- 1​965 VW T1 panel camper, beautifully restored and driven regularly

E​vent Coverage: 2021 Northwest Bugfest in Springfield, Oregon

A​ great local VW show comes back triumphantly from the Covid lockdowns.

T​he Eugene, OR area isn't really known for that much in the way of car culture, as I've written before on DriveTribe. But Volkswagens have been popular in Oregon from the first cars sold under the distributorships of Max Hoffman and Kjell Qvale in the early 50s (and no doubt the occasional war prize of a Third Reich KdF-Wagen, Kübelwagen or Schwimmwagen brought home by a GI), and they really hit their stride in the 60s and 70s and the height of the counterculture movement figureheaded by Ken Kesey. This is my first time in years going to the Northwest Bugfest, and its first showing since the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns, and the turnout did not disappoint.

T​here wasn't any "forgotten fiberglass" at the show, other than this unknown make and well done (albeit a bit gaudy) dune buggy that was for sale by owner, but this was a nice buggy nonetheless. That said, I was a bit surprised to not see either the Kelmark GT kit running a Karmann Ghia pan and Type 4 engine that was sold locally at an estate sale in Eugene over the winter, the local VW-based Fiberfab/CMC Gazelle I have seen on occasion, or the British Coach Works VW-based MG TD replica that I photographed a couple weeks ago at a muffler shop, with this unknown buggy.

​This late 50s/early 60s "Samba" bus was a crowd pleaser, and well resto-modded. The license plate frame indicates that the bus was sold new in Eugene, at Ed Pape Volkswagen (the predecessor to the multi-state Pape Machinery John Deere dealership network)

​This patina piece '63 or so Kombi still wears traces of its original realtor's logos.

​This "Frankenbeast" combines a straight axle Toyota Hilux 4x4 frame with a '73 Type 181 or "Thing"/"Safari" body, and strongly channels Russian and Romanian military runabouts such as the UAZ Hunter and ARO M461.

T​his swan-song (for the US market; this Kübelwagen derivative hung on until VW replaced it globally with the largely Audi division-developed Iltis in 1980) 1974 model year Type 181 "Thing", named Lucy, looks very nicely kept, and has a heavy duty rollbar)

T​his low-light Karmann Ghia has shown up at several Euro Classic Cars & Coffee events. Its presence here, and its early, purest Ghia lines (penned by stylists Luigi Segre and Felice Mario Boano), were welcomed by many.

T​his '51 European market split window is the oldest bug I have ever seen in person, and is the about most original of any split window bug I have seen online or in magazines/books. However, its front fenders come from a 1953-57 "oval window", given that they are the correct shape, but do not have the 1938-52 circular fine-mesh grilles on round horn cutouts like they should.

​This dark blue post-'67 survivor was looking for a new garage to call home at this event. While these do not have the Old World charm of a '67 or older, have derogatory nicknames in the VW hobby such as "fat chick", and are strangled by emission controls, they are still great little cars.

Almost every vintage VW show has at least one 356, 912, 550 or 914 showing, even if it's a fiberglass tub on a shortened bug/Ghia pan. This is real Stuttgart steel, a nice 80s-era resto on a '64 356C cabriolet.

T​his was one of my favorites in the whole show, a '65 VW panel camper that had been converted when new by an unknown outfit, and been restored with a modern prefab interior kit, reproduction vintage side awning, and mostly stock esthetics with uprated mechanicals. While not a real Westfalia or Sundial, it was still an eye catching crowd-pleaser.

T​his bright orange '67 or so bug looks odd without its running boards & sitting far away from the other cars.

S​everal vendors showed up, with both VW toys and VW parts/accessories. I bought some stuff that a good friend in the 2nd booth was holding for me, and sweetened the deal for him with this Schuco Ferrari dealership shop truck T1 panel.

T​here were even a few water-cooled cars at the event.

B​ut my favorite of all the vehicles was this nicely custom-fabricated Baja Bug ute running a Type 3 or Type 4 "pancake engine", backed up by a Syncro Sinka T3 that I couldn't get shots of, and next to a ratty Karmann Ghia project car.

S​pringfield German Import has been a big part of the local VW community for many years; while they no longer have a physical shop & no longer do repairs, they still put on this wonderful show every year.

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