Friday, October 14, 2011

VW Day / Transporterfest, Brookline, MA

We enjoyed an unseasonably warm and sunny fall day at the VW Day / Transporterfest, held on the grounds of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. This was the first time we’d ever been to a car show, let alone participated in one. I can’t say that we had the nicest or most interesting Vanagon on the lot, but it was certainly not the ugliest. Our tile floor, clean and spacious interior, and sparkling paint job got some nice compliments.

Wild creations and creative transformations intermingled with classics restored to immaculate, original condition. One memorable VW was a 70s Bug converted into a flatbed truck that hauled around a mini-Bug go-kart. There was only one "Thing" at the event; hopefully he took home the prize in that category. Gorgeous camper interiors were around every corner. Stylish Karmann Ghias occupied the center of the lawn, surrounded by Bugs, Buses, Transporters, and Dune Buggies in all directions.

Freshly waxed and buffed split-window buses restored to original glory were parked adjacent to their 50-year-old brethren, whose rusty patinas invoked a history of countless adventures.

I must admit, we were a bit jealous of the Vanagons with various engine conversions. The Westy parked in front of us, owned by a VW mechanic from NY, was equipped with a beautiful Subaru engine from a late-model Forester. Next to us, the Syncro from Lein’s Auto in nearby Somerville, MA was running a Passat VR6. Another boasted a VW TDI. There were a couple Zetec conversions too. We don’t have the time or money for an engine upgrade any time soon, but the dream is very much alive.
The auto museum itself had an amazingly diverse collection of cars, from the earliest electric “horseless carriages” to a $450,000 Mercedes SLR McLaren. I also enjoyed their collections of vintage bicycles, which included an assortment of the dangerous high wheeling Penny-farthings and a later generation of bicycle known as “Boneshakers.” With a wrought-iron frame and wooden wheels encased in wrought-iron “tires,” it's pretty clear where the direct-drive boneshaker gets its name.

If you’re in the area, the museum and the surrounding Larz Anderson Park are definitely worth a visit. Dog-friendly!


  1. Anyone successfully install AC into a 20 year old Westy?

  2. Good question! We actually chatted with a couple who also owned a 1990 Multivan and they said that their AC worked amazingly. Prior to this, I had only heard that ACs in these Vanagons, even when functioning at 100%, were mediocre at best. So I'm not sure what to think now. I suppose a first step is diagnosing how badly ours is broken (beyond the missing belt) and whether it can be fixed or if it needs to be replaced. We really could have used some AC on the summer trip...