Words & Photos by Henry Phull
Being an outsider from the air-cooled scene, I only first heard about the DTA End of Season meet last year, but unfortunately couldn’t make it because it clashed with another show at the time. When I learnt the DTA club were putting on another end of year meet, I knew I had to check it out. After seeing what a roaring success the previous event was (with VW’s taking over an entire road) I knew I couldn’t miss it again. With last year’s extensive turnout, 2014 called for a larger venue, so Si and the guys decided to host the meet at The Old James Cond Printworks based in Birmingham city centre. I have to say, it was one of the coolest venues I’ve ever been to, and was absolutely perfect for the event. The organisers initially feared that the cars travelling to the event would be caught in excessive traffic and have to deal with road closures, as a half marathon was taking place at the same time, closing the majority of Birmingham centre. Luckily, with a route provided well in advance, most attendees found it really easy and there was actually minimal traffic. Good thing, as old cars and heavy traffic don’t usually mix.
The old printworks is a stunning location, which looks to have been developed into a car park. It would be the ideal place for an annual meet, but unfortunately I’ve learnt the place is going to be demolished. Such a shame, but still nice to give it a proper send off with some remarkable air-cooled cars!
Being a ‘meet’ rather than a traditional style show, the atmosphere was chilled out. People seemed to arrive whenever, which I think always makes for a cooler day rather than a show with strict rules and regulations. Everyone was friendly and welcoming even to us outsiders.
As expected, there were plenty of awesome split screens to drool over.
I’m a big fan of interiors and the small details (usually patina related) when it comes to air-cooled cars, so I’ve attempted to include as many interior shots and small details as possible throughout this article.
I was excited to see a car I’d previously been seeing plenty of on Instagram, a recent addition to DTA, Stef’s ’68 Porsche 912. When do you see a Porsche with such an awesome patina, seriously cool! I’m really looking forward to seeing this one finished.
Obviously, we love slammed rides here at Slam Sanctuary. I was pretty amazed by Terry Settle’s Karmann Ghia, sitting as most cars should – on the floor.
Just to mix things up a bit, this ’55 Chevy was looking good and surprising to see at an air-cooled meet, but very cool nonetheless.
I loved this bus, a Type2 westy sitting really well, wonderful patina’d style stripes and decals.
It was a nice surprise to see that James McCafferey trailered up his latest project all the way from the South Coast, a super rare RHD DKW F12 which he is currently in the process of getting roadworthy, with new fuel and brake lines to come.
And if one DKW wasn’t a rare enough sight, here’s another for ya.. a ‘Schnellaster’ (also known as the ‘F89 L’) in a pretty rotten state, but super cool to see!
The Hayburner lineup was as strong as ever with the usual congregation of splitty’s and a few extra surprises.
The Rothfink Razor was looking good on those Cosmic wheels.
Pipey also made the journey from down South with us to cause a stir with his Beetle pan’d Mk1 Golf, now powered by a Mazda Rotary 13b.
Alongside Pipey was Ashley Thomson’s equally exciting 2tone narrow-beamed static Beetle, an insane example!
Cosmic’s are always such a perfect match with Beetles, here shown on one of the Bugpeople’s examples.
Although I’m not usually a convertible fan, there’s something special about this ’67 Bug…
Low, and not so low! Two awesome Notchback’s.
The Fuchs were looking really good on this slammed ’72 Beetle.
I’ve personally never liked Karmann Ghia’s… and here I am posting more already! This time, Chris Palomba’s 1960 Mango Ghia. I loved everything about this car especially the patina, colour coded wheels and funky interior trim.
With so many incredible Beetles on display, it was hard to decide on a favourite, but I think it has to be this black beauty. Those white walls just finish it off perfectly.
Coming close, was this ’66 owned by Will – who used to own a tidy BMW E36 we’ve shot a few times over the past two years. Interesting to see him make the switch to aircooled, and he’s done well with a stunning example.
I think this Porsche put everyone in a state of pure envy, it is by far one of the cleanest 912’s I’ve come across in a long time. And that colour, wow!
I’ve been a big fan of Kirsty Greatrex’s ’69 Beetle since I first saw it back at Ultimate Dubs at the beginning of the year… loving the new picnic basket.
The iKUSTOMS Notchback looked beautiful, so glad I was able to grab a shot as it was leaving.
This Rometsch Lawrence is always a popular car, a fully coachbuilt body and largely based on the Karmann Ghia.
After the trophies I made my way outside to catch a few of the cars leaving. It was especially fun to watch some of the lower cars try and get out and scrape along the cobbled road.
…or in James’ case, be pushed out…
Although trailered to the show, Pipey couldn’t resist a blast or two around the block, what a noise!
Although I’ve not been to many air-cooled events this year, I’d like to try and do more in 2015 as this was an incredible day out, the standard of cars completely blew my mind, along with the epic venue – which I imagine will be difficult to top for next year. Props to DTA for the smooth running and working alongside a closed city centre, you guys did good. Not forgetting everyone that sponsored and played a part in the event, the trophies all looked amazing and are unlike anything I’ve ever seen at our usual car shows. This seems a fantastic community and I was glad to have observed it for a day! Bring on the new year and more events.