a newbie like me.

Most likely it will come from another source, and I’ll be patiently exploring options to acquire one. I dreamt of owning this Caddy someday to load my bicycles on family trips, and this very nice diecast model of it is what I have right now.

A scale model that is becoming as rare as the real Golf Caddy.
A great companion of my white on white appealing pair of Golf Cabby.
Caddy Cabby

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Annual Pilgrimage

It is a period of the year, much anticipated within the singular community. This is the ultimate gathering of the believers. A time of bonding built on common ground and a celebration through joyous brotherhood.

Is it the Christmas Season? Very close.
Is it a Fiesta? Sort of. Very festive. Friendly atmosphere.
Is it a Reunion? You can consider it as one. Seeing good friends again.

I started making this annual pilgrim way back a decade ago. Really can’t explain the force that’s pulling me to be there year after year. There was even a time that this celebration coincided exactly with my birthday and that really started my special day right. So will I be there three weeks from now…..d e f i n i t e l y ! See you December 10 Volkspeeps!

A preview of the VW pilgrimage....from previous gathering of the believers.

VW Parking....rows of Bugs, my Jetta and my Kid.

Line of VWs....and Komenda.

VW Fair....and my fair ladies.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Razor Don

Customizing is a way of expressing one’s individuality in the cars we adore. It’s our stamped ID on wheels. More or less reflects who we are and our aspirations. In principle, a custom car is a deviation from the stock automobile that came from the factory run. It could be altered, improved and morphed from mild to wild. Again it’s an art of personalization with the car being the canvas.

On a much smaller canvas, the custom art has evolved to capture the creativity involved in actual cars. The canvas in this case is the miniature diecast car. If their 1:1 counterparts are labors of passion, then the 1:64 scale cars are labors of obsession.

Check these miniature masterpieces.
A Vdub treated as a “Don”, or a master. Basking in golden orange paint and shiny wheels, this VW T34 is a customizer’s delight. You can’t have this by-the-shelf, this is one of a kind.
This “Razor Don” is trailered and pampered by an equally special VW T2 Crew-cab, with custom done one-off body work.
Both feature the same color combination and style, making for a very special team.
Well, the creator of these custom diecasts, is a true master or a “Don”. He’s no other than Don Croxton, the Type3 master himself. Thanks Big Brother for these great miniatures.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Lowboy

Remember the groovy 70’s when the VW Bug was altered visually in funky fashion. Some were treated with square headlamps, opera windows and ‘frenched’ anything. Others were given the George Barris look, full custom altered bodywork and pearl paintjobs. Most of the early models were intentionally updated using the later model looks, this practice almost a no-no today.

Going back made me remember the Beetle with a Mercedes Benz front nose. These became quite hot during that era. I know of a 2-liter ‘Webered’ hot motored white Bug from then LTO chief Mr. Vinluan, with this front conversion. Seeing a surviving example from a December annual Volkswagen gathering, a black beauty 70’s VW-Merc, brought some cool memories back.

Now given the Volksrod acceptance in custom VW scene, these 70’s creations are great basis of transformation. Capturing the ’32 Ford Lowboy stance and silhouette is by way of its channeled body and rod drop-front suspension. Roadster form is achieved via scratch-built Heb styled rear body and fender-less rod look. Recreate the Manalang-built 2-liter motor of Mr. Vinluan, altogether making for one hot retro seventies child.

Low DUBoy
70’s retro V-rod

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rare-Fest

Oktoberfest is a German tradition of "fun, friendship and fraternity". What better analogy to describe our favorite pastime and common ground, the lifestyle that revolves around our love for European cars.

Early in the day we start the ‘fest’ with a gas up of our cars and our stomach for a fun run. Meeting fellow gearheads, we haven’t got in touch lately and meeting new ones are more than enough reasons to be present. A rare blast on the road to open the throttle bodies of our engines, is the next obvious reason.

Picture this;
A rare two-door mark 2 VW Jetta, clean and fresh for its era. You don’t see much of this around in our part of the world.


A 40th anniversary version VW Golf 2 of which less than 500units of rare original left hand-drive made world-wide. click to view more of the 40th version VW Golf

A group of late 90’s VW Polo Classic, approximately 400units worldwide, being a Pinoy only model variant. There is no exact model like this outside of our country, thus making this a rare Polo model. I bet you, in due time this will be a real ‘classic’.
Thrown in for good measure is a Karmann made VW Corrado and a VW Transporter Crew-Cab.
A Ferrari as a sweetener of our group? Well this Italian must have noticed the Euro-cars' presence and we didn't mind it mingling.
Us admiring the Prancing Horse's rear motor.
A long double-line of classic Wolfsburg rear engined cars with a hundred gearheads in ‘fest’ mode, a rare fraternity of sorts. The fraternity of warm bodies, which doesn’t mind the slight drizzle to celebrate fun. A mingling of friends, old and new!
Indeed, a rare and perfect celebration of Oktoberfest!

Monday, October 23, 2006

One more reason to like Cinelli

Italian Exotic – VW Connection

I’m into Cinelli ever since I got to have my very own Italian exotic vintage bicycle. Researching and reading about the glories past and the passion that created this cult object reinforced my appreciation for Cinelli even more.

It is of course, a normal route for me to check if Cinelli had somehow, in one way or the other, made a VW connection, apart from my personal VW-Cinelli experience. And, sure enough, much to my delight, it does!

The company a few years back introduced another intriguing creation, very much like they’ve done in previous decades of revolutionary ideas that changed the cycling world. A concept they called “BOOTLEG” and a lifestyle that it suggests. This particular Cinelli was designed revolving on the RAT nameplate, predominantly flat black and exudes a sleek snobbish and creatively rebellious appeal.

Cinelli BOOTLEG Bike, a “Zz Rats
Checking the Cinelli website, I was surprised (and happy) to find out that the rolling billboard image and support panel is a Volkswagen. Those Italians really know how to reinforce their cool appeal, and they made a perfect choice. Magnifico Cinelli!

Cinelli BOOTLEG Bus, a “baywindow VW-Type 2 Rat

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ticket to Ride

When : June 28, 2006
Where : Kamias Overpass
What : VW Breakdown
Whew : Need a ride home
Well
, I was traveling north from my place of work via EDSA and everything seems normal as usual. Normal apart from a slight sound while stepping on the gas pedal. A faint squeal, much like a rubbing friction sound that I’m not familiar with my Golf Notchback (or more simply put, my Jetta). After a slow traffic in Cubao, I began to accelerate from a rolling start-stop, and was surprised my gas pedal went flat on the floor. Since the car is equipped with an automatic transmission, I was able to limp it towards the shaded area below the flyover. The culprit; a snapped accelerator cable!
Good thing I’m a member of the AAP and got to contact them for a flat-bed transporter to take my car. I commend their fast service and well maintained fleet. While the Jetta is on top of the flat-bed and on our way home, I began day dreaming “Ticket to Ride”.

“Ticket to Ride” feat “Tito Natz”
A Boyd Coddington craft inspired Notch. Ultra smooth black body, sanitary engine bay, chopped top and clean lines. Fitted with Boyd’s Billet wheels and one-off billet aluminum parts, everywhere. A T3 custom this sweet rides to show wins on a custom T2 flat-bed….what else.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Printed Memories

Lithograph tin toys are always charming at least from my points of view. I remember during my childhood having a cowboy figure with his horse, key wind-up toy. When I first saw it in action, it really got me amused that it does move. So too did a lithograph tin car running on batteries, the bump n’ go variety, which I had fond memories of it.

Lithograph printed tin model cars are now sought after by collectors. It goes without saying this toy variety is very rare nowadays. Although most of what I do collect, are Porsche and VW diecast model cars, I keep my eyes open on these treasures. Once in a while I get to chance upon tin toys and I snapped them without much thought. Definitely their ‘days-gone’ charm is something I can’t resist.

My keyed-up T2 Bus….
Wind ‘em up VW, bobbing as it goes along….

Monday, October 02, 2006

My Other Jetta…

Mine is the famous….
….waterpumper there is….
It is mint….
….and very clean….
Fast looking….
….while staying still….
Cool white….
….but blue-flame hot….

Mine is worry-free….
….maintenance-free….
Does not leak oil….
….or spew out fluids….
Don’t do funny noises….
….as much as me….
No gassing up….
….that is the best part….

My Other Jetta…
....If only I can ride in it….

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dub Country

A diecast toy company really hit the big time in recent years. Apart from collectors taking the stocks off the racks briskly, so too were the competition, briskly taking a serious interest into the 'Dub City' look. Even the mighty diecast company, ‘Hotwheels’ was prompted to release the 'HIN series taking cue from the same style. What is the Dub City style anyway?
Most of it seems to revolve around custom treatment and big shiny wheels. Bling is big on this look. Muscle cars, Hot-rod, Euro, you name it, are fitted with 20 inch wheels, in scale of course. On the 1:1 cars, the ‘Dub City’ look has caught on too. Especially with the rap artist, Hollywood brats, pimps, thugs, care-free rich and just about anyone into bling.
If our local Vdub guy wants to be in the act too, a refreshing bling of choice should be a Sakbayan aka Country buggy. Clearing those wheel wells is mandatory. Body channeled and dropped with narrowed beam and bagged suspension. Everything is spruced up, from the exterior and down to the tiny interior details. To complete the local flavor, Malabon stainless craftsmen were tapped to hand-form the alloy body. In keeping with the custom-look, fiberglass panels are created making for one rust-free coachwork. And last but not the least, the meat of this transformation is of course, the TIS wheels.

Dub Country, Rolling Big

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Campagnolo

Italian Exotic – VW Connection

Campagnolo is a much respected name in cycling. It is also much revered and prized to say the least. Cult following is very passionate, very Italian and very loyal. I would add from a point of view of a collector, very collectible but pricey, much like the great Italian bicycles outfitted with Campagnolo parts.

Campagnolo for decades manufactured alloy wheels also for famed Italian cars like the Lamborghini, now a Volkswagen owned car company. The wheels are as exotic as the cars, they were mounted on. Campagnolo alloy wheels were available also for the VW air-cooled models, and now these are very collectible and desirable. Sadly the company doesn’t produce anymore car wheels, thus increasing the value of alloys it once manufactured.

The company now focuses on the bicycle parts and groupset market, as this is their core business. The product line-up offered is really a deliciously fantastic marriage of technical and aesthetic solutions, and will not disappoint the fanatic. Curiously the company’s branding of their products particularly the bicycle wheel-sets are names of cars.

From the range are three Volkswagen nameplates which caught my attention. Somebody in Campagnolo must have liked VWs!

Scirocco (VW water-cooled sports car, Guigaro designed-Karmann Built)
Vento (Mark3 Euro-version of the VW Jetta)
Bora (Mark4 Euro-version of the VW Jetta)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fast-Back to the Future

Conspiracy Theory Series

Covert Meeting Place:
Porsche-Piech Family Villa, Austria

Grand Conspirators:
Ferdinand Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Porsche engineer par-excellence, Member of family owned Porsche AG, and Chairman for life of Volkswagen AG.
Bernd Pischetsreider, CEO of VWAG, he can’t resist conniving with Piech.

The Conspiracy:
Piech can’t shake off his desire for swift VWs, bringing back driving excitement and creating passion into the Wolfsburg brand. He thought he did this by bringing the New Beetle into the line-up, thereby lending coolness and craving, back to the marque. The maverick that he is, wants to do it again, being inspired by the hot response merited by the new Golf5 GTI. Piech also noticed the success of the co-op effort with the VW Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne. He also admires the way the Porsche Cayman was designed and manufactured. Alas! Porsche owns 18% stake of VWAG shares and more joint developments are forth-coming. This convinced him to do a co-op again, this time around a VW coupe as a brother of the Cayman but with a twist; a 911 positioned engine.

The Project name: VW Neu FastBack

Accessory to the Conspiracy:
Wendelin Wiedeking, CEO of Porsche AG, he must connive with Piech.

New Fasty....

The available colors are 'Lambo' swift Orange, Green and Yellow for the
'S' model....

Monday, September 11, 2006

G-T3 Zagato

1963 Type 3 (T3) 1500S Chassis # 3 was finally located and transformation went briskly. Brisk performance is the order of the day and akin to the car that took form in the Italian ‘Zagato’ auto works. Extensive use of aluminum panels employed, all hand-beaten over wood-molds, the traditional Italian coach-building way. Chrome trims were selectively applied, making for a period specific 1960’s look, of course hand formed. Cockpit and interiors received the period Grand Turisimo (GT) racing treatment; Italian ‘Nardi’ wood-rimmed steering wheel, full instrumentations with chrome rings, leather racing buckets and aluminum faced panels.

Running gear is a different route altogether. Modern suspension, 6-cylinder boxer engine and 6-speed ZF transmission are from Stuttgart. Beefed-up structural boxed frame, radically upgrades the Type3 chassis. Transferring all the torque unto the pavement is via massive 17” alloy wheels specially manufactured for this GT car by ‘OZ Racing’, with special ‘Pirelli’ rubber; thereby rolling on all ‘Italian Job’.

And one more thing…this G-T3 Zagato was flagged down in the Autostrada due to speeds in excess of 230kph…a ‘Fastback’ indeed.

Friday, September 08, 2006

FB3 GT Zagato

Urban Legends Series

A filthy rich British entrepreneur with German ancestry got hold of an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, from an auction for US$ 2.7 million. For the uninitiated, the 6-cylinder DB4 GT Zagato is regarded as the rarest and the most beautiful Aston Martin. It was originally offered from 1960 to 1963 and very exclusive, since only 19 examples were built.

So smitten by this Zagato that an obsession soon followed and further complications developed. Having a soft spot for Deutsche-made cars due to his German mother, he suddenly fell for a VW T34 Fastback. Flaming that enthusiasm is the fact that the roof line resembles that of his DB4 GT Zagato, so he pestered the owner to acquire that car. Unfortunately that VW owner won’t sell the T34 Fastback as it is the only one in existence and he is also an eccentric billionaire collector himself.

Not a guy to let go off his passion so easily from a slight setback, he embarked on having his own, no matter what. The solution with a vengeance; built his very own and exclusive to him only!

He set out to look for a period correct base for his creation and found it in the form of the very first chassis numbered 1963 VW Notchback 1500S to roll out of the Wolfsburg factory. The base car could have been a VW Fastback, but the first one came out in 1965, thus missing the correct era of 1960-63 for the DB4 GT Zagato. Incidentally, the T34 Fastback was derived from the original ‘notch’ configuration, so all the more the 1500S became a correct route to make the transformation. Contracting Zagato, the firm is easy enough as he has handsome ‘donation’ already in that company’s coffers. The result is a 1963 Zagato styled VW FastBack Type3, so exotic it is worthy of the name ‘FB3 GT Zagato’. So well made, that he commissioned another one, for his vintage rebel racing adventures!

FB3 GT Zagato, Street version using chassis #1

FB3 GT Zagato, Mille Miglia version using chassis #2

This guy is still pursuing chassis #3…….to complete the last of the FB3, the GT3 Zagato…….

Monday, September 04, 2006

A few of my favorite things

As a teen growing-up north of the metropolis, I was exposed to the simple life. Life that centered on family, good values and no-frills, is my foundation. I was much into cars very early, since my family’s business revolves around automobiles. With this exposure, appreciating and driving one became sooner than most kids my age.

My fondness to VW in particular, was a result of a Notchback being part of our family during that formative early adulthood. A 1963 VW 1500S to be exact, that contributed to making those years memorable. It has transformed from one color to another, from one style to the next, but it was better remembered as a dark blue Cal-look VW. My father named it ‘Mad Max’ due to its dark color paint,the black ‘banana’ centers its wheels sport and brisk acceleration.

Everyone recognizes ‘Max’ and was a constant companion on teenage fun and curious misadventures. I always had enjoyable errand-rides with it, while listening to new wave music on its cassette player radio. I can still recall how punchy the engine was and the unexplainable special ambience of just being inside.
‘Max’ was sold one infamous summer, much to our regret now. All of us miss ‘Max’ and are keeping our eyes open if it suddenly reappears. For now I’m Notch 1500S hunting, to get me back to where I started in VW. I’ll be patiently waiting for the right Notch to come my way.

Meanwhile, this NotchBox is regularly gracing my desktop till the real deal comes along.
NOTCHback-BOXster in my favorite ‘Max’ color….dark blue.