Next >>

Story and Photography by Lois Grace

Every two years, the Golden Gate Chapter of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America hosts the Solvang Vintage Veteranentreffen, a gathering of pre-1967 Volkswagens from around the country. The meet is unique in that it was envisioned - by Jan Peters, founder of the GGC - as a tribute to the Volkswagen heritage, and modeled on the Veteranentreffen in Bad Camberg, Germany, held every four years. On the weekend of September 22, 23 and 24th, enthusiasts again converged on Solvang, California, for the vintage meet.

As in years past, vintage VW's of all shapes and sizes literally took over the town on Friday afternoon, as their occupants settled into local hotels. Solvang is a small Danish community about an hour north of Santa Barbara, and with some of the most beautiful countryside around it makes for a great vacation spot. The 3-day Volkswagen show is only one of many activities to keep you occupied while in this lovely area. Wineries and vineyards abound nearby, and there are scenic drives to exercise those vintage VW's.

We left San Jose on early Friday morning for the 247-mile trip to Solvang. We drove Gus, my Golf GTi, in case the weather dictated air conditioning somewhere along the trip.....after driving both my 1959 Single Cab and 1958 Convertible Beetle on this trip (the truck in 1990 and the convertible in 1992) I didn't feel the need to prove anything by taking one of my oldies. Hey, I'm getting old and I like my creature comforts! Anyway, we arrived in good shape after a leisurely cruise south with 3 other VW's: a 1956 Oval Window Beetle, a 1965 Karmann Ghia coupe, and a 1966 Beetle. After checking into our room at the host hotel (the Royal Scandinavian, which was complete with enough gingerbread to choke a horse) we set out to explore the town and surroundings. Of course, having been here numerous times before there weren't many surprises, but it was great to be back with all our VW friends. The best part of the whole weekend for me and many others was all the socializing with friends. Sometimes we see people at this show that we don't get to see at any other time of the year. Of course, driving our old cars isn't bad either! Friday night was the Toy and Literature show at the hotel, and a good-sized crowd showed up. Rare VW toys and paper memorabilia come out of storage, and onto the table for some pretty commanding prices. I didn't see much that I could afford so didn't buy anything. As the toy show wound down that evening, Rob and I and some friends went out to soak in the hot tub after our long drive.

Saturday morning dawned with a bit of fog, and by the time I got up, everyone had left for the show field. My work shift wasn't until later in the morning, so I was able to enjoy breakfast with friends before heading out. This show has changed venues several times over the course of the years, and in my opinion the current location is the best one ever. It is now held on the grassy lawn in front of the church at Mission Santa Ines, right in Solvang. (If you remember the lessons on the California Missions you learned in grade school, you'll recall that Father Serra founded a string of 21 missions along California's coastal area, and Mission Santa Ines was number nineteen, founded in 1804) Since I wasn't showing a car, I was able to walk right from the hotel and into the show. The cars were lined up in their respective classes, and things were well under way by the time I arrived. The sun had come out and it promised to be a glorious day. I immediately noted what I thought was a Dannenhauer and Stauss, and next to it was a really nice Schwimmwagen. The row of Ovals was well-represented, as were the big-window Beetles. We estimated that there were about 40 cars more in attendance than two years ago, and the stream of spectators never seemed to stop coming in the gate. This show is a bit more relaxed overall than our other yearly effort, Kelley Park. For one thing, it's not as big, but people seem to have more time to relax and socialize and that seems to make for a more enjoyable atmosphere.

The show wound down around 3:00, and the trophies were awarded with the Dannenhauer and Stauss belonging to Dick Christensen (from Prescott, AZ) taking first in its class as well as Best of Show. This car is an amazing piece of work, and must be seen up close to really be appreciated. Everyone pitched in to help take the show apart, and within a couple hours we were all back at the Royal Scandinavian for some swim time in the hotel pool. That party broke up in the late afternoon, and we all headed back to our rooms to get ready for the dinner that night. We spent a very enjoyable few hours at the dinner that night (in one of the Royal Scandinavian's banquet rooms), having some great food and listening to Larry Edson's account of the Ghia Treffen in Germany the year before (to celebrate the anniversary of the Karmann Ghia). It was late when we finally got back to our room and fell into bed.

The next morning, we had another great Solvang breakfast (that means PASTRIES!) before joining everyone else on the curb on Alisal Avenue, in front of the hotel. The cars were all lining up for the wine tour that was due to start at 10:30, and it was the perfect photo op - not to mention that you could get up close and personal with just about any of the cars you wanted to see better. We didn't go on the wine tour this year as we needed to get started on the trip home. A few years ago we did do the cruise though, and it usually ends at a local winery for tasting and a winery tour. After seeing the group off, we stopped at a bakery on the way out of town for some "to go" Danish, and hit the highway north for home. The long Solvang weekend is a very fast three days of fun, food and friends and it was over again for another 2 years. We all got home safe and sound looking forward to the next Solvang VW Meet.


Feature VW
Check out this season's feature VW at AllAirCooled. Want your VW featured here? Daily driver or project, no VW has ever been turned down!
Contact us...

World Wide Forum
AllAirCooled has fifteen Forums. You can ask questions, answer questions, post pictures or just make a comment. Use this valuable resource for FREE, 24-7-365 days a year!

Air-Cooled Galleries
We've got twelve different air-cooled Galleries at AllAirCooled. To add your ride simply send us picture or two and a paragraph about your Volkswagen!

Copyright. All rights reserved
2018 AllAirCooled