By Susan Anderson
Marc and Dena had no intentions of becoming Volkswagen owners. In fact, they weren’t even in the market for a car. Dena would tell you she had a major crush on Mini Coopers in those days, and VWs were not even on her radar.
But one summer weekend, the couple decided to stop by the Tannehill State Park Bug Show, because they heard on the radio that proceeds were going to the local Shelter for the Humane Society. Since Marc and Dena had been avid supporters of the Shelby Humane Society for years, they thought it would be fun to go to the event.
That decision would change their lives forever.
It was almost as if the universe was pulling Marc and Dena into the Volkswagen world. As Marc recalls, the weather had been absolutely terrible for more than a week, yet suddenly on the day of the VW show, the clouds parted, and the sun provided a gorgeous 75degree Saturday afternoon. Perfect weather for falling in love with a 1977 VW Super Beetle Convertible.
When Marc and Dena spotted the Supervert, or the Supervert found them, there was a magnetic pull. It was a triple white beauty with a whole lot of potential. “We didn’t even know what we were looking at,” Marc explained. “But we found ourselves telling our new friend Jim Walker that we might buy this thing!”
The couple didn’t know the Volkswagen scene or lifestyle. Their only frame of reference was the fact that in high school in the 70s everyone either drove a pickup truck or a Bug. They almost felt like aliens in a foreign world, yet they wanted to know more and wanted to see where they could take this triplewhite beauty.
After Marc and Dena made a verbal agreement to purchase the Beetle, Jim told them they needed to talk to Spook.
Who? Spook? They soon learned more about Spook and Airkooled Kustoms as the award ceremony at the VW show rolled around.
“We kept hearing them call Spook’s name to accept awards,” said Marc. Then, each time, you would hear about 30 or 40 people yell in unison, ‘SPOOOOOOK!’ So it was at that point Dena and I knew we needed to talk to this guy about our car.”
Jim had warned them that they would likely need new pans, but they needed even more expert advice on what to do next. They thought they might get in touch with Spook someday, but first they had to get their car home.
What followed that day of destiny at the VW Bug Show were some moments of uncertainty—like when Marc was driving the car home and discovered it required some serious pumping of the brakes to stop. It also had an annoying tendency to stall out at every stoplight.
But then there were also some glorious moments. Like when Marc, on that same maiden voyage home in his VW, encountered a literal audience of admirers along the highways and even on the interstate. It was an odd and wonderful feeling to have people waving from their yards at him like he was in a parade, or pulling alongside him on the interstate and gawking like he was a celebrity.
Once Marc and Dena got the VW home, they learned it had several issues such as a gas leak, a hood that wouldn’t close, one thing after the other. At first, Marc considered working on it as a personal project. As a selfprofessed “car dork,” he thought he could figure out the engine and manage fixing up the car over time. However, after some discussion and soul-searching, he and Dena decided they wanted to invest in a professional VW restoration.
“We didn’t want a piece of crap sitting in the garage for years,” said Marc. So the decision to go to the pros for a proper VW restoration is what led them to follow up with that guy named Spook.
They drove the VW up to the Hazel Green shop, and thus began a 5year process of turning the triple white beauty into THE Cherry Bomb.
Marc and Dena found beautiful Porsche rims on eBay to stick with a German theme. However, in an unfortunate series of events involving a road trip, a motherinlaw, and butterfingers, the rims got scuffed up during a fall to the ground. Because of this, Marc and Dena decided to paint the rims.
Ultimately, that rim snafu provided some inspiration for Cherry Bomb’s custom created paint color: Raspberry Rose.
The convertible also features a topof theline front suspension, Airkooled Kustoms back suspension, and luxurious leather bucket seats.
If the triple white beauty was a headturner before, now after its dramatic transformation the car is a literal showstopper. In fact, a photographer who came by to shoot some photos of the Cherry Bomb for a print magazine used two words to describe it: “Flipppin’ Stunning!”
While the Cherry Bomb Fat Chick restoration took five years (an AKK shop record!), during that time Marc and Dena became part of the Airkooled Kustoms family. The restoration company even chose the Shelby Humane Society to be the recipient of proceeds from the shop’s annual car show’s engine blow 50/50 raffle for several years.
In that way, the story of the triple white turned Cherry Bomb has come full circle. Marc and Dena continue to support their love of animals through the Humane Society. They also continue to cruise the countryside and interstate with their VW. But these days, they are no longer surprised by the enthusiastic response.
A wave here. A thumbs up there. It’s all part of the Volkswagen lifestyle experience. Although they didn’t plan for it, Marc and Dena are quite comfortable as owners of the delicious Cherry Bomb, and Airkooled Kustoms has been honored to be part of the ride.