News/Blog

Volkswagen News

June Blog

VolksWoman is back! I'm happy to report that my colleague from my VW Trends Magazine is back writing for AllAirCooled.com. Kicking it off this month with event coverage from the Kelly Park 39th Annual VW Spring Meet. Spoiler Alert! Lois Grace also shares the exciting news that she is once again a Contributing Editor for the new VW Trends magazine. I hope that you'll enjoy the articles from my long time friend and I'm looking forward to more of her fabulous articles.

For June we have a new feature that is the GOAT. Actually, it's a cool VW Bay Window Camper owned by Thomas Mahady that is named "The Goat". It's got a great story, great pictures and a whole lot of work went into converting it into a Pop-Top Camper, so check it out. I've added a lot more factory pictures to the website that you're going to find very interesting. These exclusive assembly line pictures are straight from the VW factories to you, and are a glimpse into air-cooled Volkswagen production.

Do you like those old VW ads? I really do! So I've added even more of them to the Classic VW Ads section. I've heard that there were over 1,000 created by the ad firm DDB and my goal is to find every one of them for the website. Look for the review of the book "Ugly is only Skin Deep" next month. This book takes a deep dive into these iconic DDB ads and I've been enjoying reading it so far. Until next month, keep it all-air-cooled!


1956 Beetle Gets a New Lease on Life

1956 VW Beetle

In 1956, 326,428 Sedans and 6,762 Beetle Cabriolets were produced. The '56 Volkswagen Deluxe Sedan sold for $1495, the Sunroof Sedan was $1575 and the Cabriolet (convertible) $1995. Fast forward to 2022 and students at Simcoe Composite School (SCS) had just finished the complete restoration of a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle and were looking for their next project. Enter Bernd Brandt, who located a 1956 VW Sunroof Sedan that had been sitting in a Kitchener farmers field since the 1980s.

1956 Volkswagen Bug

The rusty but original 68-year-old piece of Volkswagen history was offered up and SCS transportation teacher Richard Ernst gave the new project the thumbs up. Students from grades 10 and 12 are working on this project that is being supported by local sponsors, car clubs and parts suppliers such as CIP1.com. CIP1 (California Import Parts) has been serving Vintage Volkswagen enthusiasts for 44 years and will be supplying VW parts, tech advice and discounts to help this project along.

1956 Volkswagen Bug

During the first semester the students started work on the engine, transmission and chassis. The goal is to use as many of the original parts as possible. The engine and transmission are original to this Beetle have been exposed to 40 years of Canadian weather. "The engine does crank over - it hasn't started, but it does crank over," said Ernst. Students are learning and practicing techniques that will eventually bring this Beetle back to showroom condition. Skills such as flaring the brake lines, bending them and attaching them to the proper factory locations. A MIG (metal inert gas) welder is also being used to attach the new floor pans to the restored original frame.

air-cooled VW engine

By the end of the semester the engine, transmission and chassis were completed and now the restoration of the bodywork is underway. One students remarked that "It was nice to work as a team to take something that was rusty, and what we thought was not fixable, and turn it into a show car." The Beetle is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2025 and was shown in March of this year as a "Work in Progress" at the 2024 Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo. What a great opportunity for youth to be involved in learning the art of classic car restoration. Hopefully this will lead to some of them to getting into the hobby in the future. We all can't wait for the day when this early Beetle hits the road again.

May Blog

I'd like to start off by thanking everyone for all of the positive feedback on the new website. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous with the launch, hoping that I got all of the coding and links set up correctly, thankfully it was all good! Now it's simply a matter of finding interesting air-cooled VW content, new features and updating the Classic VW ads and the Factory Volkswagen Pictures on a monthly basis. That being said, if you are interested in having your VDub featured or would like to submit coverage of a VW Event, please reach out to me. This website is a one person show and I can always use a a little help from my VW friends. I hope you enjoy "Unkle Bob" as this months feature and the resurrection story of the 1956 Beetle by the students at the Simcoe Composite School.

Interview with Sam Mebane from JBugs

VW Super Beetle

AAC: Hi Sam. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got your start with JBugs.

Sam: I’m not sure how long of a story you’re looking or ready for but here it goes! I’ve worked here at JBugs since May of 1998, a few weeks before I turned 21, which is a whole other story involving work as my birthday happens around the time of what was the “VW Classic Weekend” in June. I’m getting sidetracked, that’s a story for another day perhaps! I was working at a gas station, and a coworker at the gas station, Jaime Marrison (still a coworker, now at JBugs) had just started working at California Pacific. The new owner at the time, Gary Vogl, had just acquired JBugs, from TMI. Gary had anticipated an influx of business and hired Jaime, upon the recommendation of the long time California Pacific employee, Scott Lorio. Scott had been with California Pacific since back when it was only Pacific Bugs. Jaime recommended I come “hang out” and work with him at the now California Pacific / JBugs after I got off of work at the gas station. I did this for a couple of days, maybe even a couple of weeks, in the later part of April 1998. Gary either felt sorry for me, or something, who knows, and decided to hire me! The rest “is history” as they say, some of which, is still being written, or in our more modern method, filmed. That’s the “whole” story, wrapped up, fairly tightly!

AAC: What’s your earliest VW memory?

Sam: This one is a little bit hearsay and a little bit of “heartbreak” for some, I consider it all part of the journey God has put me on. According to my biological mother, and from what I can vaguely recall through those little flashbacks that play through one’s mind, I do remember standing on a toilet seat looking out the window of whatever house or apartment or what have you, that we lived at, across the street, to an auto repair shop. My mother said I would always watch the cars come in and out but VWs, especially Beetles were my favorite. She said I was potty trained at a year old. Supposedly she told me that if I was going to be in the restroom, I’d better be going to the bathroom! She was also a habitual liar…so I take that with a grain of salt. But again, I do have those images in my head.

Fast forwarding a couple of year to a more vivid memory, I was taken away from my mother and adopted father (Sam is an adopted name given to me by him) by a social worker in a green VW Beetle. I didn’t particularly care for my parents because I was abused as a kid, so I was happy to get out. My social worker’s VW took me away from all of it and over the years, as I was going to and from various foster homes and orphanages, he would show up in a VW, every time. Not always the green one, occasionally a Beetle Convertible he owned or Karmann Ghia, which quickly became my favorite of his cars.

VW Karmann Ghia

AAC: Do you currently own any air-cooled Volkswagens?

Sam:Yes, although technically one of them is my son’s. He has a 1972 Standard Bug that we are building in to a Baja Bug as his first car and covering in our YouTube vlog series. Since getting it, I picked up a 1964 Baja shell on a full tube chassis, and an old but complete sand rail that came with a spare long block and transmission. So I was without a VW for about 9 months since selling my 1971 Super Beetle that I’d completely restored for our YouTube series, last March.

AAC: JBugs has a YouTube video channel, what’s it all about?

Sam: In a nutshell, it’s about working on VWs! Showing viewers tips and tricks we’ve learned (sometimes as we’re filming them) that will make it easier for them to work on their own projects.

Blue Super Beetle

AAC: Just how many videos have you made so far?

Sam: We’re at around 250 videos now, including “Shorts”. Some shorts are just chopped up from our longer videos, others were made as standalone videos.

AAC: What was your personal favorite video to make?

Sam: Oh, that’s an easy one, although I’ve loved making all the videos, especially the latest ones I’ve been doing with my son since, but the “JBugs - 2023 Year End Wrap Up” was my favorite! It was when my son’s face first appeared on our channel. “I’m 12 years old and I just bought my first car!” Was such an awesome feeling for me. Proud dad moment for sure, and he legit bought the car with HIS own money, not money that was a gift from “Grandma or Grandpa”.

Standard VW Beetle

AAC: How long does it take to make one of these videos, from start to finish?

Sam: That does vary depending on the sort of video, some of our shorts only take a few minutes start to finish including the upload to YouTube. Some of our blogs, including the video that kicked off our series of vlogs, “We just bought 8 1/2 Beetle Projects during a heat wave” took only an hour or so. In fact, I recorded that video on a whim, on my cell phone. I even edited it on my phone and uploaded it to our channel, all from my cell phone. It is amazing what we can do with technology nowadays! Other videos can take up to a week or longer to film, edit and upload.

AAC: What are you trying to accomplish with these videos?

Sam: Our main goal is sharing some of the tips and tricks we’ve learned in the 30+ years working on VWs. None of us at JBugs are “experts” or factory trained mechanics. We’re just showing some of the things we’ve learned, and are still learning as we make more videos, along the way.

I’ve wired more VWs than I can count and probably installed more than 50 floor pans as a conservative estimate, so at this point, Ok I am somewhat of an expert in some fields. But that is only by self taught experience, not by training. All of our “techs” are just people that love VWs and, like most of our customers, enjoy working on them.

We’d hoped, and at this point have had the confirmation from thousands of comments on our videos, emails and phone call conversations to our sales people, that our videos would be a helpful tool, among many others out there, to get more old VWs on the road and keep them running. Now, as more people are “cutting the cord” they can watch some of our more laid back vlog series of videos for entertainment.

VW cruise

AAC: Did you ever imagine having close to 40,000 followers for the JBugs YouTube channel?

Sam: No, not at all! I was just talking with my videographer (also named Sam, Montiel) the other day about how we had done a video and giveaway when we reached 10k subscribers. We’re blown away with the growth, especially as of recently, where we’ve made a major push towards making videos on a regular basis. I’m thinking about trying to get another giveaway set up for when we reach 50k, but I think we’ve got awhile before that happens.

AAC: What topics to you plan to cover in the future?

Sam: Our most pertinent topic we’ve actually already debuted to our viewers. We’re unexpected competing in EMPI’s 2024 Engine Battle. We originally only planned on doing a build as an exhibition, showing what a hobbyist can do vs the pros, since we’re the main sponsor of the competition. So, here I am, with very little engine experience under my belt, jumping into the deep end of the pool so to speak, and competing against some of the best builders in the VW industry! We’ll be covering the build in its entirety on our YouTube channel, showing me, trying to build a large displacement, performance engine for the first time! My last couple of engine builds have shown me make a couple of mistakes, and I’m not afraid to show them. I’m human and mistakes happen. Hopefully they give our viewers the confidence in their own builds and show that mistakes, like most everything in life, can be overcome. While we’re doing that, I’ll still be doing the vlog series after work, with my son at home, continuing the build of his Baja Bug.

AAC: Where can we see all of these JBugs videos?

Sam: You can view them all on our website at https://www.jbugs.com/category/JBUGS-Videos.html or on the JBugs YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjQrfI10BRDA1vdsmEVMOHg. I'd also like to take a moment to thank all of our loyal followers for your support and promise there are many more great JBugs vids to follow!


April Blog

Welcome to the All-New AllAirCooled.com. This website started out as a VW link farm over 25 years ago, helping people connect with Volkswagen websites from around the world. I added a monthly feature, some galleries, a forum and shortly after that I became a contributing editor for VW Trends magazine. And now I'm excited to say that AllAirCooled.com has had a major update. I started working on the new responsive design in March, and after a couple of weeks, I'm happy to say, that the new website is ready to go. The totally redesigned website consists of a monthly feature, parts/service/restoration services, event listings, event coverage, classic VW ads, Volkswagen Factory pictures, About/Contact, feature archive, and this news/blog page. Please take a moment to visit our website sponsors as they help to support us in so many ways. AllAirCooled.com will be constantly updated so please come back to see what's new at the site. In the end I hope that you enjoy the new website and if you have any questions or comments I'd love to hear them.