Phoenix Bugorama, March 2014

Had a great day at Bugorama! There were more cars than I could count, and the crowd was enthusiastic and friendly. We got to the gates a little after 6:00am, and lined up with everybody.

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We got lucky and were directed to a choice spot in the grass surrounded by lots of amazing VW’s.

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The grass area filled up nicely, and had to be at least a few degrees cooler than the asphalt parking lot where the majority of the show cars were parked.

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This was my view for most of the day

The swap meet and the rest of the show cars took up an enormous area, and was crowded all day.

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I was pretty busy at the booth, and didn’t get to check out the racing really, but there was some great looking machinery in the pits.

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We started to pack up as the awards were being read. Buck said he wanted to go and listen and clap for everyone, and I said I’d meet him in a minute. As I walked up, I heard his name called, and saw him walking up to accept an award– he got a really nice plaque for, “Coolest pre ’67 Bus!” A perfect ending to an awesome day. Oh wait… there’s still that 10 hour drive home. This day surely ain’t over…

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Coolest (happiest) Pre-67 Bus Winner (owner)

The air was cool, and the drive was mellow. On a dark, deserted stretch of I-10, somewhere west of Blythe, CA, we passed an SUV on the side of the highway. A minute later, Buck spotted a dark figure walking on the road and pulled over. Up walked a friendly young guy with a gas can in his hand, and we offered him a ride. Him and two friends were driving from Tucson to Los Angeles and had run out of gas. His two friends stayed behind with the car, as they were traveling with a couple of cats. Well, I love cats. How can we help. :)

It was about 3 miles to the gas station, and 4 miles back, so we were pretty glad we stopped. Derek was too, and he bought us some coffee to say thanks. We took a few pictures with him and his friends, and we were back on the road.

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Hope you guys made it without anymore delays! We got home a little before 3:00am ourselves.

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Mission Possible: Phoenix Bugorama

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Fate smiled upon us, and a pair of perfectly sized, lightly used heads arrived at the shop in the nick of time! Rodney got to work on getting them on the short block, with help from Dave and Buck.

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Buck finishing up his engine

The 1915cc went back together and into the bus with no issues. It was driven around the block a few times, then the carbs got adjusted. Bugorama, here we come!

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We left Ventura at 4:30am, so that we could do the 8 or so hour drive and still be in Phoenix early enough to do some exploring, and maybe hook up with some other VW folks for dinner before the show.

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It was pretty cold, so the safari windows stayed shut… for now

Shortly after sunrise, we made it to Palm Springs for breakfast. After eating, we cruised downtown and talked Volkswagen with a few of the locals, including a member of the Palm Springs Corvette Club who thought Buck’s bus was just about the coolest thing she’d ever seen.

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We left Palm Springs and headed up the Chiriaco grade. It’s a long, steep drive out of the Coachella Valley, notorious for putting automobiles to the test– the bus climbed it with ease.

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We stopped at the top of Chiriaco Summit to visit the George S. Patton museum. It’s on the site of what used to be Camp Young, which was the headquarters of the vast Desert Training Center during WWII.

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One of these things is not like the others

A few hours later, and we crossed the border into the great state of Arizona.

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We still had a long way to go.

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We spotted a yard with a couple of VWs in it from the freeway, so we got off and did some backtracking to reach it. The gentleman that owned it was very easy going, and let us check out whatever we wanted, including lots of American iron, some Italian jobs, and a few different types of aircraft. It was awesome.

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And a few more hours after that, we finally made it to our hotel across the street from the Bugorama race track. Our 8 hour drive turned out to be a 13 hour journey, about 9 hours of it with the safari windows up. I could use some ChapStick!

It’s gonna be another early/long day tomorrow, and all I can think about right now is this:

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See you all at Bugorama in the morning!

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Two Days Before We Leave for Bugorama in Phoenix!

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What, us worry?

We’re going to drive Buck’s Double Cab, seen on our Summer 2012 catalog cover below, to Bugorama in Phoenix this weekend, and we’re really looking forward to the trip. We just need to tie up a few loose ends between now, Wednesday afternoon, and the crack of dawn on Saturday, when we intend to leave. For instance, before I can split, I need to send some emails, do a little laundry, make sure my camera batteries are charged, etc., and Buck just needs to build and install an engine. No biggie. We’ve got over 48 hours!

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Click here to continue reading

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Treffen 15 featured in HotVWs Magazine!

Thank you HotVWs for all your support!

This is the April 2014 issue– in stores now!

For information on the upcoming 2014 Airhead Parts Highway 1 Treffen #16, click here.

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HotVWs Drag Days, March 2014

Drag Days has really turned into a great all-around VW show. The swap area gets bigger each time, there’s lots of folks in the vendor row, and the amount of cars on display is getting truly impressive.

The racing results are over at the Bug-In page here.

We’ll see you all at the next HotVWs Drag Days event, October 26th!

Scroll down to see more pics from the show…

click here for more pics

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Airhead Parts 71 Bus Restoration

Owner of Airhead Parts, Scott Dempster has just purchased this 71 bus from a lien sale here in southern California. The crew at Airhead is excited about taking on the task of restoration. Scott’s plan is to convert this project into a “surf excursion vehicle, something like the one I had in high school,but didn’t have the money to completely fix up the way I wanted it” Scott says, “I’ll finally have just what I want…while I still surf”. The plan for this Surf Excursion Vehicle is to put in a bigger engine, keep the outside as original as possible, keep the loved to death look of polished patina original (mostly) paint, and transform the Continue reading

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Tech Tuesday: Belt Adjustment Safety and You


If you have perused the internet the way we have, you have most likely seen those crazy videos of how not to remove your VW alt/gen belt. Those brave (or slightly insane) individuals who take their lives into their own hands trying to change a belt while in motion. We do not condone nor recommend this method, but did find it interesting and slightly scary to watch. Do not try this at home:

Instead we DO recommend that if you need to do a belt adjustment and or change you check out how our Tech Rodney has done it here. This method will ensure two things, you keep both eyes AND your belt will be adjusted properly.

From all of us here at Airhead stay safe! For all the parts you will need to complete your belt adjustment and more Check out: www.Airheadparts.com

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Tech Tuesday: California Dreamin

While it may feel like winter in the rest of the country we here at Airhead Parts are enjoying the warm Southern California sunshine and clear skies. We don’t mean to brag, but we gotta say that some things are just better here. The weathers nice, the surf is great, and when it comes to building V.W.’s well Californian’s have a look and style all their own.

It’s called “The California Look” also known as the Cali Look. When restoring your Volks it’s important to have an idea of a what kind of a look you are going for. The Cali Look has changed some in it’s 30 year history but most can agree that it starts with a lowering of the stance, and a change of the wheels. The favorite wheels are period-style Speedwell BRMs,the EMPI 5- or 8-spokes, or Porsche factory rims like Fuchs from a classic 911. Continue reading

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Tech Tuesday: From Airhead to Zwitter, Starting the Year with VW Terms and Facts

Airhead Parts Vintage VW photos

As we all know this Tuesday was the start of a new year, and so we decided to celebrate by taking this tech Tuesday to look back on some of Volkswagen’s proud history and answer a few of those questions you may have had about your beloved Bug. We understand that not everyone who owns a Volkswagen was born knowing what a semaphore, or a Zwitter is, so lets begin this year with some basics and go from A-Z with everything you may have not known about the history of your fine machine.

Q. Who designed and built the Beetle?
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A. The history began as a dream of Ferdinand Porsche. He had a vision about building a car that everybody could afford. In the early 1920s, while working with Daimler-Benz, he tried to convince them of the idea of a small, affordable car, but Benz cancelled the prototype considering it too risky. After leaving Benz, in 1932 he approached Zündapp, in which a 3 cylinder water cooled prototype was designed and tested very briefly – so briefly that the because of severe cooling problems, the engine melted after only 10 minutes of testing! Zündapp promptly dropped the project and NSU subsequently partnered with Porsche to expand from their currently line of motorcycle production into automobiles. During this period, a crude, but more recognizable shape of the Beetle was coming into view along with the now common but then revolutionary design of torsion bar suspension, engine being mounted in the rear, mated directly to a transaxle design. Three prototypes called the “Type 32” were built and tested, but due to the economical climate of Germany at the time, NSU withdrew from the project. With the German government becoming interested in a “Peoples Car”, Porsche worked with them to deliver three more prototypes in 1936 called the “W1”. The next series of prototypes were built in 1937 and called the “VW 30”. By this time final form of the Beetle we know today came into being. A number of engines were also tested before the decision was taken to go ahead with the flat four air cooled engine designed by Franz Reimspeiss. That engine was more or less to be unchanged until this day. Although a small number of Beetles and Cabriolets were built for German government officials and because of wartime conditions during World War II, actually production of the Beetle for mass consumption did not commence until after the war in 1945. Despite the fact that 2/3 of the factory was destroyed by the allied bombing the workers managed to assemble 58 cars during the remaining of 1945, mainly from spare parts found in the remains. Starting in 1946, the factory was ordered to produce 1000 cars a month. By 1955, Volkswagen was producing 1000 cars a day. From humble beginnings, the rest is history

Q. How many Beetles were produced?
1955 Volkswagen

A. On February 17, 1972, Volkswagen overtook the Ford Model T as the most produced single model car with over 15 million made. On May 15, 1981, the 20 millionth Beetle rolled off the assembly line in South America. When production ceased in July 2003 in Mexico, over 22 million Beetles had been made.

Q. When was the Beetle first sold in the United States?

A. In 1949, Max Hoffman was granted an exclusive right to distribute and sell the Volkswagen Beetle in the eastern half of the United States. A whopping total of 2 Beetles were sold. In 1950, that figure increased to 157 Beetles. By 1953 Hoffman had sold 1,139 Beetles in the United States at which point Volkswagen decided to distribute them through their own established distributorship and dealer network.

Continue reading

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Tech Tuesday: Keeping your Volkswagen Alive

This week for tech Tuesday we decided to showcase a book that is near and dear to our hearts, it is John Muirs’ “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive; A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot”

how to keep your Volkswagen alive

If you are one of the many Volkswagen enthusiasts who wish to delve into the world of at home automotive mechanics we highly recommend this book, it’s been around since 1969 and all the information in it is easy to understand (hence the title) and down right just fun to read. Peter Aschwanden’s artwork in this book has since become an icon of Vintage VW culture and can be found on t-shirts, hoodies, and posters around the world (and here).

As always, we encourage all of our customers to call us with any technical questions they may have about their Volkswagen’s. Throughout the years we have come to realize that sometimes you just need someone to help talk you through that strange pinging, rattling, or smoking engine problem; conversely, we also understand that sometimes it helps to have an easy to understand diagram sitting in front of you while you are covered in grease and can’t get to the phone. That’s where this book comes in really handy.

Many of our customers have purchased this book time and time again, as it often falls victim to getting covered in oil, pages being torn out for reference, or lent entirely to a friend with an old Volks and never being seen again. Fortunately for them we sell it cheaper than most any place around and it’s almost always in stock.

We could write pages of our own about just how much we love this book and how vital it is to have if you own an old VW but we’ll let you read a few pages decide for yourself:

John Muir

Posted in All things VW, Automobiles, General, Tech Tuesday, Technical | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment