Volk­swa­gen is sym­bol of youth, cul­ture

Cambridge Edition - - CONVERSATIONS - MIKE BAIN

Beetle­ma­nia comes to Cam­bridge as hun­dreds of Volk­swa­gen own­ers de­scend on the Waikato town.

Com­plete with the fab four, the Beetle, Kombi, Polo and Golf, it will be one of New Zealand’s largest sin­gle-make car shows, which will be held dur­ing Easter.

This year’s Volk­swa­gen Na­tion­als is a com­bined ef­fort be­tween the Waikato and Auck­land Volk­swa­gen own­ers clubs.

The event, the re­cip­i­ent of a $1000 fund­ing grant from the Waipa District Coun­cil pro­mo­tions fund, prom­ises to be one of the largest Volk­swa­gen Na­tion­als.

Auck­land Volk­swa­gen Own­ers Club pres­i­dent An­drew Baylis is look­ing for­ward to com­ing back to Cam­bridge.

‘‘It’s been 10 years since we last held the event here and Cam­bridge was most wel­com­ing.’’

The na­tion­als have been held ev­ery Easter since 1991 at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions but 2008 Cam­bridge ‘‘rated as one of the best’’.

The peo­ple’s car, ‘‘Volk­swa­gen’’ in Ger­man, was for­mu­lated by Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap car mass pro­duced for his new road network.

Its pop­u­lar­ity has never waned. It espe­cially be­came well­known across the world in the 1960s.

‘‘More than any other make of car, the Volk­swa­gen has be­come a sym­bol of youth cul­ture over many decades,’’ Bayliss said.

Peo­ple from ev­ery walks of life have a story to tell about their old Volk­swa­gens.

Bayliss who owns eight clas­sics and a Volk­swa­gen Polo, re­called his first ex­pe­ri­ence with a rear-en­gine Kombi when he was trav­el­ling through Europe on his OE.

The Kombi was be­ing re­stored in a Cam­bridge garage one night.

‘‘When the lin­ing came off the wall of the car, the owner found among the cock­roaches, the pre­vi­ous owner’s stash of doo­bies [mar­i­juana].

‘‘Ev­ery VW has its own story and the na­tion­als is the ideal place to re­call them.’’

The week­end is ex­pected to draw around 300 Kom­bis, Bee­tles, Kar­mann Ghias, Golfs and ev­ery model Volk­swa­gen ever made.

Bayliss ad­mits the car is not the eas­i­est to han­dle. It’s not the fastest or the most re­li­able but there is just some­thing about them which draws peo­ple in.

The resur­gence of the Volk­swa­gen in to­day’s mod­ern fleet of cars is heart­en­ing and Bayliss hopes it con­tin­ues.

Peo­ple will be able to in­spect the cars at the show and shine event in Vic­to­ria Square, Cam­bridge be­tween 10am-3pm on March 31.

The pop­u­lar Volk­swa­gen has been adapted for ev­ery life­style.

Once dubbed as ‘‘The Love Bug’’, the Beetle re­mains as the most recog­nis­able Volk­swa­gen on roads to­day.

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