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.
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