Steve Reid Published 2018 by Plus One, which supplied the review copy ISBN 978-0-99510-326-9 Review by Mark Holman
Steve Reid, who has produced a number of enjoyable books about vehicles and their owners, now gives us this new one that focuses on Volkswagens from both sides of the Tasman.
Some owners treasure just the one VW while others have a collection, such as the lovely selection of Kombis owned by Joc Richardson — think Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill. The Reardon family is another example, with a total of nine VWS, including a Beetle convertible and Meyers Manx buggy.
VWS Downunder contains many tales of epic restorations and rebuilds from barn finds or neglected vehicles. There are a couple of Golfs, Type 3s, and Karmann Ghias but most of the vehicles featured are Beetles and Kombis, in all their forms — from as original as possible to rat rods and Subaru engine swaps. There are also ‘Splitties’, Squarebacks, Transporters, and many other models. The earliest VW in the book is Matt’s 1954 ‘Barndoor’ Kombi.
Although VWS were assembled in Australia and New Zealand at various times, quite a few of the featured cars, especially the Kombis, were brought in by immigrating owners. There are some nice examples of conversions by companies such as Canterbury Pitt, Dormobile, and Westfalia.
Each of the 53 owners has a tale to tell about their VW passion — what led them to their car, what they have done to it, and how it gets used.
This 216-page book contains hundreds of photos, from Pete H’s 1963 Kombi Deluxe as a wedding car to Justine’s bright yellow, Mexican-assembled ’ 77 Beetle with its flamboyant eyebrows.
When I went to the VW Nationals in Lower Hutt last year, I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the owners for their machines. This book looks like a real treat for the many fans of the Wolfsburg marque!