YOU know the car; you know the television commercial but the fellow driving ... nuh, it just isn't coming to you.
Andy Roberts, owner of Charlestown's Gentlemen's Outfitters clothing store and former Newcastle United soccer star, gets that a lot.
It is not too often that a "personality" car is better known than its "personality" driver but when it comes to the beautifully restored and carefully customised Volkswagen Samba microbus that is regularly parked outside the shop and which is also the star of a television commercial then Andy is happy to play second fiddle.
Andy is what you might call a super-duper mega-enthusiast, a Volkswagen nut with a 10-car (and growing) collection of aged, sometimes rare and generally gorgeous Volkswagen Beetles and microbuses, a man who runs a Volkswagen show at his home every two years to raise money for charity.
But as it is for all of us, the love affair had to start somewhere. Klosters spent time with Andy at the home he calls ‘VW HQ' to talk about his cars.
MY FIRST LOVE
"It was a Volkswagen of course, but I only owned it for one day. My parents saw it and told me to go and buy ‘something sensible'. I was gutted.
"I was only 18 or 19 and I saw this 1972 Beetle on Maitland Road with a ‘For Sale' sign on it. It had a Carrera body kit on it with a Porsche-style rear wing and everything and I just had to have it.
"After I returned the VW and got my money back I bought a Datsun 200B SX, a very sensible car.
BABY, WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO?
"I had the ‘Datto' for about five years and put 100,000 or more kilometres on it. It was my daily drive and it ran faultlessly.
"I eventually traded it on a Porsche 924 which was cursed. The engine blew-up six months after I bought it!"
On 11 October 1953, the first ever Volkswagen Beetle arrived in Australia. What better way to pay tribute to a true legend than to launch a limited edition range in its honour.
"A Mercedes-Benz Vito van, the Gentlemen's Outfitters work van. I've had it for about 10 years and it has 250,000 kilometres on the clock.
"It has been trouble-free for all that time, but I'll be trading it in soon – on a new Volkswagen Transporter.
"When it comes to needing a family car, well, I've got three Transporters and several Beetles here."
"I'm always looking to improve the collection, and I'd like to go after a first-generation Kombi that is earlier than the ones I already own.
"Or maybe a rare Hebmuller 2+2 convertible (only 696 were built from 1949 and 1953 before fire destroyed the factory).
"If we're talking sports car then it has to be a Porsche 911. I think a 911 GT3 would be the thing to have."
The Volkswagen obsession is something that Andy shares with one of his staff at his Gentlemen's Outfitters store in Charlestown. Cameron Jordan owns a, "1962 and a half Volkswagen Beetle, Australian-built and dressed as Herbie."
The pair being Beetle nuts, we took one of the final Beetles up the hill to show them. Cameron promptly had 'Herbie' parked behind 'Number 27' (27 of 53 - the final edition) for some selfies.
So can Andy describe the obsession and his thoughts on the end of an era with the last of the Classic VW Beetle?
"I love it, they couldn’t go out in a better way than to celebrate making Beetles since 1946. They’re iconic and just part of our lives,"
"I think sometimes people have a love/hate relationship with the old Beetles but they grow on you. I’ve had between 30 - 40 Volkswagens and I currently own 10 but I’m always looking for new additions. I have a 1951 VW so I’ll have to have one of these to have the first and the last Beetles."
"Everyone has a Volkswagen story whether they had one or their mum or dad had one. And look at this - it’s turning heads, everyone loves it."
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