Ron and Diane Waller live in Phoenix, Arizona, where they sponsor a growing group of serious Volkswagen enthusiasts. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ron when
he came to Texas to assist their daughter who just had taken a job near us. Introduce yourselves to Ron and Diane.
I tell Volkswagen owners that in order to complete their Volkswagen Experience, they need to interact with other Air Cooled Owners. Ron and Diane have taken this advice to heart and are having the time of their lives. Please read of their latest experience.
Every year during the first weekend of August, the Prescott Antique Auto Club sponsors a two day car show at Watson Lake Arizona. Saturday the show is primarily for “other” classic cars and trucks. They range from Model Ts, Porsche Carreras to 1955-57 Chevrolets, Fords and Chryslers. As guests, we got to vote for our favorites. It was difficult to choose the nicest car.
There was a lineup of 1955-57 Chevrolets and each was showroom ready. One of my favorites was a 1966 Pontiac GTO. For many of us who grew up in the ‘60s you would feel right at home!
They also had categories for trucks, modified, rat rods and show favorite. They do their best to make sure everyone is included.
Sunday is set aside primarily for Volkswagens, of which there were 60 to 70 vehicles. The number of air cooleds was probably equally divided between Buses and Beetles. There were also a number of Karmann Ghias.
Prescott, AZ, is 147 miles from Phoenix over some of the most scenic roads in the state. The drive includes several 7 and 8 percent grades on winding, narrow roads with speed limits as low as 20 mph. However, other parts of the trip are over two lane desert roads with speed limits of 75 mph.
This is the second year that my wife, Diane, and I decided to attend. Last year this was our first real “away” trip and we towed the ’67 Beetle with our Honda Pilot. Needless to say, towing the car over some very difficult roads was nerve wracking! As we have become more comfortable with our car, we have been venturing farther and farther from home. This, by far, was our most adventurous experience!
We are fortunate to have friends Dan and Becky Lehman who own a 1971 Super Beetle which has dealer installed air conditioning – that works! They were able to use the A/C during the flat portions of the trip when the temperature was 108 degrees, but Diane and I used the tried-and-true VW cooling system – beach towels on the seats!
Prizes were awarded to Type 1 – 1967 and older, and Type 1 – 1968 and newer. Similar categories were awarded for Type 2s as well as awards for modified VWs and for those who had traveled the furthest. The four of us who made the trip from Phoenix together took 1st place in our respective categories.
Diane and I felt privileged to take 1st place in the early Type 1s, since there were several other beautiful 1967s in attendance. Competition Engineering, also of Phoenix, provided many of the trophies.
I have to brag a little. The engine which came with the car three years ago was tired. So last month I decided to put a new rebuilt engine into our car. As a side benefit, the new engine is spec’d out as a true 1967. For a week prior to the show, I drove 50 to 60 miles every day at 45 to 50 miles an hour. After 300 “break in miles” I pushed it to 60 and then to 65 mph. Needless to say, in our effort not to get run over on our adventure to Prescott, we drove at 65 mph and at times as high as 70!
The new motor just purred. In addition, we got 35 miles per gallon and many of those miles were in second and third gear in the mountains. Our thanks to Frenchy Dehoux at frenchysrides.com for the beautiful engine work as well as his friendship. If you ever need help in the Phoenix area, he is the man!
The Prescott Auto Club is one of the friendliest groups I have had the pleasure of being around. Their members reached out to us to offer assistance and to make sure we felt welcome. They put on a wonderful car show. Our appreciation to Jim Chatham who organized the VW show and who has one of the nicest beige 1967s you will see. When Jim and I were talking, we discovered that our cars are within 20 VINs of each other. They probably came off the assembly line the same day! Small world. I realize that Prescott, Arizona, is probably not on your list of places to visit, but if you ever are in Arizona the first weekend in August, look us up and drive along. You will not regret it!