An institution of the VW community for 20 years, The Classic was once the biggest air-cooled Volkswagen show in Southern California. Check out what's new this year at the Classic!


VW Lifestyle

They say you shouldn’t mix business and pleasure, but I just couldn’t help myself this past summer. After an excellent week at El Prado in June, I was itching to get back on the road and see some dubs, so the morning of July 1 I trekked up to Long Beach in my 4-cylinder Nissan Frontier accompanied by JBugs photographer Sam Montiel.

Loaded down by tables, chairs, canopies, and all manner of JBugs promotional materials, my truck did about as well as my 1961 Beetle would have – with the original 1200cc/40HP engine.

I had never attended The Classic before, so I was really looking forward to the event. An institution of the VW scene for the past 20 years, I’d heard numerous stories about the type of high caliber cars you can expect to find at the event. The Classic was what people spent all spring building their cars for. It was the big one.


1956 oval convertible beetle
                                                                                     Beautiful black 1956 convertible from The Classic 2014

Suffice to say, I wasn’t too happy to be driving the truck.

But that’s the nature of the game! The ‘61 was not even close to being ready, and I needed a vehicle to carry everything. In the words of thousands of VW owners before me, I really need to get a bus. 

We rolled into the parking lot of Veteran’s Memorial Stadium around 5:30 that morning, greeted by the event staff, vendors, and a few die-hards who were already staking out spots for their club. At this point, I started to get excited. Even if it wasn’t going to be as big as it had been in the past, I could see that the lot could hold hundreds of cars with room to spare.

Prior to the event I had been told repeatedly that Classic 2018 was not expected to draw a very large crowd. A good portion of the North County VW folks I know said they did not plan to attend, still sore from the high entry cost and exclusivity of years past.

An hour later, our comrades from JBugs had arrived to help finish to set up, and the gates were being opened up for the general public. 

JBugs booth at The Classic 2018
                                                                                                       The Jbugs booth the morning of the Classic.

The initial surge of cars was a welcome sight. It’s tough to measure excitement when your closest neighbors are all vendors, so the fear that this year would be a bust still hovered in the back of my mind. But that fear was soon dispelled
by the sounds of hundreds of air-cooled VWs cruising into the lot.

JBugs, like most other vendors, has sold product at The Classic in the past.

This year we decided to take a different approach. We wanted to have the opportunity to actually engage with customers and check out the show for our own enjoyment, so we decided to pass up a few sales to run an information booth and hand out free goodies.

We could not have made a better choice. With four of us at the booth, we were able to each take a turn to cruise around the show, wolf down some food, and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Not that we needed to travel far to catch one of the most impressive builds at the show. Parked just behind the JBugs booth was a beautiful green and black two-tone barn door deluxe bus. 

Custom Barndoor Type 2 VW Bus at The Classic 2018
All VWs are cooler with Safari windows, literally!

The quality of work was outstanding. Every single thing on the bus was perfect. None of the custom additions felt out of place, nor did it feel like sacrilege.

There aren’t many VW guys out there that would customize a barn door (1955 and earlier) bus, let alone a 23-window deluxe. But this guy did! I applaud him for it.

The emerald, black, and chrome color scheme of the engine was a killer choice.

Two-tone barndoor bus with custom wheels
                                 View of the bus from the rear.
The emerald color really made the heart of the bus look beautiful. Likewise, the shine of black and chrome Porsche-style wheels complemented the simplicity of the original color-matched stamped bumpers very well. I was all around in love with the thing.

I’ve got a soft spot for  restorations and resto-mods, especially when they go heavy on the vintage accessories, so when I ran into a couple of the guys from Rare Vintage Air Volkswagen club, I immediately changed course to head toward their area.

This mint green ’62 hardtop Bug stands out as one of the later model cars in the RVA line-up and as one of the best. Chrome polished to the nines and featuring some thick white walls, everything on the car popped like he just finished polishing before I showed up.

1962 hard top type 1 Beetle w/ vintage accessories
We can't get enough of this vintage luggage!

In particular I really liked that he found every possible color in the green/blue pallet and used it on the accents. Between the wheels, running boards, fender beading, and luggage there were 5 different shades of green.                                        

It was excellent work to say the least.

Around 1 or so, our friend Shin Watanabe from Hot VWs stopped by the booth to show us a few photos he had shot from on top of the stadium. The bird’s-eye-view told a compelling story. There were hundreds of Type 1s, 2s and 3s, and thousands of people on foot - all there to share their love of Volkswagen. 

The Classic 2018
                                                   Birds-eye-view photo courtesy of Shin Watanabe


There were so many cars they had to start an overflow area!

Despite low enthusiasm leading up to the event, I doubt I could have enjoyed Classic more than I did. First and foremost, the guys and I achieved exactly what we came there to do. We came to show our support for the community and do what we love best - talk Volkswagen. Second, I saw some very respectable builds and brought home with me a lot of new ideas for my own. 

overall rating:
my rating: log in to rate