Sunday Best: Kelley Park VW Spring Meet
The Kelley Park VW Spring Meet is one of California’s most popular car events. Historic Kelley Park itself is a sprawl of 172 green acres located in San Jose, California. It serves the community at large for a variety of purposes – picnics in the park, its own zoo, a Japanese friendship garden, and a history museum. Annually, the estate also plays host to one of the largest Volkswagen shows in the western U.S. and is put on by the Golden Gate chapter of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America.
This year’s show was held on a perfectly sunny Sunday afternoon. Upon entering the park, guests were immediately greeted by leading lines of Beetles and Buses, all presented in a variety of creative ways. It was difficult to gauge just how many cars are on display until you found yourself closer to the heart of the park, and this year’s count was enormous. If there was a direction to be looked in, there was a Volkswagen in it.
Back toward the center of the park was a small number of Special Interest vehicles from 1959 and earlier. This pack of Schwimmwagens was a hit for those who are both history and VW buffs. These amphibious, off-road, almost toy-like rigs were piloted by German forces in World War II, and are so hilariously cute that it’s hard to swallow their dark role in history.
The next area of the show yielded some true characters – everything from stock to restomodified to, well, you’ll just have to see. One of the more heartwarming vehicles on display was a cute ’66 Beetle which doubled as a wedding guestbook. As the story goes, Luke’s fiancee Tiffany really wanted a Bug to drive away in together after their wedding ceremony. With the help of some friends and 2,500 miles later, they’d found their car in an apple orchard in Santa Cruz, CA. Crunch time came and three weeks before their wedding, the car had been given a rebuilt engine, a fresh interior, and it was ready to go. It’s always exciting to see couples enjoying their cars, as it adds a more well-rounded, family feel.
Several cars down from the wedding mobile sat Kris Machado’s ’62 Square Window Bug, gleaming in an orange glow in the mid-morning sunshine. It stood out prominently against its muted background, its mouth open to display a tidy air ride setup. Like the orange Karmann Ghia we showed you earlier this little Bug had plenty of personality and an incredibly clean cut style.
What we think might be our favorite Bus of the show was found toward the end of our walkthrough, and is owned by Nick Guevara, a San Jose local. This ’71 Bay Window Bus is loaded with details and screams “old school cool.” Everything from the raccoon tail decor to the luggage on top to the art gallery of personable stickers makes this Bus a longer stop than most others. The tribute art to the VW emblem painted on the front also harkens back to the sixties and seventies, where it was all about love, peace, and the VW Bus.
All in all, the Kelley Park VW Spring Meet is a vast expanse of all things VW—full on restorations, original barn finds, garage builds, and much more. The vibe is family friendly and very welcoming, with owners and enthusiasts who are more than willing to stop to have a conversation with you. We hope that this show stays at Kelley Park for years to come, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s turnout.
Kelley Park VW Spring MeetPhoto Extra!