Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beetle Spotting - Volksjohore VW Jamboree 2014

Words & Snaps by Ben

April 1934, Adolf Hitler ordered Ferdinand Porsche to build a "Volkswagen", literally, a "people's car". His requirements were simple: it had to be basic with a reasonable fuel consumption, easy to fix, and would need to be able to run a high speeds (100km/h) on the Autobahnen.

Little did any of them know that this order would see the birth of the world's most mass-produced car 7 years later, in 1941.

What they would never have imagined, is that the Beetle not only became one of the most recognisable cars on Earth, but it also became a real cult classic.

A cool 80 years after the order was first given, Volksjohore celebrated the Beetle with the VW Jamboree 2014.

On the 25th October, I met up with the Singapore Aircooled VW Enthusiasts (SAVE) early in the morning to convoy over the causeway to Sutera Square in Johor Bahru.

A fun group of Beetles and Combis gathered, some of which I had already seen at their earlier gathering in July, others I had never seen before.

This small group of classic VW enthusiasts fights against the COE every decade, and the rust even more often, yet never gives in, for their passion for their cars is stronger than anything else.

Some of them even told me their Beetle is their one and only car, and their daily drive through thick and thin!

The group assembled, we hit the road for a short trip to Volksjohore's Jamboree, where many more Beetle and Combi enthusiasts were set to meet.

When we reached, the event was warming up, with a steady flow of classic VWs making their entry on Sutera Square's reserved area.

The event had it all, from food and cafe, with the latter, named Mods Cafe, nicely hosted from a Combi.

There were also shops selling all the classic VW souvenirs one could ever dream of...

And even more interesting ones selling classic VW parts, for both modification and maintenance.

More dedicated stands had some pretty interesting performance mods too, ranging from slicks on very classic rims, exhausts and engine parts...

But everything was not just available in parts, as this fully functional flat 4 built by Oldspeedbug was demonstrating. It ran pretty nicely too, put in a Beetle, this engine could be pretty fun!

Not everything was about selling old VW parts and accessories, and Autocutt came all the way from Singapore with their Combi to do some pretty neat gentleman's grooming at the VW Jamboree!

By the time I was done walking about the tents, the Beetles were rolling in at a steady rate, and my attention went back to the real show: the parking grounds.

The Beetle really is a magic car. After all those years, it's a car that always looks good. What always amazes me about this car is its ability to effortlessly suit so many different styles and trends.

You have to agree. A Beetle always looks good, whether it's kept as a perfectly restored beauty...

Or a themed classic...

A rat rod...

Or even, of course, a hot rod!

The number of outfits and combinations that can be done with Beetles are limitless, and the hundreds VW fanatics that brought their beloved rides to the Jamboree showed it very well.

Of course, the event wasn't limited to Beetles, and a flock of Combis were here.

Akin to the Beetles, the Combis are well loved, and also prone to suit many different styles.

I particularly loved this slightly rat-looking Combi, which was really well built, with a matte dress, classic decals and roped-up bumper.

What made Volksjohore's Jamboree wasn't just the sheer number of cars attending the event, it was also the variety of the styles, and the distance traveled to get here.

Yes, the SAVE group drove from Singapore. Yet crossing the border and driving a handful of kilometres is nothing compared to what other air-cooled owners went through.

A good example is the Thai group, who took a 4,000km road trip across Thailand and Malaysia just to come to spend 2 days at the Jamboree.

Imagine that! 4,000km in a 30-over years old air-cooled VW, in the hot Asian weather. If that's not real love and passion, I don't know how to call it.

And there were a bunch of them, I can just imagine how many times they had to stop by the roadside to revive the cars!

Aside from the Beetles and Combis, there were a handful of rarer models, such as a few Type III Notchbacks.

This particularly good looking Type III Fastback came all the way from Thailand to join the family.

Rocking the rat rod looks with rust and holes in the body, and contrasting, very clean wheels, all the way from Thailand!

There even was a very clean Karmann Ghia among the long-distance runners. What a looker!

There were so many Beetles in different styles and states that I really felt like a baby in a topless bar. Every time I turned my head I had to stop and snap a pic of yet another head turner.

But among all of the Beetles present, two of them really caught my eye, my lens and my heart.

The first one is that perfectly done up rat rod.

Slammed, with real rust, crazy rear camber, well chosen details, perfectly themed accessories, this bug had it all!

This rat looked perfect in every angle, which really made it a sight to behold. And it even had a rat!

While it probably wasn't the most practical Bug out there, its presence made up for it. Whether or not you like junker rats, this car was a sight to behold, and I saw many bemused, impressed, and even quizzical looks as people walked by.

The second show winner for me was in a completely different style: the So-Cal theme.

The car in itself was clean and simple. Two tone black and white paint job, bumperless, roof rack. What made it outstanding, and you would have noticed by now, were the wheels.

They were simply perfect. With the white-walled tyres to bring back the two tone of the body, this Beetle was all about subtlety. Yet it was so powerful at the same time. This Bug really goes to show a good set of wheels can make or break a car!

The Beetle next to this one was also sporting pretty clean theme, yet with a bit more grunge to it.

I especially like the exhaust tip, that had a googly-eyed kid spurt out a "wooooaaah!" just as I was snapping this pic. Tremble, mortals!

I would ramble on and on about this Beetle meet, as there was just so much to see! The communities' support is just outstanding, and it was really impressive to see so many Beetles come together for the VW Jamboree 2014.

This is an event I urge anyone in the area to head over to, and I'm already eagerly looking forward to next year's event!

In the meantime, enjoy the gallery!


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