Catching the VW bug

Having spent his childhood trundling around in his dad’s custom built Kemperink splittie, 48 year-old Dutchman Eric caught the bug himself – literally, and went on to own an impressive 10 Beetles of his own before finally buying his own Bay window as well. This is his story…

Eric’s early capers with VWs certainly started innocently enough. “During the late seventies and early eighties, Beetles weren’t worth much and lots were used for autocross here in Holland, which I took part in. That’s why there’s so few of them around today and why they are so expensive!,” explains Eric.

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Eric learnt to drive in a Bay window bus at the age of 12 and by the time he was 14, he had his first Beetle – and practiced his driving skills by hooning around in a field nearby. Like most of us, a certain white Beetle with a stripe over the roof served as inspiration. “I got my love of Bugs by watching Herbie films,” said Eric.

Eric’s dad had several Type 2s and built an extended and raised Kemperink Splittie in which, from the age of just 2, the little blonde-haired Eric enjoyed many a sunny summer holiday.

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Later on, the cabin from a newer Bay window was grafted on to take advantage of dual circuit braking and hollow tubes were welded on underneath which served as gas cylinders. Another interesting modification was the addition of iron framework on the underside which served as a handy rack for water skis.

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The van was used to travel the length and breadth of Europe, but such expeditions weren’t without their mechanical hiccups, and more often than not Eric’s dad carried out repairs by the roadside. One such incident even involved taking the engine out!

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Inevitably, other buses came and went during Eric’s childhood, including a pickup, with his dad carrying out all the necessary maintenance and repair work.

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All of this exposure to VWs from an early age obviously rubbed off big time and today, Eric owns a 1968 Beetle convertible along with a T2 Riviera camper from the same era. We’re not sure if his dad’s still around to witness the influence his passion for VWs obviously had on his son, but either way he’d certainly be impressed!

If you’ve got a similar story, tell us about it!

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage

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