Goodguys Air-Cooled Corral Welcomes VWs At All Events
It’s time to clear the air a little about air-cooled Volkswagens. Though it was not always widely publicized, vintage VWs have always been welcomed at Goodguys events. Our fondness for these air-cooled machines dates back to the ’80s and early-’90s when the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association regularly held Bug Bashes at several West Coast venues. They’re a noteworthy part of Goodguys history.
The response to vintage VWs has become increasingly positive as more have shown up in recent years – enough so that we’ve started hosting Air-Cooled Corrals at all Goodguys National events. Last year at the Pacific Northwest Nationals in Puyallup, WA, more than 50 VWs from the Kahiko Kula VW Club styled in every shape, form, and manner filled the Air-Cooled Corral, making it a major attraction for both spectators and participants alike. This year the club expects nearly 100 to roll in.
There may be a few enthusiasts who dismiss Volkswagens simply because they’re foreign, but it’s easy to see how intertwined the German “people’s car” has become with American car culture. Its arrival in the ’50s prompted a wave of domestic compacts, while Beetles and Microbuses became synonymous with youth culture in the ’60s and ’70s. Just like classic American woodies, Volkswagens evoke thoughts of surfing and beach culture for many.
There are also plenty of notable hot rod builders who got their start with Volkswagens back in the ’80s – guys like Dave Kindig, Alan Johnson, and Zane Cullen for example. You can add hot rod journalists like Chris Shelton, Eric Geisert, and Aaron Kahan to that list, too. Heck, even former Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, and Rodder’s Journal editor Pat Ganahl, and his son Bill with South City Rod & Custom, have brought their custom Bug’s to Goodguys events in Pleasanton. More recently we’ve seen shops such as SIC Chops, Divers Street Rods, Brown’s Metal Mods, and Goolsby Customs roll out some head-turning Volkswagen builds as well.
Much like prewar Fords, the ease with which you can modify and personalize the Beetle made it an ideal entry-level car for many Generation X enthusiasts coming of age in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Their approach to modifying these cars was the same as hot rods of previous generations – they were lowered, the engines modified for more power (and assertive exhaust notes), and the best examples exhibited first-rate craftsmanship and thoughtful modifications. As these Gen-X rodders mature through middle age, will we see more custom VWs at Goodguys events as they revisit their ’80s youth? We sure hope so!
VWs are popular worldwide and are a welcome part of Goodguys events from coast to coast. We’ve compiled a massive gallery of VWs from Goodguys events during the 2018 season and first portion 2019 to give you a small taste of these cool compacts. Enjoy!