Cars generally don’t excite me and the prospect of going to a motor museum really doesn’t appeal to me either. However, I discovered that the Shepparton Motor Museum was holding a special Volkswagen exhibition during our weekend away to the region and I immediately became excited.
You see, I may not be a car girl but I am definitely a vee-dub girl. My very first car was a Volkswagen bug. He was a 1300 Deluxe model from 1967 which made him a classic. He was beige in colour, featured cherry-coloured couch-like seats and beautiful, shiny chrome bumpers.
I say “he” because he had lots of personality and was fondly called Bertie Beetle. My motoring mate Bertie and I covered many kilometres together and we went everywhere. He was fun to drive and a novelty on the road for passers-by. It was a sad day when I had to give Bertie up. He was dying a slow death – failing brakes, broken clutch and sluggish engine – so my dad reluctantly convinced me to pass him on to someone who would use him for spare parts. If only I had enough money at the time to restore Bertie and save his life.
Nowadays, I like to admire bugs from afar and Shepparton Motor Museum’s VW exhibition was the perfect opportunity for more bug-spotting. It also meant my husband could check out the museum’s 70 classic, vintage and veteran cars and motorbikes and motoring memorabilia. It was a win-win situation for all involved.
I enjoyed walking through Volkswagen’s motoring history within this exhibition. There was a 1982 Avanti Formula Vee (apparently there are only ten in the world) and a 2003 VW beetle convertible. There was even a 1987 dual cab kombi, a Brazilian import which had been boxed up and never driven, as well as a 1964 VW Karmann Ghea and 1972 Type 3 Frontback – deviations from the trademark beetle shape and style. There was also a rust-bucket of a thing, a kombi which was held together by steel wire, plus a kombi that had competed in desert-crossing races in Australia’s outback.
My favourite bug, hands-down, was a white VW bug that looked like Bertie. He was perfect – he sported the same bumper and seats as Bertie’s, yet he possessed his original side mirror (these models were only manufactured with one – on the driver’s side). While Bertie rests in peace, it’s assuring to see VW enthusiasts still breathing life into other bugs that have been saved from the scrap-heap.
Shepparton Motor Museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 4.30pm (closed Good Friday and Christmas Day). 7717 Goulburn Valley Highway, Kialla, Victoria 3631. Phone: 03 5823 5833. Admission: Adults $10, children under 16 $7, seniors $7, families $24.