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Thursday, August 31, 2006

VW Street Day

Last Sunday is fun-day! As akin to warming up to a cup of coffee on a very fine early morning, an ideal fun-day starts with an ideal fun-run. Meeting up with old friends and making new ones, is always a recipe for delight. We began by blasting through the Metro Streets in our VW waterwagens, like boarding-school boys on a sem-break loose, we were in for unadulterated gear-head rush. With the Euro-wagens in a brisk convoy it seems as though we were on the Autobahns or Autostradas of Europe. A feeling of maybe a surreal road racing course like ‘Monte Carlo’ comes to my imaginative mind. After that blast of a fun-run, the Euro-wagens met up with their brethren down south for an all VW Gathering. Initially a gas station ‘pit-stop’ was in order, for a regrouping of more convoy members. Posing, parked and lined up with Old-Skool VW machinery, got merits of happy stares from on-lookers. The highlight of that day and the destination course is ‘VW Street’. A street officially named after a hardwood but for now it is designated as VW Street (I had the liberty of renaming it for you Volksbuddies) every last Sunday of each month. Fittingly that strip was packed with eighty-one Vdub of every type, style, stance and most of all with friendly owners having a fun time. Surreal? I tell you, this is real!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dropped Riding

Custom Selecta Series

Low scraping the road is a style so cool. There is something about the mean dropped stance that is worthy of praise and obsession. Again, afflicted with never-ending creative obsession (for the nth time) I’m back to playing with Custom Selecta. This time, focusing on the weed-killer stance of VW and the lifestyle it represents.

Lowrider. A vert ‘Labaja’ T34 with speckled bright paintwork and pinstripe, chrome goodies and that smallish wire-wheel. Viva La Raza.
'Labaja Salsa'
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HoodRide. A Panel ‘Bodega’ Bug with patina all around and stencil logo-sprayed on, shiny Randar wheels. In Rust We Trust.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Hog Bug

Conspiracy Theory Series

Covert Meeting Place:
A rebel outpost in Sturgis, South Dakota

Grand Conspirators:
Willie Davidson, grandson of one of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s founders and the designer of the 2002 Harley Davidson Vrod.
Fred Hidalgo, artist responsible for one of the most influential Hot Rod VWs, the 2002 ‘Stink Bug’ Vrod.

The Conspiracy:
The two artists realized they both have significant contributions to the gear-head society. Knowing they are part of the most influential ‘mutual-admiration-society’ of rebel designers, decided to join creative juices for a project vehicle codenamed, ‘Hog Bug’.

Accessory to the Conspiracy:
Martin Smith, designer-builder tasked to undertake the construction of Hog Rod Beetle in SoCal.

Harley-Davidson Owners Group Hot Rod Beetle, the Hog Bug

Up-close, front end

Up-close, rear end

Thursday, August 24, 2006

‘Targa Florio?’ Revisited
My Points of View

My first ever bug-run was documented in an article I made in ‘BugsEye’, the official news-letter of VWCP. Had a blast joining the mountain road run to a lake resort and surely, the first is always the most memorable one.
I do hope that the article rubbed on to my fellow Volksbuddies, what it was like to join the ‘running of the pack’. But as they say, “pictures paint a thousand words”, so I’m sharing photos of that run from my vantage point, inside my car.

Early part of the run

KG preparing to pass me

On course to the Lake resort

Tail-gating the Karmanns

My Golf over-looking the lake

Monday, August 21, 2006


Custom Selecta Series

European flavor to customizing is distinct as they come. What’s tasty to the Americans might not be as delectable to the Europeans. Take the VW Beetle as a case study. The Yankees go for the pre-’67 Bug as their basis for custom rides, and generally frown on the obese, bulging later models which are great to capture the German-look.
I’ve gone trying to capture some Euro-tuner look in Custom Selecta from scratch again. Tune in to some of these wacky suggestions, or maybe creative obsessions.

Auto Motor Und Sport look
Swiftback Scalpel
Schweizer Fernsehen look
Swiss-Army Speedster
Top Gear look
Lotus 7-T1

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Rebel Vrod

Those who love two wheels definitely know Harley Davidson. This bike is hand-built in the US, and it is an icon of the American way of life. Freedom and mobility, is what it stands for. A loyal following, which shares the same passion of ‘easy riding’ and ‘brotherhood’, fuels this legend. A brawny image of ‘tough as nails’ is akin to it, surviving the test of time and change. Or so it seems.
In 2002 the iconic company decided to rebel against its rebel image. A revolution in evolution, I might add. In decades of seemingly resisting technology for technologies’ sake, the legendary marque introduced its Vrod. A bike like no other in its history, a potential shaking of its image is inevitable. The Harley Vrod came with all the new technology to rival its Japanese competitors, and the biggest revolution is that the engine is water-cooled. A risky proposition indeed, in the eyes of the purist.

A similar proposition happened in the 70’s with VW. The air-cooled cars were steadily declining in demand, the tougher government regulations making them harder to compete, and the Wolfsburg Company is bleeding financially brought about a revolution in evolution. Thus the water-cooled cars came into being, and this proved to be a wise decision on VW, as it has grown to be a better company after that.

What prompted “Hallmark” of Kansas to do a collectible diecast of this Vrod is a guess as good as mine. Maybe their company signifies “hallmarks in time’, as this motorbike is precisely that in Harley’s history. The model is supposed to be an ornament for Christmas, a d├ęcor you might say. It’s was meant to be hanged, yet it’s downright heavy to say the least. Maybe it’s too special to hang as it is delicately detailed and really more apt for a glassed-up display case. I find it to be really cool and mine will be on display the whole year round.

Hallmark Vrod

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rebel Racer, Weekend Warrior

Everyone has this other side of his persona. Some dudes are downright docile most of the time but let loose once in the company of cheerful friends. Such can also be true with automobiles. There are in some ways, Mr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde cars, which reminds me of this double persona. The type of car that can be used practically everyday yet on weekends let loose its secret in another venue.

The early Shelby Mustang personifies just that. It is an everyday car, one that was even offered as a rent-a-car in its heyday. Owners and those who rented it eventually raced this on a weekend, as this performance car was really tuned to take the track. Of this genre, my favorites of course would be the cars from Stuttgart, the everyday sports cars from Porsche. First would be the 356 Speedster, a lightweight delight that was favored by the weekend racer. Another is the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS a very desirable stormer at the track in the 70’s. Both are at ease on the street as well as beating club racers with bigger engines on a Sunday. Now, this is what I call ‘Rebel Racer’ and it comes to mind, images of James Dean in his Porsche.

An ideal mold of a ‘Rebel VW’ would be a body beaten, bruised, rough on the edges 1965 Karmann Ghia. No glam-up car here, just real scars and scratches showing it was meant to be driven…fast. A reliable and bulletproof 2.7liter boxer motor with multi-carbs, is blueprinted for daily drive and weekend sorties. The radically reworked suspension is beefed up with tubular space frame stiffening the aging chassis and rolls on massive wheels. Obligatory roll cages, bottle of fire extinguisher, bonnet straps are outfitted for safety not vanity. Just plain, ‘keeping it real’ would do just fine, and this surely is what this “Rebel Yell”.

Karmann Ghia 2.7 RS…. Rebel Speedwagen

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lotus bug gag

Remember the BBC Top Gear episode, wherein Jeremy Clarkson (in typical British humor) trashed a stock Lada for a total makeover by Lotus Engineering....and that certainly made for one expensive joke.
Replicate the same plot, with a '71 VW (T1) 1302 turned over to Lotus for tuning. The talented team sought inspiration from their legendary Lotus 7, the epitome of hot rod Briton-style. The result is a very sick joke, the Lotus 7-T1 (Seven-T-One).

Gag bag contents:
From VW
1971 Type One 1302, radical chopped. Type 4, 2-liter boxer motor.
From Lotus
'Seven'-fenders, OEM ‘chrome orange’ paint, OEM side markers, OEM side mirrors, Xenon headlamps, Custom rear wing, Double-wishbone tuned suspension, Custom light alloy wheels.
From ECM
Creative Boredom, Comic relief design.

Lotus 7-T1 bug

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lowrider T-tres

Saw this custom 70's Benz once cruising along Ayala Avenue and was amused that it was given the Lowrider treatment.
To begin with, the Lowrider movement emanated from the Hispanic Pueblo in North America. Their distinct culture is evident in their cars which slowly captured the fancy of gearheads world-wide. It's a total lifestyle in itself, termed "La Raza". We Pinoys have this affinity to the Hispanic culture, having been a 300 year colony of Spain. A quick look at our well decorated indigenous vehicles will assert this. For me, I envisioned a Lowrider to be an early model Chevy Impala slammed so low and capable of hopping about. But this style can now be applied to a variety of vehicles.
Why not on a VW? To capture the low-slung profile, a Type3 Fastback is chosen. Fitting "Airkewld" bagged suspension and smallish wire wheels to capture the desired slammed stance. For the attitude, throw in rear wheel spats, visors, opera windows, chrome goodies, fancy airbrushed paint and just don't hold back. If you're still unsure, check out our glitzy Sarao jeepney; a bit of inspiration from this, might do the trick.

"La Raza" Fasty