The times they are a-changin’ for local VW club, yearly fest

This blue Volkswagen squareback with trunk in the front was one of close to 40 cars on hand at the Low Country Volkswagen Club’s annual get-together Sept. 29 at a new location, JK Automotive in Summerville (Jim Parker/Staff 9-29-2012).

By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

The show site moved, in its 20th year no less. Registration was opened to water-cooled models, not just air-cooled.

To quote the Beatles, “They say you want a Revolution.” But, “Don’t you know it’s gonna be all right.”

Accepting this brave new world is the Low Country Volkswagen Club. By adding newer VWs, the group boosted its membership from a few dozen to 250, according to a Facebook tally. “We are trying to get water-cooled (VW owners) involved,” said Tommy Wolff, club president.

At the same time, the group’s annual all Volkswagen show relocated this year to JK Automotive, off Main Street east of Summerville. The official count for the Sept. 29 fest was 36 cars but there were “probably 50 here,” Wolff said. JK Automotive was ”real helpful this year,” he said, with staff rising at 8 a.m. to set up the VW display area. “We can’t complain,” he said.

The result of the changes was a compatible mix of old — self-contained Microbuses; serendipitous Bugs; a high-toned ’64 Karmann-Ghia from Jacksonville, Fla.; a beachy “Thing,” — and new, from a bicycle-toting Golf GTI to Jetta GLIs.

John Cook, of James Island, drove a “Thing” growing up. The dune buggy-like convertible was only manfuactured for two years, 1973-74. At the show, he displayed a 1974 model, complete with surfboards sticking out the back seat and comics-like door panel drawings inspired by South Carolina artist Marius Valdes.

“I’ve had this particular “Thing” for five years,” he said.

Nearby, Eddie Bendt showed off his 1963 VW Beetle. “I’ve been dealing with these most of my life,” he said, noting that the 49-year-old icon has gone through a complete overhaul. “Everything’s been changed in it — fenders, interiors, floor part.”

Ryan Conklin, who brought a 2011 GTI with a bike on the roof rack, is on his second Volkswagen. He likes VWs for “the practicality, and the gas mileage and driving experience.”

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.