Ed Fall of Vintage Werks was originally featured well over a year ago when 1967beetle.com was in it’s early infant stages of growth. I wanted to take a moment to bring forward again this great article. If you have a vintage VW, you need to know about Ed’s fantastic work.
Ed, tell me a little about yourself, your background and how Vintage Werks began?
I’m originally from southern California. I grew up there at a time when Volkswagens were plentiful—about one in every five cars on the freeways. I learned to drive my dad’s ’65 beetle in the late sixties and well remember its build quality contrasted with that of other cars of the era: its rugged metal construction, simplicity, reliability and design elegance, and how well it withstood daily wear unlike the ’68 Impala wagon my dad purchased a few years later. My joy of the beetle goes back to that time, and though it lay dormant for several decades, remained with me.
Recently, I was emailing with a guy on eBay about a ’67 oil bath air cleaner core. I soon learned that it was none other than Randy Carlson. If you’ve ever searched for a Vintage VW, his name is no doubt familiar. Randy is the owner and founder of Oldbug.com and has been a very active member of the So-Cal automotive scene since the 1980s.
Born in 1966 in Whittier California, VW Nut Randy Carlson had the benefit of being seated in the heart of So Cal Car Culture. With a father deep into car collecting, he grew up at the swap meets and car shows in the area and as long as he can remember, there was always something interesting in the garage. The parade of vehicles in the home garage ranged from huge American classics such as Packards and Pierce Arrows to foreign steel to the likes of Austin Healeys and even a Gullwing Mercedes. With exposure to such amazing vehicles as a child, why and how did he end up with VW’s as his passion?
The story of my ’67 Bug is really the story of the original owner, Hermann Bonasch, and how he extended his caring hand to this vintage car. However, when Hermann bought it in March of 1967 at Berkey Lee Garage in Albany, CA, it wasn’t vintage – it was new! A Ruby Red workhorse of a car, it was at the heart of a family that was forming. It carried Hermann to work every day as a much-loved veterinarian in San Lorenzo, CA, and it was there, four years later, on August 21, 1971, ready to whisk Hermann and his new bride, Marcia, off to their honeymoon, blending two families together. By that time, the Bug had already logged its first one hundred thousand miles!
The photo above is of me and my grandfather. He gave me the ’67 and purchased it new. I love him dearly, and my restoration efforts reflect the passion I have for these old cars, which has now grown into a business. Here’s a bit of background on myself and 1967beetle.com.
How long have you been into vintage Volkswagens? When did it become an obsession? About 9 years. To get a better idea of the infant stages, read my ’67 restoration story. I can’t say it’s an “obsession.” Ok, it might be… My good friend Timm and I call it the “VW sickness.” It’s just something I’ve become very passionate about. I’ve worked as a visual designer / art director for the last 11 years. Over the last 9, I’ve been working on my ’67. During that time, I fell in love with creating real tangible objects and working with my hands. I’m obsessed with small details and the idea of bringing something old back to its former glory. I’m even offering restoration services on a few one year only parts for the ’67 Volkswagen Beetle.
You established the #vintageVW hashtag on Twitter. How does the online community matter to the Volkswagen community as a whole? The web is just another medium; a place where people can share their content, stories and ideas. It’s an amazing distribution vehicle and has made it a lot easier to find NOS parts. It’s also given companies a business platform where they are able to offer services with a global reach. Lastly, I’ve been able to connect with SO many fantastic enthusiasts. The VW community is a breed all their own; always willing to lend a hand, advice, or even NOS parts. Not too long ago a box with free NOS German Hella tail light lenses showed up at my door. (Thank you!)
Tell us a little about the history of the Buggy House.
As far as I can put together, there have been 4 main owners of the shop. The first owner only had the shop for three years. He ran it by himself. In 1970, he stepped into the back for a moment and three SPG roller cranks were stolen. Five minutes later he sold the shop to Jerry Young. If you ever talk to any old school bay area VW people, they’ll know about the Buggy House, and they’ll know Jerry. Jerry Young and his brother in law Rich Davis ran the Buggy house until the early 2000s. During that time they made a name for the business and did very well. Remember this was before the internet. They had distributors like H&H and IMC who carried every factory part ever made. Everything was cheap and everyone was building cars.