After seeing all the fantastic vehicles in the camping areas and then the amazing Grundmann Collection, it was probably a good time to actually go and check out the main show event of Hessisch Oldendorf HO22 now! Waking to another glorious hot sunny morning, I arranged to meet Caroline and Adam for the short drive down from the camping area to the town centre in our campers.
At H017, buses were parked in and around the town centre’s main streets. This year, it seemed that all the buses were getting put together in a parking area just off the main city centre. The town centre area must be for Beetles this time around I guess? So once we had parked up, it was time for a quick breakfast brew before heading off to go explore the show.
A big generalisation I know, but it sometimes feels that the UK is more bus obsessed, whilst there seems to be more focus on Beetles in mainland Europe. Either way, events like this really bring together an amazing variety of great vehicles. After the one-year postponement because of the covid-19 pandemic, it was great to have a show like H022 on again after all the turmoil of the last couple of years.
As usual, there was plenty to see. From concourse to daily use, there was a huge range of air-cooled vehicles on display. You’d be hard-pressed not to find something that you didn’t like. That’s another good reason to go to shows in Europe or overseas. You get to see vehicles you don’t normally get to see in your home country.
It is easy to forget, that when new, these vehicles were introduced to both the public and commercial sectors. As such, they were used for all manner of everyday work purposes of the time, as well as being used as regular family vehicles. Much like today’s lorries and vans, we see in everyday use delivering and transporting goods or services, back in the day, these commercial workhorses carried out a similar range of functions. They were deployed to the Police, ambulance and fire services. Then of course there were more niche applications like sales or promotional vehicles, as well as this amazing single cab adaptation for use in the building industry.
It was great to see some examples of this commercial heritage. Amazing to see them on display. Helps give a better perspective of the range of tasks they were used for. Rather than being seen solely as cool retro camper vans, these worked hard for their living!
It was also great to see a lineup of amazing-looking high-top buses. Pretty hard to come by these days, these are ace-looking vans. Lots get converted to campers, ice cream or coffee sales vans these days. You can see the obvious attraction. Being able to stand up inside must be a massive plus! I reckon made into a camper, it would be a tough choice between a high top and a kool VW Kemperink camper for me!
From the hardworking commercial buses, you turn a corner and see a stunning Westfalia camper all dressed up for the show. What a beautiful interior with so many clever little details and features. Goes to show this was an incredible golden period of vehicle design for Volkswagen.
In the Hessisch town centre, there was a great collection of some of the original Beetles that were used in classic Herbie movies. Note the one in the middle where the normal rear-mounted air-cooled engine is in the front. I’m assuming that this one’s speciality was being used in film sequences that showed the beetle driving full speed in reverse? I remember seeing a cool mechanically animated Herbie bug at Ninove a few years ago. Not sure how original it was, but it looked great!
The classic air-cooled VW shares some similarities with early air-cooled Porsches, to the extent that some engines could be used in either. However, with this particular example, it looked like some more serious engineering was required to make this installation work.
However much I enjoy seeing great vintage VWs, I loved spotting this stunning Citroën Décapotable Cabriolet d’Usine (factory convertible) parked up near the swap meet area. Such a beautifully styled car. These were built by French coachbuilder Henri Chapron for the Citroën dealers between 1958 and 1973. It was a pretty expensive car at the time (not cheap now either!) and only 1,365 were sold, so a pretty rare and beautiful car all around. Perfect summer cruising car!
Thirsty and hungry work checking out all the incredible vehicles on display at HO22. So time to wander back into the town centre for a break and a bite to eat. However, even just sitting down for a snack, you are still surrounded by some stunning cars. You can rest your feet, but not your eyes!
Loved seeing this battered-looking barndoor bus with rare rear windup side windows. Stunning colours and textures from the aged and distressed paintwork and exposed surface rusted metal. An original survivor bus that has been lovingly put back on the road again. I know there will be those that would want to fully restore and paint it. For me, it was just perfect as it is!
A pretty full-on day, but there was just so much to try and see! Good job there is still another day to go back to try and take some more in. On the way back to the campsite, we decided to stop off for a three-pack of ice cream from the local supermarket. Absolute bliss on such a hot summer’s day! We came out to see a schwimmwagen parked up in the car park. Not something you see out shopping every day – it has to be Hessisch HO22!
Once I’d arrived back at the campsite, it was the perfect time for a refreshing cool shower before a beer and a chance to relax and take the day’s experiences in… feel free to subscribe, as there’s still more to come!