What Are the Best Classic Cars?

What Are the Best Classic Cars?

What Are the Best Classic Cars? The Ones You Fell in Love with First

People often ask us what are the best classic cars to restore – and probably they’re looking for an objective, dollars and cents kind of answer. Some restorations actually turn into smart investments. Just pay attention to some of the outrageous Barrett-Jackson auctions to see jaw-dropping price tags on restored classics.

But there’s another way to gauge what the best classic cars are – and it’s a much softer science, not an economic fact, necessarily.

We call them heritage cars.

Mojoe and LB are just a couple of the heritage builds we’ve done.

This is the ride that captured a piece of your heart as a kid. It’s the car you watched your dad work on (and maybe you even got to help turn a wrench now and then). It’s the bus your mom drove to get your siblings and you to school, Scouts, and piano lessons. It’s the first car you ever bought – and never forgot.

We thought you’d enjoy this piece by Craig Fitzgerald at BestRides.com about how Tony Dow of Leave It To Beaver got his car back… and what he plans to do as a heritage build.

If you ask a heritage car’s owner, “What are the best classic cars?” you’ll get a one-word answer: MINE.


Tony Dow is a director and a sculptor, but if you know anything about him, it’s probably his role as Wally Cleaver in the popular 1950s television series Leave It To Beaver. During the show’s run, he purchased a 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Spyder and sold it several years later. This week, he was reunited with the car, which he hopes to restore to its original specification.

Leave It To Beaver launched on CBS on October 4, 1957, where it ran for its first season. After the first season, it moved to ABC, where it would be broadcast until June 20, 1963. The show ended around the time that Jerry Mathers — who played the title character Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver — was headed off to high school. It achieved consistent ratings its entire run, but really hit its stride in syndication in the early 1980s.

What Are the Best Classic Cars

Why the Best Classic Cars Are the Ones We Loved First

The Corvair in question was Dow’s first car, purchased during the show’s original run. He drove the car for four years, until soon after the show ended. At that point, he sold the car to Alan Dadisman, who built props for Universal.

More than 50 years passed without a word about the car’s whereabouts, until the phone rang recently. “[H]e and his wife, Lauren, received a call recently from a stranger who identified himself as Marty Tryon,” reads a piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The caller…explained that a dear friend had recently passed away and had asked Marty to track down Dow, the Spyder’s former owner, and give him the Corvair. Dadisman thought the actor might like to have his first car back.”

Dow remembered that it was Alan Dadisman’s first car, too. “Who keeps a car for 51 years, then goes to the effort to try to find its former owner to give it back,” Dow asked.

What Are the Best Classic Cars

Sometimes the Best Classic Cars Have Been Forgotten for a While

The car hadn’t moved for seven years when Dow went to look at it, because Dadisman had been ill for quite some time. Nevertheless, aside from the 1980s-era dark blue repaint, updated wheels and 180-hp turbocharged engine, he was thrilled with its condition.

When it launched for the 1960 model year, the Corvair was a domestic competitor to popular cars coming from Europe. Like the Volkswagen Beetle, the Corvair had a horizontally opposed, rear-mounted engine, but that’s where the similarities ended. The Corvair’s engine was a six-cylinder to the VW’s four, and it provided a number of body configurations, including a coupe, a sedan, a convertible, a pickup, a van and even a small motorhome.

For 1962, Chevrolet began to honestly market the Corvair as a performance car. Monza-trimmed cars hinted at the sportiness in earlier years, but the Spyder took it to another level with a turbocharger.

Forced induction was foreign to the American car buyer circa 1962, except for low-production cars like the Studebaker Lark R2, which provided a belt-driven Paxton SN-60 supercharger. GM jumped into turbocharging with both feet in 1962, though, delivering not only the 152-hp Corvair Spyder, but the 215-hp Oldsmobile Jetfire, supplemented by the addition of “Turbo Rocket Fluid.” (Not making that up. See below.)

What Are the Best Classic Cars

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Dow ordered the car in “Midnight Blue.” Chevy never offered a “Midnight Blue” in 1962, but “Twilight Blue” is probably close to that shade.

Watch Old TV Shows to See Some of the Best Classic Cars

One of the most memorable storylines of any Leave It To Beaver episode revolves around Wally purchasing his first car, a $220 1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten he buys from his pal Frank.

Then in an episode in the last season, Wally bashes up his dad’s 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury pushing his buddy Lumpy’s car home.

Hopefully, Dow won’t have the same experiences with his new acquisition. He towed the Corvair back to their home in Topanga Canyon, where he has plans to restore again.

via: http://bestride.com/news/entertainment/beaver-tony-dow-corvair

Having the opportunity to build heritage cars is one of the best perks of working at Airkooled Kustoms. We know that the best classic cars are the ones that have an emotional tug on the owner’s heart – and that for our clients, these builds are about much more than just vintage steel.

If there’s a classic car that’s been haunting your memory for a while and nudging you to start a build, maybe now’s the time.

Do Classic Cars Need Seat Belts?

Do Classic Cars Need Seat Belts?

Do Classic Cars Need Seat Belts? Yes, unless you’re currently being attacked by a zombie.

In fact, if you’re asking, “Do classic cars need seat belts?” then you could be actually asking of two questions. One, do states require seatbelts even if the car was manufactured without them? Or, two, are they needed.

No, and yes. No, the state won’t make you install them in a restoration if your car rolled off the factory line without seatbelts. Yes, you need them – unless you plan on driving during the Zombie Apocalypse and want to make sure you can bail quickly… but you could even do quick-release belts then.

If your idea of fun is barreling down non-road roads, we’ve got two pieces of advice for you.

  1. You definitely need seat belts. 
  2. You might consider a VW Baja Bug.

Usually our shop is known for high-end kustom restorations… like Miss Mabel, or Bumblebee, or Paz Ghia.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t roll around in the dirt like the best of them, too. Plus, an off-road VW Baja Bug would be blissfully free from the fear of a visit from the Dent Fairy.

In fact, a Baja Bug would be fun to build. If you’ve got one in mind and the build plan is kool enough, we’d do it. Rough and tumble, a strong suspension, and everything you’d need to go off road… and make it back – we can do that.

So, yeah, the whole Do Classic Cars Need Seat Belts question is a YES for safety.

Here’s a great little piece about VW Baja Bugs from The Garage at Jalopnik. Buckle up and enjoy.


Here’s why I love cars: They’re gender-neutral, colorblind, politically centered metal and fiberglass boxes of excitement, individuality, and freedom. One car that absolutely embodies everything I’ve mentioned is called the VW Baja Bug. Here are a few reasons why you need to drop everything and buy one. 

I’ll start this love letter off with a full, total and long disclosure: I have not driven this car, but I got damn close. Let me explain. I heard D-list internet celebrity and Jalopnik veteran Raphael Orlove needed help with his small but eclectic collection of cars, namely his Volkswagen Baja Bug, and I volunteered to take some time out of my busy schedule of binge-watching Netflix and commenting on political Facebook posts to help him. I’m such a hero.

When I got there, the Bug’s battery was dead and The Raph (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) said that the car was on a tow truck the night before, because she wasn’t running right. After sacrificing the battery in my S-Class, we got the Bug running, and before I could ask to drive it, some random guy beats me to the punch. 


Yes, a man off the street asked to drive a complete stranger’s car, with jumper cables still attached, in the pouring rain, with a bad alternator, arguably running on three and a half of its 4 scooter-sized cylinders, and leaving his increasingly worried-looking dog Pepper in the questionable care of said stranger – which is probably as good a time as any to transition into my first point:

5. You Will Get An Insane Amount Of Attention

A VW Baja Bug isn’t a car as it is a lifestyle choice. Why would someone, of relatively sound mind and body, choose a car with an exposed engine, no mufflers or emissions equipment of any kind, and a body half-comprised of cracked fiberglass and rusted-through thinning steel, when they could get a Toyota Corolla for the same price? It’s the kind of question that perplexes people and they can’t help but stare and engage with the owner because of it. I was with the Raph-meister (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) for a few hours on a weekend, and it seemed like every 5 or 10 minutes, someone would stop and do a double take when they saw the bug, and unlike Doug DeMuro’s dudebro-magnet Ferrarieveryone wanted a piece of the Bug.

Young couples looked at the car with an approving gaze, chuckling as they walked past, likely breaking the ice on their awkward first date. Elderly women came by and talked about how their husbands used to have one “just like this” decades ago, when net neutrality was a concept that applied only to tennis. Taxi drivers held up traffic to see if the car would start (Spoiler alert: It didn’t), and a heroic freelance automotive “consultant” came by and offered help, if’n we were so inclined as to pay him. (Spoiler alert: We didn’t). It’s was by far the shittiest and most unkempt car on the street, but I honestly don’t think a Lamborghini Veneno could’ve gotten more attention that this little slice of honest simplicity. And speaking of simplicity…

4. You Can Fix It With A Hammer

If you’ve been paying attention to James May’s Cars Of The People, you’ll have learned that the VW Beetle was designed to be extremely utilitarian, and that if damaged, its simple mechanical wizardry could be set straight on the side of a remote German town, in the 1930s. The Baja Bug takes this to a new level, by removing the things you don’t need, like a bonnet. The car barely has doors (which, by the way, close with a satisfying German thunk), and the rats nest of wiring is so simple and crude that any idiot with a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie would be able to completely overhaul the electrical system.

There are no radiators to speak of, no coolant to leak onto the ground, one tiny carburetor sitting below a slightly less tiny meshed air cleaner, and cylinders that you could individually rebuild. The entire drivetrain comes out with just 4 bolts, and you could perform nearly every bit of the car’s maintenance in a parking lot or side street. The only vehicles that are arguably simpler have pedals.

3. The Worse It Looks, The Better It Is

Immediately after returning to the lap of luxury that I call my Mercedes, I took to eBay to see what Baja Bugs I could find, and I came upon an issue: They were all too nice. I didn’t want a pristine example of a throwaway car, because that would negate the entire point. Raph-a-doodle-do (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) straight up rolled his car into a ditch, putting some nasty welts into his primered bodywork, cracking some fiberglass. One of his headlights made a break for it during a rally stage, and was mended with some wood screws that were fastened into the brittle fiberglass overfenders, with the chrome surrounds left to rust slowly. The front wheels were blue, and the rear wheels were a shade of yellow reserved for dentists’ waiting rooms and IRS office bathrooms, made almost indistinguishable by the amount of dirt on them. 

The interior had the build quality and feel of an out-of commission amusement park ride that was turned on one last time. The well-worn seats were from an unidentified 80’s car of some sort, and the dashboard was adorned with the gifts of owners past. The accelerator pedal was missing, leaving behind simply the lever and caster, so your foot could literally roll off the accelerator pedal if you weren’t careful. The vinyl and cardboard door cards were caved in, and the yet-fruitless search for flight MH370 had nothing on the search for one of the car’s 4 gears, through the world’s sloppiest shifter. 

But all of that makes the car. It’s underpowered and loud, but it’s supposed to be. Every non-structural rust hole is a admirable battle scar. Every temporary fix-turned-permanent added character and personality. This wasn’t a car, but its own entity. It wore its age with pride, dents and all – a tall order, and not something any car could pull off. This car is a tribute to a simpler era, wearing completely different clothes than it did when it left the showroom, but having way more cool stories to tell.

2. It’s The Best SUV

The regular VW Beetle can be quite low. Not so with the Baja Bug. As I went to disconnect the battery from my car and bring it down the street to give some much-needed life support to the Bug, I found Rapharino (That’s what I call him, now that we’re best friends) just hanging out underneath the car, with his feet in the New York City street, obviously and/or obliviously unconcerned with the cars whizzing past. This car had crazy ground clearance. It also had meaty tires and had its engine in the back, which allows you to do this on a dirt track quite easily:

Even thought its engine produced a paltry 50-something horsepower on a good day (not too many of those), the chassis had a ton of pedigree and it was set up to kick some serious ass and have an even seriouser amount of fun. If you fold the backseat and clear out the frunk, you have ample room for storage, and it can seat 5 ’30s-era Germans with ease, or 2 modern-day Americans in relative discomfort. Even if you can’t fit something inside, strap it to the roof, or drag it behind you, it’s so damn frugal that you could make extra trips without having it put a dent in your wallet, and you’d be smiling the entire way. It’s the all-terrain vehicle that you never knew you needed, costing a little bit less than most new 4-wheelers, which brings me to my final point:

1. It’s Seriously Cheap

If you’re looking for thrill of ownership, no car beats this for the dollar, as you can buy these modified, personalized playthings for next to nothing. For around the same price as a used Corolla, you’ll have instant friends and onlookers wherever you go. It’ll sound like a pissed off WRX, and you could slide it around in the dirt. Dents make the car look better, and you could fix it with duct tape and silly string. They made millions of Beetles, and you could convert one into a backyard-destroying Baja Bug by yourself. This car will most likely outlive you, leaving only your legacy behind.

(Photos by Raphael Orlove, Tavarish)

via: http://thegarage.jalopnik.com/five-reasons-why-you-need-to-buy-a-baja-bug-right-now-1629937931


Do Classic Cars Need Insurance?

Do Classic Cars Need Insurance? And how do you get it?

Yes. Yes, they do. Especially if you’ve poured a fortune into a restoration, you’ll want to be sure to get special insurance for your classic car. If you ask the Airkooled Kustoms guys, “Do classic cars need insurance?” you’ll get a definitive answer – and advice on where you can get coverage for your ride.

It’s not super expensive, but it will certainly give you a bit more peace of mind whether you drive your classic car or just tuck it into a trailer to take out during show season.

Did you know that one of the reasons Airkooled Kustoms takes SO MANY pictures during our restoration projects is for the insurance? Both because we can’t exactly wrap the shop in bubble wrap (and boy would it be a nightmare trying to replace the vehicles under our care without insurance) – but also because when our clients go to get their early Volkswagens and Porsches insured, the photos help.

Part of the process of getting your classic insured involves proving what’s been done in the restoration process… and nothing beats photographic evidence. Check out what’s on the floor at the shop – and you’ll notice that on each build’s page, you can click through to see hundreds – even thousands – of pictures documenting all we’re doing.

How to Buy Classic Car Insurance

Collector Car Insurance and Classic Car Insurance

If you are fortunate enough to own a classic car – or any collectible automobile – then you want to ensure that your luck does not run out because of having inadequate insurance coverage. Call it covering your butt – or covering your “asset” – but by all means, call one of the major providers such as American Collectors, Haggerty, or Parish Heacock insurance companies and let them put you in the driver’s seat in terms of professional protection of your cherished automotive investment.

How to Kick the Tires on Classic Car Insurance

The whole idea of insurance is that it needs to do what you expect of it in an emergency, when the rubber really hits the road. And classic car insurance is as different from conventional auto insurance as, well, a classic car is from your run of the mill generic vehicle.

When you buy a classic car insurance policy, you are essentially purchasing protection for those times when – God forbid and knock on wood it doesn’t happen – disaster strikes in the form of a fire, a collision, or an act of theft or vandalism. Just as we now have modern airbags to save us in the event of a crash, we also have collector’s car insurance, to protect us with adequate moneybags when calamity throws a wrench in the works.

The time you invest in choosing the right classic car insurance coverage is well worth the value and peace of mind that a quality collector’s insurance policy delivers for owners of classic motor cars.

The Nuts and Bolts of Classic Car Insurance Coverage

Collector car insurance is not the same as the insurance you buy for normal coverage of your daily transportation. Collector car insurance, or classic car insurance, is made especially for the needs of the car collector. And while ordinary insurance does offer some protection, no matter what you drive, it can leave you high and dry in the event of a loss that it not effectively covered by the terms of the insurance contract.

For example, you may have a garage-kept Cadillac Sedan DeVille with swooping fins your grandparents bought for $7,000 brand new back in the 1960s. But dealers have offered you three times that much, and you saw another one sell at an auto show for $35,000. If you don’t have special collector car insurance or classic car insurance, and the car is totaled, you will be lucky to get $7,000 for it. With depreciation calculated in, the insurance statisticians may decide that it is worth only half that much, or less, and you could wind up with two or three grand in exchange for your dream machine.

Stipulations or requirements normally encountered while shopping for collector car insurance or classic car insurance:

  • A decent driving record.
  • At least 10 years driving experience
  • No teen drivers on the policy or drivers with poor driving records
  • Secure and out of the weather garage
  • Proof that you have another car for daily transportation
  • Collector vehicle insurance is sometimes limited by the age of your car, and if your car is too young it may not qualify for a particular policy.
  • Limited mileage. You probably don’t want to drive your creampuff car all the time, and your insurance company doesn’t want you to either. Mileage limits have increased recently, though, so if you can live with 250 miles a month you’re probably okay.

Coverage with collector car insurance or classic car insurance: Three kinds of value are important to understand when buying your policy. 1) Actual cash value: This is what you usually get with ordinary insurance, and is based on replacement cost minus depreciation.

2) Stated value:

The insurance company pays up to the stated value of the car, but may not guarantee the full stated value. And deductibles of up to $1,000 usually apply.

3) Agreed value:

In most jurisdictions, those who provide collector car insurance or classic car insurance are allowed to insure for a value that you and your insurer agree upon. And for most autos, there is no deductible. If your $100,000 vintage Rolls get trashed, you get a check for 100 grand, plain and simple – which is exactly why collectors use special classic car insurance coverage.

Do a periodic review of your coverage limits, because classic car prices are rising. What you insured your cherry classic for ten years ago may be a fraction of what it’s worth today. And if you are restoring a vehicle, ask your agent to give you appropriate insurance. There is no need to pay extra based on mileage statistics, if your car is up on blocks with no engine inside it. And as the car’s value increases thanks to your hard work of restoring it, you should raise the coverage to keep up with the added value of the restoration.

Keep all your receipts and paperwork – for everything from parts and labor to expenses incurred to take it to a classic car show – so that you can document the total investment your collector’s car represents. And take photos and keep them updated, for the same reason. And Last But Not Least: Special Savings Opportunities

As long as you meet the criteria in terms of how you use and take care of the car, you can usually buy a policy.

Traditional insurers will either refuse coverage, offer only a replacement value based on the nuts and bolts (minus heavy depreciation) of the car, or will charge you a prohibitive amount for the premium. But many collectors find that special collector’s coverage saves them money – as much as half – while insuring them for higher limits, sometime three or four times what a traditional company gave them.

Yes, it’s possible to get collector’s insurance coverage for full market value for your car, and save up to 50 percent off of the premium you’d pay with ordinary insurance. That makes classic car insurance a must-have for any serious car buff.

  • At least 15 years old
  • Garage-kept
  • Driven on a limited, pleasure-only basis (up to 5,000 annual miles – available in most states)

You may also qualify by:

  • Having at least 10 years driving experience
  • Having a good driving record
  • Having at least one “regular” vehicle for every licensed driver in the household You may request a policy application either directly from American Collectors Insurance or through your local insurance agent (rates are the same either way).
  • Parish Heacock Classic Car Insurance P.O. Box 24807 Lakeland, FL 33802-4807 Toll free: (800) 678-5173 Qualifications (subject to change or regional laws so check with the company for specific up-to-date information).
  • Each household member of driving age must have at least 10 years driving experience or be excluded.
  • Each household member must have a regular use vehicle less than 15 years old that is insured with liability limits equal to or higher than the limits being applied for on the collectible vehicle.
  • All licensed members of household and any other drivers of the vehicle must be listed on the application.
  • Maximum of two accidents or violations in the household, maximum of one per licensed household member in past 3 years. No major violations permitted in past 5 years.
  • A Driver Health Questionnaire must be completed for all drivers over 70 years old.
  • Auto must be stored in a locked permanent garage facility when not driven.
  • Auto may not be used for commuting to or from work or school, used for business purposes or as a substitute for another auto.
  • Autos not covered while on a racetrack or when being used for: racing, speed, driver’s education, or timed events.
  • Must display pride of ownership: well maintained, in restored or well-preserved condition.
  • Vehicles under restoration must be stored at residence or a restoration shop, with a target date for completion. Agreed value coverage is not available on cars under restoration. Eligibility subject to company review.
  • Replica Vehicles and Pro Street vehicles are subject to company review.
  • Trucks and Jeeps must be over 25 years old, and not be used for towing, hauling, off-road or utility use.
  • Generally do not require appraisals, but may ask for one if vehicle value is difficult to determine.

via How to Buy Classic Car Insurance | INSURANCE

What Is a VW Type 1?

What Is a VW Type 1?

What Is a VW Type 1? Only THE Car of the 20th Century!


Whether you look through the film archives, popular TV shows, or movies from the last century, you see one steely recurring character popping up everywhere – the VW Type 1, or the Beetle. What is a VW Type 1, and why is it so popular?

Why is it so popular? Just look at it!

Our parents and grandparents bought them because they were economical. We restore them now because they are not only fine pieces of German engineering, but they’re also the cars that haunt our memories and appear in our daydreams. There’s nothing like the sound of a VW engine, and even the three-curved shape of its silhouette is an icon.

Whether it’s hanging on your wall or tucked into your garage (or even on our shop floor), your VW Type 1 is no doubt one of your most prized possessions.

VW’s Type 1 Beetle Really Was the Car of the 20th Century

It’s only the most manufactured car in history.

As the old commercial tagline goes: “A Volkswagen is never changed to make it look different, only to make it work better.” The Volkswagen Beetle is perhaps the most relevant car of the 20th century, surpassing the Ford Model T in production numbers. Yes, Volkswagen has a dark history regarding its relationship with the Nazis during World War II, but it did manage to engineer and build a cheap and reliable car for the populace. In production from 1938 until 2003 (NOT a typo), the original Beetle has rightly earned its place in automotive history.

And as we all know, VW has built not one but two successors. 1997 saw the introduction of the New Beetle. It looked like a bubble and was too girly. But the latest Beetle pays better design tribute to its ancestor. But is it worthy of its iconic name? XCAR gets behind the wheel of the original and today’s car to find out.

Loved The Video?

via VW’s Type 1 Beetle Really Was the Car of the 20th Century

Should I Get a Volkswagen Bus? Ask a silly question.

Should I Get a Volkswagen Bus? Ask a silly question.

Should I Get a Volkswagen Bus? Only If You Want a Lifetime of Great Memories.

Should I Get a Volkswagen Bus

If you grew up in the 60’s, 70’s, or 80’s, there’s a good chance a Volkswagen Bus plays into your memories. Maybe that’s what your family drove around. You know, throw the kids in and take off. Seatbelts? Pfft!

Or, maybe that’s what you drove as your first wheels.

Maybe your first romantic adventures were in a Kombi… or that unforgettable camping trip.

What’s neat is that with VW Bus restorations, for a long, long time, it was really just the splits that were popular – especially the 21-windows and up. Then as they became rarer and rarer, the Bays became desirable. Now that even the Bays are becoming highly collectible, the Vanagon might have its day in the sun.

We’ve currently got four Kombis on the restoration floor at the shop – all in various states of restoration. One of the most exciting phases of a resto is when Spook does color testing. Usually, the client’s got a basic color scheme but leaves the details up to his design aesthetics. He’ll do three colors on skate decks for the client to choose from – and the ones that don’t get picked are up for sale in our Gear Shop.

Check out this article – a little ode to the Kombi. THIS is the sort of person who’s had their heart captured by a Volkswagen bus, and who know its lures.

Memories of driving around in a VW Kombi

Is there a more enduring symbol of the free-lovin’ 60s than the Kombi van? The vehicle was an icon of the 1970s with its roomy interior perfect for a nomadic, hippy lifestyle. It has been used by hippies, surfers, and backpackers for decades and is a symbol of fun, freedom and the open road.

Since the iconic Kombi first came out in the 70s, it has become a relic of the hippy era gone by, and even to this day, we can see the van on album covers, in movies and even on our streets.

The concept for the Type 2 came from Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon. He first sketched the van in a doodle dated April 23, 1947, and the rest they say is history!

Did you know in the German Language, Kombi is actually short for “Kombinationskraftwagen”? Most of us knew them as Kombis but other names you may have used were ‘Hippyvan’ and ‘Vee Dub’.

Production in Germany stopped in 1979 because it no longer met European safety requirements. The VW plant in Mexico stopped producing the classic version of the van in 1995, leaving only the last remaining factory on Sao Paulo’s outskirts which closed in December 2013.

Kombi lovers should not fear because the vans are well known for their durability! They’ll be around for many more decades to come…

What memories do you have of Kombi vans? Did you ever own one?

Some have colorful designs painted on them…

While others are used as a wedding car!

They were always amazing at the beach

The colors were always eye-catching

This one’s been converted into a food truck.

Do you remember the interior?

Look at those seats!

A beautiful white Kombi

via Memories of driving around in a VW Kombi

How Fast Can a Volkswagen Bus Go?

The Age-Old Question… How Fast Can a Volkswagen Bus Go?

How Fast Can a Volkswagen Bus Go

We get this question a lot, about pretty much every air-cooled vehicle we build. How fast can a Volkswagen bus go? It’s a good question – but it might be more accurate to ask how fast it can go… for a certain amount of time.

Sure, you can stuff a VW Bus full of go-fast goodies. But you’d better be sure all the other systems can handle the additional demands speed’s going to put on them. Basically, everything that makes you go… and stop needs to be upgraded to be built for speed.

We are proud to put one of the nation’s premier transmission builder’s trannies into our Dubs. If you want a VW that’s built for speed, you’ll want to be sure you get one Tony Walker built, too.

Quickest VW Air Cooled Bus in Europe – 11.422 @ 117mph

2016 Big Bang at Santa Pod Raceway.
Outlaw Flat Four Racer Phil Jarvis in his 2387cc 443bhp nitrous powered split screen panel van – The Fire Bus, put in 3 runs on Sunday all in the 11.4’s, with a quickest of 11.422 @ 117mph.
As of the 24th of April 2016, that makes him the fastest full bodied VW air-cooled Bus in Europe, and just a few hundredths behind the world best of 11.408 by Michael Cruze.

via Fastest VW Air Cooled Bus in Europe – 11.422 @ 117mph

So, now that you’ve got your answer about how fast can a Volkswagen bus gog, if you’re interested in doing a VW Bus restoration that will go… and stop, the next step is having a conversation with Airkooled Kustoms.

How Do You Pronounce Karmann Ghia?

How Do You Pronounce Karmann Ghia?

How Do You Pronounce Karmann Ghia Razor?

How Do You Pronounce Karmann Ghia

Car-man Gee-Uh… otherwise known as “Dammmmmmmm” in the case of a 1965 Razor.

We’d sure love to get our dirty, bloody, bruised, greasy, and burnt hands on a Razor Ghia to restore. We’ve got a  gorgeous 1969 Ghia on the floor right now, and you can see more than 1,000 build pics, too.

Want to know our restoration process, start to finish? Check out Blood, Sweat, and Vintage Steel on Amazon.

German Rotary Dreams: The 13B Karmann Ghia

Near Death Experiences

If you’re a VW purist you may want to stop reading now, because this is not your average build.

Way back in 2000 while in high school, Las Vegas local Richard Jones purchased what was then a mostly factory 1965 Volkswagen Type 34 Karmann Ghia as a daily driver for his girlfriend, Shannon.


While most VWs tend to let you know just before they’re about to give up with a host of warning lights, this car was built before that type of technology existed, and not too long into ownership, the original engine decided to quit. Richard decided this would be a perfect time to swap in a big 2443cc motor and take it street racing. This went on for a few years before that motor blew too, and at that time Shannon handed the car back to Richard. “That is when the fun began,” he says.


Richard would always pick up custom truck magazines like Mini Truckin’ and see everything on adjustable suspension, allowing them to lay completely flat on the ground. He set a goal to get his car as low as he could, but he had no experience with suspension design or metal work. Richard put some time into reading and gathering as much information on the subject as possible, and in eight short months he had the front suspension on a cantilever setup using air cans, while the rear was bagged. He would then use his newfound knowledge to create a factory-looking, right-hand drive dashboard.


Now that the VW’s stance was taken care of, Richard started to hunt down parts for the outside of the vehicle. Realizing that people didn’t give up these rare components easily or cheaply, he purchased two parts cars to get the finishing pieces required.


Richard and his family enjoyed the Ghia for a few years until one day another car pulled out in front of him. The resulting collision destroyed all of the front sheet metal and bent the pan. Richard was left heart broken; all of his hard work had just been undone in a split second. But he didn’t let the wreck get to him for long, and soon decided that a rebuild should happen. He persuaded the insurance company to not total it, as a salvage title would put a damper on the history of the car.


Richard went back and forth trying to decide what he should do, but he knew he wanted to push his capabilities to the limit. In the end, his goal was to mix his love for VWs and mini trucks to create a one-off custom. The Ghia was taken to the side yard of his house, braced, roof cut off, and flipped upside down in order for Richard to start fabricating an entirely new suspension setup. This is where all the years of research would come into play as he hand-built a full tube-frame chassis.


The front suspension now utilizes upper A-arms from a circle track car and hand-made lower arms, while the rear now runs hand-made trailing arms.


The air suspension was replaced with a 24-volt, single-pump, six-dump hydraulic setup with accumulators using Dice Suspension manifolds and cylinders all powered by two Odyssey batteries.

Twin Spinner


Given that the chassis and suspension had been completely customized, there was no way Richard was going to run a predictable motor. Instead, he opted for a naturally aspirated Mazda 13B twin-rotor engine out of an FC3S Mazda RX-7.


The bridgeported 13B sucks air and fuel through a 48mm Weber carburetor mounted to a RotaryShack manifold, while spark is provided by MSD coils and a 6AL module. Richard custom built a 2-inch steel header running into a 2.5-inch stainless muffler, and swapped the stock pulleys for a Gilmer Drive belt setup to keep things turning in the right direction. That trademark Gilmer sound doesn’t hurt either.


More than air would be needed to keep the motor nice and cool now, so Richard installed a 4-core custom-built radiator with two electric fans, and hand-made an aluminum expansion tank and overflow box. As for the driveline, that consists of a Volkswagen Type 2 091 gearbox with race-prepped Type 2 CVs, a lightened flywheel and a 2400lb clutch.


With all of this custom momentum, Richard couldn’t leave the brake system factory either. A Wilwood Pro Spindle brake kit along with Wilwood 4-piston calipers all around fed by CNC master cylinders were installed to make sure stopping power was up to task. Rounding it all out is a rack and pinion steering setup designed for a sand car.


Richard knew he wanted to run larger wheels, so while the car’s chassis was being built he tubbed the wells. The triple-laced Dayton wire wheels that were chosen for the build are not what you’d usually see on a VW, but they work so well. The fronts are 17×7-inch wrapped in Yokohama 195/40R17s, while the rears are 18×8-inch with 215/35R18s.


Even with all of these modifications, Richard wanted to keep the outside relatively factory but with a few personal touches. He’d come this far, so why not, right? The fresh air vents were deleted along with the door locks and wipers. The engine compartment also got some custom sheet metal work in order to fit the new power plant.

You’ve Got Red On You


Richard spent plenty of time and money inside the car too, and the new blood-red leather retrim contrasts perfectly with the VW’s off-white exterior.


The interior also runs Speedhut gauges, a Bug-Tech shifter, Tilton pedals and a hand-made roller throttle pedal.


As you can see, it’s been one long adventure getting the Ghia to where it is now. Richard has pushed through the aggravation of having his car almost totaled, which is a tough thing to do when you’ve watched your dreams literally crushed in front of your eyes.


Most people would have thrown in the towel at this point, but Richard has a very strong support group he surrounds himself with. First and foremost he would like to thank his now wife Shannon Jones. He says her love and faith in him, and her awesome sandwich making skills, kept him going throughout all the trials and tribulations. Thanks also go out to Juan at Snail Motorsports for the powder-coating, Corey for installing the Rebel wiring harness, Chris for rebuilding the engine, as well as Kevin, Marcus, Brien, Keith, AcroSean, Joe, Whiz, Lauren, Jake, Alex, Shane, and Tom Carsten (RIP) for their inspiration to think differently and to push the bar.


This car proves that with the right people and the pursuit of educating yourself, you can do anything. Mistakes and tragic events may happen along the way, but in the end, if you keep pushing yourself and surrounding yourself with a good crew, amazing things can happen.

Brian Goude
Instagram: grinder_tv

1965 Volkswagen Type 34 Karmann Ghia

Max Power: 200hp (estimated)

Mazda 13B 6-port twin-rotor, half-cut bridgeport, 48mm side-draught carb, RotaryShack intake manifold, MSD coils, MSD 6AL, MSD wires, Gilmer Drive belt & pulley setup, custom header to 2.5-inch stainless muffler, external oil cooler with fan, custom 4-core radiator with twin fans, hand-made aluminum expansion tank & overflow box

Volkswagen Type 2 091 gearbox, 2400lb clutch, lightened flywheel, race-prepped Type 2 CVs

24-volt 1 pump 6 dump hydraulic setup with accumulators, 2x Odyssey batteries, custom-built trailing arms, custom-made lower A-arms, Circle Track upper A-arms, Wilwood Pro Spindle brake kit with 4-piston calipers, CNC master cylinders, sand rail rack & pinion, all lines & fittings supplied by Nevada House of Hose

Triple-laced Dayton wire wheels 17×7-inch (front) custom-made 18×8-inch (rear), Yokohama S.Drive 195/40R17 (front), 215/35R18 (rear)

Custom-made tube chassis, modified engine bay, shaved air vents, wipers & door locks

Double diamond stitch interior inserts, hand-built metal right-hand drive dash & lower dash panel, custom tunnel cover, custom Speedhut gauges, Tilton pedals, hand-made roller throttle pedal, Bug-Tech shifter

More VW related stories on Speedhunters

via German Rotary Dreams: The 13B Karmann Ghia – Speedhunters


How Much Is an Old VW Beetle That’s Barely Been Driven?

How Much Is an Old VW Beetle Like This?

How Much Is an Old VW Beetle

Barely driven, found in a barn, original EVERYTHING. Now, that’s a barn find! Most of the stuff we hear about people finding isn’t in nearly such good shape. Usually, it looks more like something you might find in the Airkooled Kustoms boneyard. Dirty, dingy, dusty… ragged, rotten, rusty – just like Oscar the Grouch likes it.

One like this, in pristine condition… probably just needs a tune-up and some fresh fluids. 

Quite the rarity!

We’ve got a ’74 Standard Beetle at the shop right now that came in in DECENT shape. Checking out here.

===> 1974 Standard Beetle

Barely-driven 1974 VW Beetle barn find up for auction


 (Silverstone Auctions)

Remember the little old lady from Pasadena who only drove her car to church on Sundays?

Well, Armando Sgroi was an old man from Genoa, Italy, who bought a VW Beetle in 1974 to drive to services when the hills near his home got too tough for him to walk.

According to Silverstone Auctions, it was a very short trip that Sgroi finally gave up for good in 1978, when it was parked in a barn with less than 56 miles on the odometer.

It sat there in its original condition, still with the oil and tires supplied by the factory, until it was recently discovered. It’s since been cleaned up, but unmodified, and will soon be auctioned. The metallic blue coupe featuring a 1300 cc engine and the flat under the trunk floor spare tire of the Super Beetle, as it was known in the United States.

This one isn’t stateside. It’s in Denmark, where it will cross the auction block at the Classic Race Aarhus event on May 28th and is expected to attract bids of around $40,000, about twice as much as a 1974 Beetle in top condition that hasn’t been stored in a time capsule is worth today.


Bringing Beetles back to life:

via Barely-driven 1974 VW Beetle barn find up for auction


That VW Microbus is NOT a VW Microbus

That VW Microbus is NOT a VW Microbus

That VW Microbus is NOT a VW Microbus

VW Microbus

Spook has been saying this for YEARS! It seems like nearly every VW show we go to, there’s always a Mystery Machine that makes an appearance.

Many of us at the shop being children of the ’70s, it’s a little nostalgia to see these buses… but we’ve known the sad truth for a while. 

Also, while PP thinks the micro buses are totally adorable (squeeeeeeeee) apparently that opinion is not universally shared. Ah-hem.

Read on to find out exactly what the Mystery Machine might be… and what it is definitely not.

The Mystery Machine Is Not A VW Microbus


Everyone’s at least somewhat familiar with the Scooby-Doo series of animated low-stakes real estate mysteries, correct? The one where a group of nomadic teens in a van roam the country stopping (usually) real estate developers from using Halloween costumes to force the sale of properties? You know what kind of van they drove? I bet you don’t.

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Well, I suppose our particular readership of Jalops may have a better guess than the population at large, because I’m fairly certain — from informal polling and rich, fulfilling life experiences — that most people believe that the Scooby-Doo crew’s van (known as the Mystery Machine) is a VW Microbus.

It isn’t.


I’ll attempt here to show why I think this is, and also to make a best guess as to exactly what sort of van it is. The Mystery Machine actually doesn’t quite seem to be a specific van, but a sort of hybrid of several possibilities, though I think we can find one particular one that has the most influence on the design.

First, let me rule out once and for all the Microbus assumption. I think this is a fairly lazy assumption that’s based on the van’s general van-like shape and the presence of both the front-mounted spare tire and the large floral decals. Both of these elements are well-associated with the traditional ‘hippy bus’ VW Type II stereotype, and I think for most non-gearheads, that’s enough.

But it’s not enough for us. The first clue this isn’t accurate is at the rear of the van. A Microbus would have an upper hatch for the luggage are and a lower hatch for the engine — the Mystery Machine has a pair of vertical doors that extend to the floor of the van — no room for a rear engine there.

Plus, the Mystery Machine has a much more trapezoidal shape, and less of the bread loaf shape of a Microbus. It’s no VW.

So, what is it, then? Here’s what I think we do know: it’s a mid- to late 1960s American van, cabover, with the engine most likely in a doghouse between the front seats, part of that series of smaller American vans that came about in response to the Microbus. It’s a set of vans that includes early Ford Econolines, Dodge A100s, Chevrolet Sportvan, and notably does not include the Corvair Greenbriar van, for the same not-rear-engined reasons as disqualified the VW.

The Mystery Machine is not normally rendered with a lot of detail. There are a few constants: no really visible front air intakes, round headlights with round indicators below, large windshield, and a fairly pronounced beltline. Sometimes it’s rendered very angular and sharp, other times more rounded. Taillights seem to be small round units mounted low. Occasionally a twin-bar roof rack is present.

Here’s the best candidates, all mid-’60s models:

Ford Econoline

Why Possible: Very close general shape and proportions, beltline location and prominence works, bumper design seems close, flat-topped rear wheelarch

Why Not Likely: The Econoline’s distinctive air intakes incorporated into each headlight unit are missing, and are such a huge design detail from this van that I believe if the intent was that the Mystery Machine was an Econoline, these would have been included. Also, indicator light shape is improper.

Dodge A100

Why Possible: Very close general shape and proportions, taillight size, shape, and location close, window shape and dimensions accurate

Why Not Likely: The A100’s massive headlight bezels, like the Econoline’s air intakes, are just too distinctive a feature to ignore. The Mystery Machine’s lights are too small to suggest the A100. Plus, the A100 had multiple character lines down the sides of the van that are not suggested in the Mystery Machine.

Chevy Sportvan (1st gen)

Why Possible: Very close general shape and proportions, headlight and indicator light size, shape, and location very similar to Mystery Machine, grille intakes could be completely (or nearly so) obscured with a front-mounted spare tire.

Why Not Likely: Rear wheelarch too round, taillights wrong shape/location.

Despite the minor differences, I think the Chevy Sportvan appears to be the closest van to the Mystery Machine, and is the one I’d pick if I was struck by lightning and my brain altered enough where I became committed to producing a real-world Mystery Machine replica.

An interesting side note is that if Scooby-Doo and the gang were a bunch of go-getter teens from a collective farm in the central steppes of the Soviet Union, a UAZ 2269 would likely have been the Mystery Machine, or тайна машины. The front end actually looks closer to the actual Mystery Machine drawings than any of the American ones, but it’s just not likely Scooby and the gang would be rocking a UAZ.

So, I’m calling it: the Mystery Machine was a 1961-1966 Chevy Sportvan. I’m sure many think I’m an idiot for this call, so I look forward to seeing why in the comments. Also, more detailed descriptions of what kind of idiot I am, too, I bet.

via Public Service Announcement: The Mystery Machine Is Not A VW Microbus


Classic Cars You Should Buy Now – If You’ve Got Millions to Spend

Classic Cars You Should Buy Now – If You’ve Got Millions to Spend

Classic Cars You Should Buy Now Because Their Price Is Only Going UP…

Classic Cars You Should Buy Now

If you happen to have an extra million or so laying around doing nothing, here’s a sweet selection of classic cars you should buy now. If you click through to the slideshow, keep your eyes peeled for #8, the 1952 Ghia… oops, Ferrari.

With these prices in mind, a full resto from Airkooled Kustoms seems like a bargain!

10 most expensive classic cars sold in Monaco

Ferrari 288 GTO 039BonhamsThis Ferrari 288 GTO sold for $2.06 million in Monaco.RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams saw impressive results at classic-car auctions held concurrent to the prestigious Historic Grand Prix of Monaco last weekend.

The event, which takes place two weeks before the actual Formula One race is run on the infamous circuit, is a parade of beautiful sheet metal.

The sights and sounds are hard to find anywhere else. The circuit is one of the most loved and feared in the world for its collection of tight turns in the narrow, unforgiving streets of Monaco.

Some of the races are journeys into the golden ages of motor sport.

At the auctions, results were somewhat varied. Some big headliners — like a very rare Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder — failed to sell, while other cars soared.

For example, a 1995 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota set a record for the model when the hammer dropped at 672,000 euros (about $760,000), while a 2004 Aston Martin DB AR1 sold for a record 336,000 euros (about $380,000).

Here are the 10 highest prices seen at RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams in Monaco this past weekend:

View As: One Page Slides

via 10 most expensive classic cars Monaco