cool vintage air cooled VW’s everywhere you look

Barndoors and BBQ’s, what’s not to like…

Barndoor Buses and BBQ’s, what’s not to like…

Nice to wake up on the first day of my mini road trip with the sun shining, maybe it’s time to go see some Barndoor buses today! But first things first, time to open the cargo doors, let the sunshine in and get some breakfast sorted. Having allowed an extra day to get there, it’s nice not to have to rush anywhere first thing. So after breakfast, it was nice to have a leisurely walk around Grobbendonk and check out the area and the local food shops.

enjoying the sunshine and some AeroPress coffee time
enjoying the sunshine and some AeroPress coffee time

Today I will be leaving Belgium and heading to the Netherlands. In mainland Europe, changing country is often not such a big deal and can sometimes happen without you really noticing! So rather than taking the more direct motorway route to today’s destination, I decided to take the ‘road less travelled’ and take in more of the local scenery en-route. It always makes for a much more interesting journey! 🙂

taking the road less travelled to the Netherlands has its advantages
taking the road less travelled to the Netherlands has its advantages

Coming from the UK on the trip over, I was wondering why is the Netherlands sometimes called Holland and vice-versa? Then, of course, why is the language called Dutch. What gives with all of these different names? Funny you should be thinking that…

Evam Classic Open-house & BBQ – a great way to kick off the pre-show!

So today was split into travelling to two destinations. From 14.00 – 19.00 o’clock there will be an ‘Open-house and BBQ’ at Klassic Fab and Evam Classic, the European importer of the funky green panels in Woerden, the Netherlands where people going to the Ben Pon show were invited to visit. A BBQ and Barndoor buses? I didn’t need to be asked twice!

Before heading off, I found out my friend Caroline (and Adam) of rainy day cake escape fame from Hessisch Oldendorf HO17 will be also be going to Ben Pon. So we arranged to catch up at the BBQ before heading off to the 2nd European Barndoor Gathering at Wagenwerkplaats in Amersfoort. I was going to ask if Adam had once again brought cake supplies, but thought that I might be pushing my luck the second time around!

cake stop escape from the rain in a cool 1955 Palm Green/Sand Green bus
cake stop escape from the rain in a cool 1955 Palm Green/Sand Green bus

They had taken the overnight ferry over to Amsterdam to do some sightseeing first. As usual, I suspect there will be a fairly strong contingent of buses coming over from the UK to the event! The European VW shows (like Ninove and Hessisch Oldendorf etc.) are pretty popular events with a proportion of the UK air cooled fans. They really offer something quite different to the vast majority of shows in the UK, and this one especially will be extremely popular with the UK #BarndoorMafia

the Evam Classic crew made us welcome and had drinks and BBQ all sorted
the Evam Classic crew made us welcome and had drinks and BBQ all sorted

It was great that the crew of Evam Classic had put this on. So when I arrived in the afternoon, they had drinks and BBQ all sorted. It was interesting to have a quick look at their workshop (with various buses and projects for sale) as well as grab a drink and a burger.

always a sucker for a cool crew cab
always a sucker for a cool crew cab

Seemed like this was quite a popular stop off point, as already there were plenty of interesting air cooled vehicles to look at parked in and around their workshop facility.

loving the Honda Mini Trail bike
loving the Honda Mini Trail bike

It was like an automotive Hors d’oeuvre before the main event Amersfoort! It was nice to have a wander around and get a flavour of what was undoubtedly to come…

a seriously tough looking barndoor bus
a seriously tough looking barndoor bus

Already there were some very cool buses that had turned up. The hope was that there would be over one hundred Barndoor buses specifically gathered together at the event. Looks like this will be quite some gathering! 🙂

patina aplenty on this slammed grey and white barndoor
patina aplenty on this slammed grey and white barndoor

Being the older sibling/relative of my bus, it was interesting to see the differences that exist and how the design was developed and evolved from the Barndoor era buses (made between 1949 – March 1955). Just look at the über cool simplicity of a Barndoor bus dash – pure design minimalism!

the über cool simplicity of a Barndoor bus dash
the über cool simplicity of a Barndoor bus dash

This has got to be one of my (surprisingly to me) favourite colour combos, L 76 brown beige over L 75 light beige. I suspect the ‘Cosmic’ style wheels are replicas of the originals, but still, how cool is this! 🙂 Imagine it on the original 16″ steel wheels…

one badass barndoor bus that ticks all the boxes
one badass barndoor bus that ticks all the boxes

OK, so I suspect this is not a stock engine in the back of this particular barndoor bus, but who doesn’t like a bit of carbon fibre shroud action with their Porsche cooling fan and twin carbs! Broom broom!

I suspect this is not a stock engine in the back of the bus!
I suspect this is not a stock engine in the back of the bus!

Looks like this show might involve lots of picture taking. Sorry, not sorry!

OK, time to push on to Ben Pon…

Having caught up with Caroline and Adam at the BBQ, we decided that after some picture-taking and once we had had our fill, it was time to push on to the main show at Amersfoort. Adam offered to lead, so I had a vintage semaphore 1955 Palm Green/Sand Green sat nav for the remaining part of the journey! 🙂

following the semaphored directions of my friends 1955 Palm Green/Sand Green – no sat nav required!
following the semaphore directions of my friends 1955 Palm Green/Sand Green – no sat nav required!

The remainder of the journey to Amersfoort didn’t take too long and we actually arrived a bit early so were directed to a pre-arrival holding car park until the gates were officially opened.

waiting to get in… not your usual car park candidates
waiting to get in… not your usual car park candidates

Clearly, this was turning out to be quite a collection of not your usual Friday night car park candidates. A really interesting selection of vehicles had begun to turn up…

Once we were let into the grounds, there was a bit of initial confusion as to where people would be camping as another event (a wedding) was taking place and was still using the prime camping area. Apparently, they were not so keen on a whole bunch of vintage air-cooled VW vehicles photobombing their wedding photos!

if you don’t have a camper, there’s always room up top
if you don’t have a camper, there’s always room up top

So everyone was initially ushered into the overspill camping area for the night. No major issues as there seemed to be plenty of room for everyone to fit without issue.

barndoor buses blending in with the environment
barndoor buses blending in with the environment

As everyone drove in and pitched up, it was quite an amazing view seeing the variety of vehicles that were turning up. Caroline and Adam were reserving spots for a couple of other friends in buses coming from the UK and Germany as part of the Split Screen Van Club (SSVC) and invited me to join their little group for the weekend, which was nice! 🙂 As a bit of a lapsed member, I’m sure I might get a bit of teasing over the weekend about renewing my membership!

cool vintage air cooled VW’s everywhere you look
cool vintage air-cooled VW’s everywhere you look

This was promising to be quite a show, really looking forward to what the next couple of days has in store…

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