If you ask most VW owners what they are doing the second weekend of June, they will turn their head, laugh and say Prado, duh! The Blackstar Campout hosted by Vintage Transporter Owners is shaping up to be one of the biggest and best VW shows that So Cal has to offer! Taking place at El Prado Regional Park in Chino, CA campers come as early as Wednesday to camp hang out and have games and events leading up to the show on Sunday. This was our third year being a part of this amazing experience. With each year we see it get much bigger and everyone arrives more and more prepared. The atmosphere alone is unlike any other. Seeing so many aircooled Volkswagens in one place along with all the tents, trailers and barbecues makes for quite a blast from the past. Attending this camp out is the closest that i have ever felt to actually being in the 1970s.
One of the coolest parts of a gathering this size, is being able to see all the unique touches that each individual adds to their ride. It's always interesting to see all the different varieties of the same model cars. Being an aircooled gathering, it limits the crowd to a more select vehicle type leaving you with Volkswagens mostly from the 50's, 60's and 70's, which were built with a rear engine design using a large fan to cool the oil as you drive rather than a radiator that would have water passing through chambers of the engine. The simplistic yet unique design of these cars is a huge part of what brings this community so close together.
The most commonly seen and known Volkswagen, probably in the world is the type 1, more often known as the beetle or bug. Most people who know the bug would also know that the baja version of this car is still the same chassis and typically the same body with fiberglass body panels and upgraded suspension components. This chassis also includes most Manx and other "kit" cars that are simply a bug chassis with a custom fiberglass shell installed. Lastly, while the lesser known Karmann Ghia(pictured above blue with black top) has a slightly different shaped chassis pan, it is still technically part of the type 1 family being that it uses the same front and rear end mechanical components.
Another iconic creation by Volkswagen, the Type 2, also known as the bus or van has a broad variety of different styles as well. The most significant change is made from 1967 to 1968 when they went from a split screen front windshield and V front lines to a single bay front window and more square front end. Aside from the changes made over the years, the bus also came in a variety of different body styles with different features.
The Type 3 is a chassis that Volkswagen began producing in the late 60's that added a nice spice to the aircooled line up. Sporting a sleek Porsche style front end, it came in three different varieties all with a pancake style rear engine maximizing compartment space. Sticking with the simple yet fitting names, the three styles were the Fastback with its sloped and sleek rear end, the Squareback station wagon, and the Notchback sedan.
Being able to spend an entire weekend at a car gathering is a unique experience in itself. Unlike a regular show, you have days instead of hours to check out all of the cars. This gives you a chance to get to know a lot of new people and the way they build their cars. The atmosphere is so relaxed, it makes for a super easy time to grab a beer and get lost in conversation for hours with someone you've never met before.
Overall, the VTO Blackstar Campout is an experience unlike any other. We always look forward to it, and with each year it continues to improve and exceed our expectations. Stay tuned for our article on the Power Wheels Downhill races that took place at the campground on Saturday, as well as the El Prado Show and Shine that took place on Sunday.
Tyler Martin // BKG Co Founder/Writer/Photographer
This week the BKG cruised to Chatsworth, CA for the #EURO17 annual European car show. This was our second year attending this show, both years at the same peaceful, picture friendly, grassy Schoolyard.
Aside from showcasing a broad selection of european cars, these guys also hold a killer raffle, giving away a wide variety of products including a set of wheels!
Strategically placed throughout the campus was a variety of different builds from familiar faces seen before, to some first time attendees. Photographers Shon and Stacey caught the action.
Of course set up would not be complete without a full detail, including the engine!
Porsche has always held a special place in our hearts with its beautiful sleek body lines, it is definitely one of those things that with more age, comes more beauty.
A familiar face just seen and written about at XS Carnight this year, was the gorgeous RHD w108 Mercedes laying out on the nice grass under the Califronia sun. Beside it sat its beloved older sibling, the fishtailed w111 looking as if it just rolled off the showroom floor 50 years later! quite a sight.
The show held quite a variety of European cars showing a spectacular transition between all the generations of each model built. From mk1 to mk7, aircooled to turbo diesel, The european car scene was represented from all sides!
BKG Crown Tee
Our first T shirt available to the public! With the BKG camber logo on the front left pocket and the bottle cap crown logo on the back. Available in sizes Small through XXL. Price includes shipping.
This past weekend the BKG cruised to Shoreline Park in Long Beach, CA for the 3rd annual XS Carnight Show and Shine. There is no better way to start the show season off than at this show. Each year it gets better and better, and this year definitely tops the charts with some of the craziest and sickest builds we have seen.
We rolled in to the venue and were assigned our usual parking right on the water. The weather was a prime overcast, perfect for shooting. After staging our cars and getting everything setup, we went and had a club lunch to pass the time before the show started.
To the side of the entrance was the main stage, surrounded by an array of RWB Porsche's. Each with unique colors and details, it was truly a sight to behold.
The first and probably my favorite piece of artistry in this area and possibly any area, was the Wagner Tuning Ford Stepside. Everything about this truck was perfection. From the amazing patina and powdercoated frame rails, to the air ride and deep wheels, there was not a detail missed. Even after all of these aspects, the one thing that sets this truck apart from the rest, and by far the coolest part is none of these things...
The guys over at Wagner went to the next level and stuffed a brand new V-6 Ecoboost engine in there. Huge things coming from this shop, it's no surprise that it took home a top 30 award.
This immaculate classic nissan skyline was definitely not your every day street build, this beast has some serious hours put in to creating one of the sickest skyline builds that I have seen.
As you approach the lighthouse, you find a group of cars overlooking the edge of the hill at the top of the park. 3 Point Social Club has a Collection of Classic Mercedes Benz builds that will literally take your breathe away.
There's always one that stands out different from the rest. The 72 250c makes its own statement being the only two door in the group. It has its own unique body lines as well as seamless front to rear windows. All tied together with a flossy black interior.
Going down the hill to the back side of the park you find a variety of different japanese builds. A bagged Miata and turbo Supra were among the top builds as you wrap around the back.
Continuing around the path you approach the far most corner of the park along the edge of the harbor, where you find the BKG posted up.
Nick and Dylan spent the last two days prior to XS finishing the installation of the Icewagn turbo setup. After countless hours the car was finally running, driving and ready to go. Everything seemed fine on the way to the show.
Continuing around the pathway down the final stretch find another selection of cars ranging from stanced cars, to mini trucks, all the way up to super cars.
The 90's were being represented hard by many Japanese makes. A widebody Rx-7 posted up right by the end as well as a clean NSX were among them.
Overall I would say that XS Carnight 3.0 was a huge success, and in many ways surpassed previous years. If you havent had a chance to make it out to this show yet, we very highly recommend it. We have shown only a fraction of the cars at the show, and there were hundreds of other awesome cars and we wish that we could show them all.
Tyler Martin - BKG Cofounder/Photographer/Designer/Writer
Dylan's love for bugs has been for as long as he could remember. It feels like yesterday when he told me that he wanted to start looking for his dream car. It was the beginning of summer 2013, and what was already off to a crazy start was about to get crazier. After a week of searching everywhere online, we came across an og looking 67 java green gem running and driving 65 miles away. The owner had no idea if it would survive that far of a drive back, but after a good look around the car and a quick test drive, Dylan knew this was the one. He gave me the look, we kept our game faces on, and made the deal that got the keys.
A few minutes later the reality sunk in that there was still a very long drive ahead, in a car that drives nothing like the Honda Accord driven there. After a quick pep talk, he hopped behind the wheel, and cruised on to the freeway. Following him in the Accord, he spent the first few minutes or so creepin' at around 50 mph, but then thats about all it took, he put this huge grin on his face, put his arm out the window, stepped on the gas and we were mobbin it all the way back. This is the day that the roots of the BKG were planted. The car itself was pretty beat, and needed maintenance as well as a lot of aesthetic work, but we didnt care. To us this car was the coolest thing ever and Dylan, TBone, and I would take turns driving it every chance we got.
Drop spindles, beam adjusters, and low profile tires on 15x4.5 stockies brought the front beam hovering over the ground, while 3.5 inch dropped atomwerks drop plates and a couple of torsion clicks made the rear fenders glide right over the freshly barreled 15x8 rear wheels.
At the same time all of the maintenance work was done with help from Vic Built, and after a couple months of work, the static sweeper was ready to hit the streets, very, very carefully. The car was so low, that it literally scraped everything including the natural crown of the road. It was quickly realized that shocks were going to be a necessity and some adjustments were needed. This was a very difficult stage to get to in general, being that there were very few examples to build off of and very limited information on the topic. Dylan then drove the car static for a while, although if you ask him about it, hell probably cringe thinking about all of the slams, scrapes, and smashes experienced from even the smallest of issues in the horribly messed up and endless construction that makes up So Cal roads.
We found that air shocks would be the most all around efficient for what we were trying to achieve, and with some modification we were able to mount the front and rear. For management, Dylan went with a 5 gallon aluminum tank, filled by two viair 444c compressors, and fill controlled by Airlift. Later down the line while on a cruise with a lot of other cars, a wheel bearing on the woahwgn seized up leading to snapped spindle and the drivers side front wheel flying down the street. This led to a 4 inch narrowed air beam, pie cut front beam raise, and front disc brakes.
Getting the drivetrain to where it is today, is a long, immersive story, but I'll stick to the key details. It began with a 1600cc single port engine, with a stock transmission. When the car was still static we decided to make the 60 mile trip out to fontana for Bug-o-rama. Everything was going fine for the first part of the drive, however things started getting interesting the second half. First the car died out after both rubber manifold bushings blew out at the same time. Determined to get to the show, we duct taped the manifold together and limped on. Eight miles out from the show, the car began decelerating to a complete stop.
Prior to making the furthest drive yet, 200 miles to Solvang for the Meet in the middle, Dylan new it was time to kick the old single port. The oil spewing, compression losing, busted and rusted boxer engine was well passed its time. Out with the old, and in with the Vicbuilt High Rev 1776cc powerplant. At the same time we did a minor transmission raise to get the most engine clearance.
Overall each piece of the car has its own unique memory that can be reminisced upon just by simply looking at the car. With so much age, comes so much character. The Woahwgn is a never ending work in progress that chooses what it wants as it goes. To Dylan it is a part of his family that he doesnt picture himself without.
Tyler Martin - BKG Cofounder/Photographer/Designer/Writer