VW bus lovers flock to national convention in Michigan

. July 3, 2014.
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by Jan Hoffbauer

Rick Cramer, of Hudson, MI, wanted to invite his Volkswagen friends to his hometown. He did that by working with Tom Siligato, also from Michigan, to bring the National Volkswagen Camper meeting to Hudson. People flew from as far away as Florida and one couple drove their VW from Atlanta, GA, to attend the weekend gathering, held June 7 and 8. Jay Burton, who belongs to the Greater Toledo VW Club and to the Michigan club, said the Toledo group meets once a month and plans events. He has belonged to the club since 1998 and has been a board member for seven years. Sam Hartford, of Oregon, Ohio, said he joined the Ohio VW club this year. “I have a 1974 VW Super Beetle,” he said. “Mine is still in pieces. I have always loved cars. The VWs are easy to work with.” Nate Gerding, from Toledo, has a 2012 Turbo Beetle. He said he enjoys the conventions because he has always liked classic cars. Paul and Phyllis Vizcarra, of Maumee, own a 1964 Bug they call Herbie, after the Love Bug star. Phyllis says, “I like the camaraderie, the fun, the easygoing group, the age difference, and that the group takes some kind of a trip once a month.” Shell Tomlin, from Aurora, IL, has been president of the national group for more than 30 years. He also belongs to the VW Club of America. “The group started in 1955,” he said. “In 1979, they stopped making the air-cooled engine and started making the water-cooled one.” Those who attended the convention said they were impressed with Hudson, a city of about 2,300 people, 50 miles northwest of Toledo, and how welcoming the people are. Many of them camped in the park. Most of them ate their meals at Rumors Restaurant or at the park. There was entertainment and a field trip to the Buffalo Ranch, in Hanover, to feed buffalo. Cramer said he was grateful for those who sponsored the event, including State of Mind Customs, Airhead Parts, Karman Ghia Parts & Restoration, and Rumors Restaurant. Another club member, Maurice Goldstein, from Atlanta, has a 2013 Jetta Sports Wagon. He has been a member of the national group since 1962, and has traveled to Europe for an international VW meeting. Jim and Barb Weiderman, of Sturgis, MI, have a 1970 VW Westfalia Camper. Jim built a battery-powered VW mini-bus for Barb to ride in. He also bought a small VW that was an RC promotional vehicle, and built trailers for both pieces. Their son, Matt, who owns Weiderman Motorsports in Sturgis painted all three of the VWs. Among the national convention highlights were a parade and a craft show that included VW items and assortments of jewelry, purses and artworks with VW or 1960s themes.

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