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Hot VWs Magazine August 2024: Karmann Ghia Special Issue

On the cover: Brandon Jackson’s ‘58 Ghia, photographed in San Jose, California’s Kelley Park. (Photo: Shin Watanabe)

Karmann Ghia for Life
A lifelong Volkswagen enthusiast, Brandon Jackson’s dream car journey culminated in the acquisition and restoration of a ’58 Karmann Ghia Convertible. Talk about dedication, passion, and unwavering love for classic VWs…

Karmann Collection
Special thanks to the Volkswagen Classic and Heritage department for inviting hotVWs to a rare opportunity: they opened the doors to the private Karmann collection preserved at Volkswagen Osnabrück in Germany.

Misfit ‘58
While on a hunt for a desirable early Karmann Ghia, Joe Alexander stumbled upon a model that might be considered a unicorn: a very early 1958 coupe featuring a variety of late ’57 characteristics. The car recently came out of a 5-year-long restoration – and it looks remarkable.

Old School Power! Part 6
PART SIX: Linkage setup, headers, and ready to break-in on the dyno.

Buses by the Bridge XXVII
Buses by the Bridge (BBB) is put on by the London Bridge Bullis, on the shore of Lake Havasu, on Arizona’s border with California. The event is a favorite place for VW travelers from all around the country, especially places with cold climates, to travel to for a respite from frigid weather and enjoy a weekend under the sun.

Black Pearl Ghia
People don’t usually get a chance to reverse their mistakes unless your name is Chris Luke from El Dorado Hills, CA.

Buggy Wonder Years Part 17
Empi had become the world’s largest purveyor of aftermarket VW products by the late 1960s. So, not surprisingly, it ventured into the then-hot fiberglass dune buggy market, thanks to its good-looking Imp model released in 1968…

Until we meet again, old friend
We will never forget the day Robert Amar Barrilleaux passed away. He was one of a few people that would be remembered simply by one name — Bear. To the Volkswagen community, Bear was larger than life.

What happens when you combine the love of VWs, a world famous natural landmark, and tourist destination into one weekend? You get the Niagara GermanAire Car Show & Social, a weekend you won’t forget.

And More!

Hot VWs Magazine July 2024:  DEANO DYNO-SOAR: The Untold Story


On the cover: Dean Lowry in the DDS Oval, a photo never seen before! (Photo: Dean Kirsten)

Unlike today’s trucks that come with all the bells and whistles, VW’s Single and Double Cabs offered the bare minimum during the ’60s, akin to what you might expect from a European commercial vehicle at the time. Robin Lewis’ 1966 model shows what happens when one such workhorse receives a “Deluxe treatment” with extra trim and colors, a cozy interior and 2.0-liter power!

Ray Saul, from Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, grew up tending to his father’s passion—Volkswagens. He now carries on his dad’s legacy: This Type 181, commonly known as Thing in the US market. It has a unique story, having been assembled in Wolfsburg, Germany for the Mexican Government.

It’s always exciting to visit a place and VW event you’ve never been to before. You will discover a new area, learn different habits, make new friends, enjoy the local food, etc. This time, hotVWs magazine flew to the Sunflower State to join the Bug-O-Rama ICT.

A look back at the first H/Gas sedan. Dean Lowry built after he left Empi

A couple of months ago, we highlighted Mimi, a 91-year-old young lady who purchased her brand-new Bug in 1969 and still drives it today – one of the best VW stories I’ve ever heard. But this month, we bring you another amazing story almost too good to be true: a teen’s love affair with a classic VW Beetle, a 16-year-old high school girl who chose a ’69 Bug for her first car and now drives it every day.

Scandinavian Cal Look and Classic. A small pine forest just north of Oslo, Norway has been home to the biggest air-cooled festival in Scandinavia for over twenty years..

PART FIVE: Valvetrain, Weber mods, and a whole bunch more.

The Beehive State welcomed visitors with picture-perfect weather as the Utah Transporter Association prepared to host the area’s largest annual Volkswagen gathering, the Utah VW Classic.

It’s always a blast going through the color slides – often unpublished – featuring old buggies, which fill our archive boxes dating back to the 1960s and early ’70s. Among the treasures we unearthed, let’s take a look at the Berry Mini-Tub, built over a stock-length VW chassis and reminiscent of century-old automobiles.


This year, the Fast Times at Farmington events had something missing: the “fast” part. Yes, we missed our Drag Racers fiercely! Why do you say?

And More!

Hot VWs Magazine June 2024: THE ART OF BARE METAL


On the cover: It's almost a shame to paint Eliot Vancil's very rare 1949 Heb... It's absolutely perfect! (Photo: Stephan Szantai)

There is some rationale for featuring Eliot Vancil’s bare-metal, unfinished 1949 Bug in our pages, starting with the rarity of the model – a Type 14 Hebmüller....

Jeff Elrod grew up in a drag racing as well as off-road racing family, competing with air-cooled power for over five decades......

Welcome back to our on-going series on building a mild performance street engine. What is different about building a so-called “Old School” engine is that you are using a mixture of new....

Nathan Howe has built a Bug that turns heads wherever he goes. His Volksrod, which he describes as “a kind of kooky, nostalgic TV hot rod,” has been redone three times, with this version being the wildest.

At the heart of every active VW community always lies a vibrant VW club. The VW Club of Oklahoma stands as one of the greatest examples......

Kevin Davis grew up in the Hot Rod culture; he was a Mopar guy and still is today. Even so, like many, he had an appreciation for Volkswagens which began in high school and culminates in a custom 1957 Oval that is truly one of a kind.........

Three generations of the Clough family transformed a project car from the Arizona desert, establishing roots in the Pacific Northwest........

Digging deeper into our archives, we uncovered a set of color slides dating.......

As the traditional custom car craze began to fade during the 1960s, several builder.......

And More!

Hot VWs Magazine May 2024: Forever Young Bought New And Still Driving It!
On the cover: Mimi purchased her Bug new in 1970, and has covered over 400,000 miles since! (Photo: Shin Watanabe)

This one-owner, original Beetle is the property of a 91-year-old lady – and the car is still going strong. It looks like driving an air-cooled VW is the way to keep you young and in good shape!

Canada’s Biggest VW Show Weekend
On a personal level, experiencing the vibrant VW scene in Vancouver, Canada, evokes a sense of nostalgia. It’s almost like returning to my hometown. Despite not being a native, the connection runs deep, as both of my beloved air-cooled rides originated from this picturesque city. It feels like a homecoming to the breathtaking landscapes of Beautiful British Columbia.

Comfort on the Go!
Being based on the stark 11-window Kombi, VW campers such as the Westfalia offered few exterior frills during the Split Bus era. But what if Volkswagen had used a “more window”, better appointed version for its camper conversations? Well, it might have looked like this 1966 model, owned by Gerry Gutierrez, a model loaded with accessories!

Old School Power! PART 3
Welcome back to our nostalgic 1700cc engine build. In this issue, we will tackle the cylinder heads, as back when I first built my engine there were basically only one dual-port casting available – Type 3! I purchased a pair used for $50, and drove with them, stock, for months, until one Friday morning, Ron Fleming and I took them off, stripped them down and began porting on them.

Fiesta En La Playa #10
The City of Imperial Beach hosted the 10th Annual Fiesta VW Show, bringing together participants from all over Southern California & Mexico. Beautiful blue skies and the Pacific Ocean as the bacK drop were sure to create a party atmosphere and a family-friendly day of Volkswagens and surf!DREAMS do Come True!
Envision a dream taking shape, a dream which transcends the ordinary. For Serge Le Flohic, this dream materialized in the form of an extraordinary Woody Beetle. Guided by the creative brush strokes of artist Pascal Meslet’s illustrations, Serge’s project emerged as a unique creation, a testament to his unwavering passion for the world of cars and customization.Smileage Guaranteed
Do you remember the days when air-cooled models graced the showrooms of Volkswagen dealerships? Or have you daydreamed about a nostalgic journey back to the vibrant 1950s and ‘60s, where dealerships were adorned with classic air-cooled VWs? At Capistrano Volkswagen in San Juan Capistrano, California, this dream became a reality for vintage fans during one unforgettable day.The Purple Padilla Ghia
Colorado’s Bobby Padilla practically grew up around Volkswagens. Since the age of four, they’ve been a part of his life. Naturally, when he decided to restore a car, the choice was an easy one. What he didn’t know, is he would be restoring the same car he was treasuring years before.

Following two successful editions in 2014 and 2018, many Volkswagen enthusiasts were eagerly looking forward to the next Barndoor meet. Participants therefore prepared their vintage VWs for the trip and organized convoys from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, and more. Ultimately, the event drew spectators from more than 30 countries.

And More!

Hot VWs Magazine April 2024: 2 Billion Dollars! A VW Fan Hits The Lottery Jackpot
On the cover
: On the cover: So, you won BIG playing the lottery... Guess what happens now? (Photo: Stephan Szantai)

Just One of US!: Record California Lottery Winner
In November 2022, Powerball executives announced the winner of the largest jackpot in the history of the lottery: 2,04 billion dollars. His name is Edwin Castro Jr. and he happens to be a hardcore Volkswagen enthusiast. In a worldwide exclusive, hotVWs magazine met the California native at his new home, where he keeps his growing collection of rare Vee Dubs!

VW Culture in Paradise! 21st Annual Shaka VW Weekend
We flew 2,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean to the tropical islands once again, eager to be part of the biggest VW event weekend.

CHECKMATE! Hawaiian Look Buggy from the Usual Suspects Club
Every time we have visited the magical islands of Hawaii, we’ve been impressed by their unique “VW style”. Despite being the 8th-smallest and the 11th-least populated U.S. state, the Aloha Vee-Dub scene is vibrant and passionate, consistently creating new and interesting project cars. This month, we highlight a mega-detailed Hawaiian Look buggy created by one of the key members of a local club, Usual Suspects.

A Family’s Journey in Classic VWs
What inspired you to start driving a VW? Here’s a story about a Hawaiian fellow who began driving a Bug because of his cousin. That same family member built a top-notch show car Beetle for his dad too.

All-Star Game Texas VS. The World VW Shoot Out
The All-Star Game of VW Drag Racing – this was our first thought about the Shoot Out. Clint Cox and Jason Poynter called upon all VW racers who believed they were the fastest. Ultimately, 137 race cars from coast to coast (and from Mexico too) showed up at the midpoint of the United States: Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, Texas. And the promoters paid BIG cash prizes of more than $40,000 to the competitors.

A Beautiful day in the Neighborhood!
You don’t always have to look far to find the perfect VW. Dave James will substantiate this statement. His neighbor Roy, who owned a Westfalia he bought new in 1971, peered over his fence one day and told Dave he was ready to sell it. And so began this camper’s new journey, which involved a restoration and various improvements.

The Final Run at Bandimere Colorado Bug-In
When the announcement was made declaring this to be the final season of the famed Bandimere Speedway in the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, we knew the Painter’s Grinding Bug-In was going to be a must-attend event. The VW faithful did not disappoint, all wanting to be a part of the final run at Thunder Mountain.

Buggy Wonder Years
Digging deeper into our archives, we uncovered a set of color slides dating back to over half a century, depicting another gem by genius automotive designer Bruce Meyers. Not the Manx dune buggy mind you, but the lesser-known and gorgeous Manx SR…

Tech Alert 74 Synchronizing Dual Carbs
D ual carburetors aren’t for everyone, but they do offer maximum performance over a “single” in most cases. Let’s take the mystery out of the synchronizing process to get a smooth running engine!

And More!

Hot VWs Magazine March 2024: Twin Turbo Insanity!
On the cover: Jose Salazar’s insane twin-turbo 1953 Barndoor! (Photo: Stephan Szantai)

El Rey de Splits
On page 42 of this issue, you will discover the twin-turbo 1953 Deluxe Microbus owned by Jose Salazar. Guess what… Jose also owns a second, highly detailed turbocharged beast, based on another rare model, a 1952 “11G” Split Window Beetle – a car that has raised the standards within the VW scene.

Barndoor Buses have become some of the most sought-after VW models ever, especially the elusive 23-window version. Can they be improved? Certainly not, will shout the vintage fans – yet the custom fringe of our scene might disagree. This leads us to introduce to you Jose Salazar’s ground-breaking twin-turbo 1953 Microbus…

Dave Pipoly’s Compound!
Since 2002, Dave Pipoly has created some of the vehicles most wanted by VW publications around the world. The brain behind The Compound (Long Beach, California), Dave is one of the top-tier builders of mega-detailed Volkswagens, who constantly wows enthusiasts while continuing to raise the bar. As he was involved in two of the cars featured in this issue, we decided to find out more about the man.

Southern California’s Vintage VW Treffen has a special place in the hearts of many Volkswagen enthusiasts, due to its astounding selection of vehicles – only the rarest models can join the festivities. The 2023 event inaugurated a new venue, which pleased participants and visitors.

A ‘69 Red Hot notch!
We come across many modified Volkswagens here at hotVWs, however few are as thought out and detailed as Chris Gosting’s 1969 Notchback build from Pahrump, Nevada. Featuring a 2.7 liter Corvair conversion and outfitted with air conditioning, this bright red Notch is lighting up the highways! 

The annual VW Nationals takes place each year at Mason Dixon Dragway in Boonsboro, Maryland. The ninth event proved to be another great success with 99 VW racers taking to the track while 128 cars signed up to be judged in the show.

Old School Power!
Building a 1700cc screamer just like we did back in the ’70s

Buggy Wonder Years
While some dune buggies were clearly designed for off-road adventures, others had a definite “street edge”, being longer and lower. This is the story of one such vehicle, the superbly penned Deserter GT which came out of the East Coast.

A Big Surprise ‘67
During the Volks Group Summer Showdown event (see our February 2024 issue), the organizers, along with the rest of the participants and track officials, celebrated a special individual who has been dedicated to supporting local drag racing –  with a fully restored ’67 Cal Look Bug. However, the awardee was unaware of this gift until she was presented with the key. It was a big Surprise.

And More!

Hot VWs Magazine February 2024

On the cover
: Garage scene with Mark Akullian’s 1961 Ragtop. That’s Mark, polishing his real BRM mag rims. (Photo: Shin Watanabe)

My Hot ‘56
Larry Schultz has been a Cal Look enthusiast for over five decades and grew up in the golden era of Southern California’s VW scene. During his young days, his memories were filled with drag racing at Orange County International Raceway with his brother and father. Today, he resides just a few blocks away from Route 66 in Oklahoma, at the very top edge of the Kansas state border, 1,500 miles away from the Cal Look Mecca. However, he indulged in a traditional Cal Looker – a true flash back to the 1970s at OCIR.
Back in September 1984, hotVWs magazine unveiled Angie and Jack DiGiacomo’s black ’66 sedan, which changed hands in 1994 and disappeared shortly after from the VW scene. Their son Jack Jr., who had fond memories of the car, managed to track it down and buy it back… To the family’s amazement, the Cal Looker has remained untouched!
California Gold
During his childhood back in the 1970s and ’80s, Mark Akullian was heavily influenced by Southern California’s Volkswagen scene. Along the way came the vision of a yellow Beetle and he soon started collecting parts. Turning this vision into reality took 30 years – the long journey led to this amazing project car.
Old School Power! Part 1
Building a 1700cc screamer using both new and vintage performance parts.
The Volks Group Summer Showdown 1
After helping run the successful Fast4Cartel VW drag race series for six seasons, Jeff “JK” Kramarsic – a 50% owner of the organization – left the group based in the Northern California and Oregon area in early 2023. It was shocking news to many. Drag racers and fans were curious about his next move. Well, here it is: the new VW Drag Race series organized by JK – The Volks Group. 
Old towns and old Volkswagens truly go hand in hand, when it comes to car shows. To prove the point, team hotVWs traveled to the 2nd Nor Cal Dub Affair, hosted in beautiful San Juan Bautista. You can bet it will turn into a local favorite in years to come!
Dune buggies had a huge following during the 1960s, hence even companies outside the VW scene took notice. Among them, Sears which relied on its catalogs and extensive chain of department stores to market the Rascal buggy, an obvious Meyers Manx copycat. You’re in luck: We found great, never published color slides of the model in our archives!
Big Wednesday
The organizers of this event, Periscope Enterprises, purposely avoid promoting this happening. Yet if you want to be part of this VW and surf gathering by the beach, you simply need to remember the following: On the second Wednesday in August, VW boys and girls skip work, bring surfboards and drive their Volkswagens to San Onofre State Beach.
Tech Alert #72
R unning a stock Solex carburetor can be a beautiful experience. Let’s take a look at how to fix up an old one you may have in your box of spares.

And More!
Hot VWs Magazine - January 2024

On the coverOn the cover: Could this be the most significant Bus find of the decade? (Photo: Chadly Johnson)

The most significant Bus find of the decade. Some stories are so unbelievable that I wouldn’t even think them real if I had not seen and felt the evidence with my own eyes and hands. At times, I am not sure that I am not just living in the matrix or some dream. This is the story of an almost unbelievable find, the Schulwagen.

For seven generations and over 70 years, the VW bus has been one of the most iconic and popular vehicles in the world. Volkswagen wanted to celebrate this remarkable history and invite all fans to the VW Bus Festival 2023 at the Hanover exhibition grounds, promising an unforgettable weekend. We flew over the Atlantic Ocean to the hometown of the VW Bus, Hanover, Germany, to witness more than 6,000 VW Buses camping together.

Residing in Northern Germany, a father of two and a devoted husband, Arne Steffen became enamored with air-cooled Volkswagens at the age of 18 in 1984. After four decades, he is still a dedicated VW enthusiast. We will showcase his current vehicle, the high-speed Autobahn Express van.

This is way beyond cool. Who would have ever imagined we could have a VW show taking over a pier, especially when the location is one of the most popular tourist spots in southern California? Don Ramsey and the Huntington Beach VW Van/Surf Club Köwabunga Van Klan have done it again – they parked 100 VW buses on the Huntington Beach pier!

Some say two is always better than one. Morgan Ingmire, whose family has owned a 1973 Squareback since it rolled off the showroom floor, didn’t hesitate to bring home a second orange Type 3 when he had the chance to add it to his stable.  

Some VW folks have all the luck. Steve Mizzi received a ’61 Beetle as a present seven years ago. It soon evolved from a tame stocker into a ferocious animal, with a wide and low-to-the-ground stance, complemented with a 330-horsepower flat-four.

By now, many of you will know about the hundreds of buggy-related color slides – most dated from the late ’60s – which we have fortuitously found in our archives. This month’s article focuses on the low, aggressive and innovative Bugetta, conceived by legendary Indy car builder Jerry Eisert.

BUG-IN #47
Starting in early June, southern California began a VW extravaganza that extended over three weekends & featured eight major events. The culmination of the 2023 So Cal VW week was the legendary Bug-In.

Although disc brakes hadn’t quite caught on in American made cars, VW introduced air-cooled Type 1 and Type 3 customers to disc brake systems as early as 1965. Let’s take a look at this most popular caliper format, and see what’s available in disc brake upgrades.

And More!


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