2017 Spillout VW Show and Swap Meet

Welcome to our first post covering an auto show. Naturally since it was Matt who went it was a #VW show. Texas can be hot, but they always know how to car show… specifically under a large pavilion at “Traders Village” which is a gynormous flea market in southwest San Antonio.

Those are just four pictures of about 300 available here! Much thanks to my #GooglePixel for the amazing photos!

IMG_20170902_164429

Goodbye for now… or as the Germans say “tschuss!”

Advertisements

The Phantom Menace Redux

In the previous post I talked about stumbling across a #BarnFind #craigslist ad that simply stated “1973 Volkswagen.”

I shot off an email and got a text response from the owner’s daughter, Hannah. Hannah was very nice and we talked a good deal about her father’s collection and what he had acquired over the past 27 years. She was nice enough to send me pictures of some of the collection as well as the 73 #Volkswagen. The car in question ended up being a 1973 #SuperBeetle in running order but missing the windscreen.

Alas, the mystery is solved but man I would love to see inside that barn!

The Phantom Menace

If you are like me and love cars, which if you are on this page you probably are, then you spend a fair amount of the day looking at craigslist for that rare gem that everyone else misses. Honestly it is an addiction.

Today I came across an add titled “Warehouse full of #barncars.” Yeah, that is getting a look-see.

My search thread was simply “VW” so I was excited to know what they had. Inside there was a list of 11 vehicles ranging from early 90’s Camaros to 40’s Plymouths. Now kids Plymouth was a division of Chrysler and has quite a history… look it up. Back to the #VW. Number 9 was simply listed “1973 VW, Vehicle runs.”

Consider my interest queued up. I HAVE to know what this car is. It could be anything. Logic says if they did not ID it as a #Bug or #Van it could be a Type 3, a Ghia, a Thing, A 411/412… or best yet given the location in Texas maybe some rare thing from south of the border. And i’m not talking TacoBell here Racers. Needless to say I fired off an email and am awaiting with baited breath as the add has only be up a day.

WHAT WILL IT BE… STAY TUNED TO FIND OUT!

The American Microcar Company You’ve Heard Of But Didn’t Know Existed

Have you been to Wal-Mart Target recently? Well if you have been, as you stroll through the electronics “zone” you may have come across some fantastically over-retro turntables. They come in all shapes and sizes. In the early to mid 2000s you could still buy a combo that included a cassette tape. Note: for all you youngsters our there a cassette tape is what we had before CDs, it was plastic and had spools of magnetic tape that would bind up out of love. Oh, and CDs are what we had before MP3s… which is what we had before the iPod.

sonys-new-cassette-tape-holds-64750000-songs

this is that thing you saw in Guardians of the Galaxy

Joking aside these wonderfully fantastic retro boxes are made by Crosley. You might say, “Matt, this is a car page. Why are you talking about record players?” Well, if you shut it I’ll tell you.

Crosley, it turns out, has been around for a very very long time. Since 1916ish to be exact. If you haven’t guessed where this is going yet then, well, I don’t know… but they used to build cars. Small machines to be exact. Micromachines if you will.

1939crosleytransferable

1939 Crosley

The man behind all of this was Powel Crosley, an avid automotive enthusiast and runner up for the 1920 National Best Last Name as a First Name Award. There as an entire back story about Powel that you can brush up on via the Crosley Automobile Club’s website where the majority of this information is gleaned from and I thank them. Suffice to say Powel endured quite a number of failures – four to be exact – in his automotive endeavors before switching over to accessories and radios. It turns out radios were his ticket and soon he was rolling.

You can thank Powel and his company for many innovations in radio and appliance history. My personal favorite is the shelves in the door of the refrigerator. Since everything in the early 20th century had to have a catchy name, think Hydromantic and the like, this fridge was called the “Shelvadore.” All of Powel’s early efforts in the automotive industry were relatively expensive. His years in the radio business taught him that people will always want high quality, affordable products.

46cc

1946 Crosley CC with Powel in the Fedora (a fedora is the Indiana Jones hat)

The American micro-car was a non-existent segment in 1937 when Crosley began its experimentation. Early micro companies folded in the mid 1920’s amid pressure from better products like the Model T. The last surviving micro car company was Bantam, known for the Jeep, which died once the US Government awarded the contract for the Jeep to Willys and Ford. Sick burn.

Production was in full swing in 1939 but as with most automotive upstarts production was plagued with issues and the onset of World War II only exacerbated the fact. Pre-war production is recorded at a respectable 5,757 vehicles.

During the war years a micro-Jeep had undergone testing and was ordered for production but lost its appeal during field testing due to the underpowered 13 hp engine. Known as the Pup and weighing less than 1200 lbs the idea was it would be easier to handle in mud. The original military Jeep as we know it wasn’t exactly huge. Can you imagine how awesome whipping around a field in a micro-Jeep would have been? Consequently, the small, lightweight car was a big hit during the war years due to rationing.

Crosley, post war, is where the car really came into its own. From 1946 till its end in 1952 the Crosley enjoyed innovation and success. Overlooked for technological firsts including discs brakes and overhead cams they were true innovators in their day. Things we missed in an American auto industry dominated by the “Big 3” which produced more of the same and backhandedly crushed innovators like Tucker. Crosley simply failed to grow, literally, with the public’s demand for bigger cars. The “Great America” as we entered the fifties demanded bigger cars with big engines. A Crosley this was not. Navigate to the Crosley Automobile Clubs website above for a more in-depth look at the postwar cars and innovations.

Crosley peaked in 1948 with production numbering 27,707… 23,000 of which were wagons. For the record, I love both wagons and little cars. Did I mention they made wood paneled cars too? In total from 1939-1952 Crosley produced a recorded 93,436 vehicles that included roadsters, trucks, wagons and sport utility vehicles.

I urge everyone to research Crosley more! Chances are this isn’t the last time I write about them but there is a plethora of sites online that have fascinating information on this forgotten technological marvel. Many thanks to the Crosley Automotive club for much of this information.

138036_front_3-4_web

1952 Crosley Super Woody Wagon

 

1952_crosley_farm_o_road_by_aya_wavedancer-d6x5hrr

1952 Farm-O-Road

 

 

Bugatti

The #Bugatti

If you’ve been living under an automotive rock then you don’t know Bugatti is working on the #Veyron successor. A successor called #Chiron.

You may be unfamiliar with the name Chiron, however, it is a title assigned to the top #centaur amongst centaurs. The Chiron was the most wise and the most just of all centaurs. He was a centaur among centaurs. How many times can I say centaur. Well… Centaur.

12241139_f520

Now if you’ve grown weary of Greek mythology let us speak of automobiles. Let us speak of Bugatti. Bugatti is an automobile company founded in 1909 by an Italian living in a French region that is arguably Germany. If that history doesn’t sum up the pantheon of European automotive style, performance and reliability then I don’t know what does. Bugatti is known for one thing: making really expensive, really fast and really weird looking cars. I shouldn’t say weird, I should say unique. In fact at first glance most dismiss it as some one-off, crazy looking concept. Thing is it isn’t. It looks like a concept but that’s how Bugatti’s always look.

But as kooky as the car may look and as crazy as the car may cost its nothing new. People claim the Veyron was “Evolutionary.” They stand on mountains and proclaim it. Rappers rap… or is it wrap?… about it. Automotive journalist swoon over it. But I’m here to tell you the Veyron wasn’t evolutionary. It wasn’t new. In fact it is the exact opposite. The Veyron, when it came to market in 2005, represented one of the oldest ideals in automotive development. Make a big car with a huge engine that can go faster than anything else. Sure there may be new technology stuffed in there to make it happen but it is nothing like the #McLaren #P1, #Porsche #918 or the #Ferrari #LaFerrari (which translates to The Ferrari The Ferarri… centaur.)

The Veyron was straight, raw, gasoline fueled haberdashery. It wasn’t a hybrid like the Ferrari Ferrari or the 918. It relied on age tested principals… add a shit ton of cylinders and hold on for your life.

The Chiron… it’s the same but just more of it. The overall design echoes the Veyron but since the new car is acres better it’s the new top dog. Errrrr, new top centaur.

It is the Chiron.

9

This beast is so fast tires don’t exist that contain its raw displacement fury. This beast is so fast it’ll make you feel like you have a second set of legs. Heh, get it? A centaur. I swear that is the last centaur comment.

Honestly though, with the evolution of vehicles and the new hybrid drivetrains delivery neck snapping performance I’m in awe. Bugatti is still producing some the most badass cars using the technology and ideals dating back to 1909.

Who knew in 1909 that an Italian living in a French-German disputed region would make you feel like a Greek mythology over 100 years later!?

bug_legendes_ettore_bugatti_15

Source: Bugatti.com

That being said Bugatti better best behave… they don’t want to be the centaur of attention. Or do they?

That time I drove through Berlin

This is the one. This is the one I’ve been planning to write for a long, long time.

Almost a rental car round up but so much more.

Once, not so long ago, I drove a vehicle I had hoped to drive since the moment I learned of its existence. When I was a boy of no more than six I dreamt of driving a #Beetle and when I finally got the opportunity to purchase one I did. I loved that car, a 1974 standard with an aftermarket ragtop, and owned it longer than any other car. I eventually sold it as my family grew. This is NOT the vehicle I am writing about.

IMG_0718 copy

My 1974 Beetle 1600

As young boy, I also loved the movie Back to the Future and subsequently the DeLorean. I haven’t driven one – yet – and so naturally this is not the car I’m writing about.

filiebihflfax0ulnvmh

Photo Credit: Universal

In fact the car I’m writing about is derived, so heinous that its mere existence is appalling on a level most car aficionados would put the #Pontiac #Aztek in. A car which I also happen to love but for different reasons.

The car I’m writing about is called the #Trabant… or #Trabi for short. Most Americans know nothing of it. In fact its only claim to fame being that of #U2 album cover or maybe the first car to made out of cotton. You see, the Trabi was the Eastern German version of the people’s car, the volks wagen which mean… well people’s car.

a-humble-start-with-a-humble-trabant-1476934604102-1000x563

Photo Credit: Petrolicious.com

Limited production capabilities, materials and skilled labor lead to… ingenious(?) solutions. I first learned of this car in 2006 during my introductory German language class. I was instantly hooked. My German teacher found it rather hilarious that an American could become so infatuated with a car he’s never seen, heard, nor touched. It’s very existence intrigued me. I had to know more.

Whenever projects came about mine were always Trabi focused. I loaded one into Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I drew them on my notebooks next to doodles of #VW Beetles, it was like I had fallen in love with German twins separated at birth. I HAD to drive this car.

98143-1310681120-gta-sa-2011-07-15-01-42-48-04

After my stint at college I was lucky enough to land a job in Germany. My wife and I had just married and we were prime to explore the continent. I scoured the German version of Autotrader for Trabants and while they were present I couldn’t bring myself to get one. The two-stroke engine, horrible exhaust and poor build quality didn’t scream daily driver. Did I mention it was made of cotton? These cars put American “coal rolling” to shame. Sorry #Texas.

Time moved on and we had our first child thus completely closing the door to cruising the autobahn in a cotton-fiber bodied, snowmobile engine powered sub-subcompact. But alas I still kept looking. My sister-in-law was coming to visit and she wanted to see Berlin, the walls with the murals. Go to Europe, spend some Euros.

My wife, amazing and devoted as she is, happened across a Berlin auto tour website called Trabi-Safari. When she realized what vehicle it was she just about dropped her #Macbook. You could rent a Trabi, drive in a convoy, and get a tour of the city all in one go! I repeat DRIVE A TRABI. My sister-in-law was onboard and the car was booked. Now I may have been a little withholding about the actual amenities of the vehicle  and needless to say they were a little surprised at the car that appeared before them. Add to that my son was with us as well.

1294294_10101287389233529_1237318093_o.jpg

We strapped him into the baby bjorn, my wife climbed in the back with my sister-in-law riding shotgun. There was a brief instructional seminar in broken English and we were off.

image577

This car was just as promised. Horrible. And I LOVED every second of it. Whenever my father says, “well, you’ve never driven a car with a stick shift on the column” I can reply, “Oh yes I have and it was Eastern German and it was nothing like anything ever.”

76015_627332_1000x700

Let me clarify. The gas pedal is less of a pedal and more of a nub. The shift pattern is absolutely baffling. If you don’t keep the car moving the engine will flood (yes, flood like a lawn mower) and you’d be stuck in the middle of a Berlin intersection hearing things like “Wunderbar” and “Kugelschrieber!” Well maybe not those words, but you get the picture.

Ours was a leopard print and there was a line of about 10 or 12 of these exhaust monsters trouting through downtown Berlin. People stopped, took pictures and waved. It was all jovial and fun… and nerve racking keeping the car going. It was worth it. The ride was shoddy and the guy in front of me had never driven stick before, let alone an Eastern German one, and he was hesitant to venture into traffic which made keeping my car from stalling even more of a challenge. Again, I loved it!

17310359_271990179879521_7269558965922301664_o

It was good fun. Everyone enjoyed themselves including the toddler strapped to my wife. In fact, we were laughing and almost giddy… perhaps because of fumes or perhaps because of this little car. A car that never meant to be charming, never meant to be anything but the workhorse for the downtrodden soviet satellite of Eastern Germany.

The waiting list for these cars new drove up the premium on used cars which could retail for almost four times as much. People would buy them ten years or more out, make payments, and eventually receive their car. After the fall of the Berlin wall many were abandoned. If they caught fire, they would melt. Some who had purchased one just never received theirs. They are still waiting today.

1275552_10101289348172799_277780045_o

And I, well I’m still waiting for the second time I get to drive one…

Hoon, Kill, Collect for 12 June 17

I typically try and knock out a theme for these… but tonight I don’t have much. I had some chicken with BBQ sauce for dinner… nothing there. I’m drinking water… nothing there.

I’m going to go after something near and dear to my heart: Volkswagen do Brasil! Translated that just mean Volkswagen of Brasil… but if you read Jalopnik and/or follow Jason Torchinsky (the unofficial VW historian of the world) you would know that Volkswagen do Brasil, due to importation restrictions, produced some of the most offbeat and awesome Volkswagen’s ever!

Two of these are a no brainers. The Volkswagen SP2 was developed to replace the discontinued Karmann Ghia and its failed successor the Ghia TC. The Brasilia was ironically developed to replace the Beetle… using most of the Beetle’s parts but adding more doors. It looks brilliant, like a mini 411/412, and I love every bit of it.

Finally, and everyone will laugh, is the VW Gol (yes Gol and not Golf). The Gol came up to ‘Merica as the watercooled VW Fox later in life but originally sported the same familiar aircooled engine in every pre-1980’s VW. Growing up in the 90’s, in central PA, VW’s were pretty few and far between. My older brother had a 1978 Rabbit LS that I absolutely adored so anything boxy with a VW badge that I stumbled across I wanted. The Fox was the only one that ever popped up in my price range and while I never got one I love them all the same.

Without further commercial interruption… which would you Hoon, Kill or Collect?

A 1976 VW Brasilia, a 1973 VW SP2, or a 1993 VW Fox

HKC_VWdoBr