Karachi Volkswagen show attracts many vehicles and fans

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Various Volkswagen models on display at the carnival on Sunday. — Photos by writer
Various Volkswagen models on display at the carnival on Sunday. — Photos by writer

KARACHI: One doesn’t see too many of them out on the roads any longer, but most Beetles as well as a few other Volkswagen vehicles, including the Microbus, collected together at the 3rd Annual Volkswagen Car Show organised by the Volkswagen Club of Pakistan and Motorheads Pak­istan at the Forum Mall here on Sunday.

“It may seem that the German folks’ wagon, designed by none other than Hitler himself, has not changed in appearance all these years but there is in fact a marked difference between its various models,” said Zieshan Mairaj, a participant, who had come with his 1300 model of 1971/72 that he had inherited from an uncle and painted in Berlin camouflage colours.

The VW monogram missing from the car’s bonnet he had kept hidden away in the safety of his shirt pocket. “I don’t want anyone pocketing it when I’m looking away,” he remarked in jest.

The car, according to the owner, who possessed a deep knowledge of the Beetle, went though several changes, though not so visible, since its creation during World War II. Mr Mairaj pointed out the change in suspension from the original torsion bars, the change in its windows and windscreens, dashboards, etc.

“Innovations were made as technology changed. In the beginning it had a 900cc or 25 horsepower engine with a six volt battery and Germany exported some two million of those after WWII. It was a hit of course and its 1303 model was still being manufactured in Brazil and Mexico until 2007. The parts are also available from these countries and Argentina,” he said, adding that the car is a low-maintenance vehicle and easily affordable, too.

Another owner, Asif Khan, who had come with his matte black 1970 Volkswagen 1500 said that he had been in love with the Beetle ever since he was a teenager, who taught himself to drive it in 1983. “I taught myself how to drive my father’s 1969 Deluxe model and the first car I bought myself in 1995 was also a Beetle, a 1974 1200cc model,” he said.

The car show included the Microbus, the VW jeep and some altered models such as convertibles or even a tricycle mix with a dune buggy. While Mohsin Ikram, the organiser, sadly said that he had disposed of his beautiful Microbus that would accompany them as a mechanical support vehicle during the Vintage and Classic Car rallies, Mohammad Saleem, owner of the trike, was proud to show off his piece of work.

He said he owns a car workshop in Shadman, where he alters car lengths, etc, and it just occurred to him one day to take apart his 1965 1300cc Beetle to create a new upgraded 1600cc set of wheels, he has now named the ‘Foxy Triangle’. “I even entered it in the cars category in the Vision Gawadar rally a few years ago and it came first!” he said beaming.

Meanwhile, Iqbal Sulaiman, the owner of a very famous Volkswagen motor parts shop, Cheap Autos, located in the Plaza area on M.A. Jinnah Road was also present on the occasion. There had been rumours that his shop had closed down, but he clarified that the shop was still very much around.

“My brother and I had two adjoining shops of which he owned the front shop. We had some differences after which we parted ways and he sold his shop. But my shop is still there behind his old shop,” the shop owner said. When asked why his shop only dealt in Volkswagen parts, the elderly gentleman smiled and said: “As a young boy when I was apprenticing in a car garage during the 1950s and 60s, everyone here owned Volkswagen cars and the workshop where I worked was also a Volkswagen workshop. So that is all I know.”

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2015

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