HomeMediaAir-Cooled Arizona unites VW, Porsche adherents

Air-Cooled Arizona unites VW, Porsche adherents


A nicely decked-out Volkswagen Karman-Ghia nestled alongside a Porsche 911 ‘outlaw’ | Bob Golfen photos
A nicely decked-out Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia nestled alongside a Porsche 911 ‘outlaw’ | Bob Golfen photos

Air-cooled cars are mostly things of the past, but there are some vintage ones from Germany that are among the most popular of all collector cars: Volkswagens and Porsches.

Phoenix collector Erik Black tinkers with both rear-engine VWs and older Porsches. He belongs to clubs and goes to events that generally break down into either VW people or Porsche people, but rarely both.

So he came up with the idea of creating a monthly gathering to bring together the thousands of Phoenix-area folks who are into Beetles, buses and other older VWs along with those who drive the original Porsche 356s and air-cooled 911s.

Erik Black’s old VW pickup with the faded lettering of a Cottonwood, Arizona, furniture store
Erik Black’s old VW pickup stills wears  the faded lettering of a Cottonwood, Arizona, furniture store

Black created Air Cooled Arizona using the subhead “VW and Porsche People Unite,” and the first monthly chapter meeting was held last Sunday in the parking lot of an upscale shopping center in central Phoenix. The plan is to meet on the second Sunday of every month.

“I had decided that it was time to unify the air-cooled German car enthusiasts together,” Black said. “It’s not whether you may own a VW or a Porsche, there is just a shared appreciation of each between their owners.  So much has been done to preserve these cars, and the stories each owner shares is different yet all so similar. It’s the perfect melding of cars and people that transcends all generations.

“This group is diverse, down-to-earth, non-pretentious people who have a deep appreciation for these great cars that all share similar characteristics as they were all created and designed from similar cloth.”

At the inaugural get together, there was a strong contingent of VW microbuses and pickup-truck variants – Black drove his all-original ’60s VW pickup that still bears the faded lettering of the Cottonwood, Arizona, furniture store that once owned it – along with several Beetles and Karmann-Ghia sports cars. They were intermingled with Porsche 356 coupes and convertibles, 911s and 912s, and a hand-crafted replica of a Porsche 550 race car, built by its owner in his garage.

About 30 cars attended. Black expects attendance to grow incrementally in the coming months as the word gets out.

“Many people sent me messages letting me know that they are anxious to attend next month’s gathering, and I can’t wait to see how this grows and the word continues to spread as the Phoenix weather only becomes more beautiful in our winter months,” he said. “I believe we could easily attract over 100 cars.”

Photos by Bob Golfen 

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.
  1. Thank You for taking time to cover this Very Cool Event (Bob Golfen) !!!! The Idea for such a Gathering has been on Erik Black”s mind for more than just a little while .. It brought together a wonderful mix of like minded , Maniacal People who Live & Love these Quirky and in some minds not so Beautiful Automotive Art !!!!! Most of these Misfits toil with their own hands to keep their Passion Alive !!!!! Thank You Dr. PORSCHE for These Beautiful Creations !!!!!!!!! and Thank You Erik Black for planning this MONTHLY Classic Event !!!!!!!!!! John Young

  2. Everybody can fall in love with this Porsche car. What a car this is? I think these old cars are the gold one. Everybody wants this. They might have gone from our surroundings today but still haunting in our mind frequently. More than this still if anybody have this car, then he/she is so lucky. I would again like to test drive one of these and if possible would like to have one. These are the perfect cars without much fault like today’s modern cars. Before some week I was in Highland Park and my 2 years old Porsche started making some noise inside the hood while driving. Then I tried to fix up it myself but failed then I rushed to the most trusted Porsche repairing center in Highland Park. Mechanics there, are very prompt and fixed up the issue in much less time than what I thought with reasonable price.

  3. I don’t know how i stumbled across this article but I am glad I did. We visit our condo in Scottsdale when we can and have our “last of the great air cooled Porsches” 993 stored there. It is one of the best part of our trips being able to drive that masterpiece of a machine. I will do my best to keep track of this group and hopefully i will be there on a second Sunday in the near future. If you have a website or place where I can follow you, I would like to know where it is. [email protected]

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