An estimated 30 vintage Volkswagens, their owners, families, friends, kids and dogs, took a cruise from Kihei to Lahaina on Sunday, April 27, and the Maui Weekly went along for the ride.
The group assembled at 8:30 a.m. at the Lipoa Center parking lot to talk story and to ogle each other's wheels. It seems everybody has a VW story and is more than to happy to share it.
There were classic bugs restored, modified, lowered, tricked out with oversized mufflers and extended wheels. There were classic campers from the '60s with the seat that makes into a bed and the tiny fridge--long a favorite of surfers, hippies and others living on the road. There was even one of the older models with the front windshields that tilt up and out, providing a nice direct breeze along the way. This one sported a couple of hula dance bobble heads on the dash.
Participants drove Ghia's and buggies. Some of them were mighty fine with pearlized paint jobs, two-tone interiors, sun roofs and even a few with the old green vintage Hawai'i plates or 1950s Flying Red Horse metal "Drive Safely" ornament mounted on the rear. Some like Robert Chavez of Kihei, driving a 1966 double cab truck-style VW, had "restored everything right down to the bare metal."
Leading the parade was Brandon Sylva from Maui Auto Parts in Wailuku, driving a shiny black classic bug. Farther back in the line was your Maui Weekly contingent, riding in a cream-colored 1971 model with its original engine, plenty of rust on the body and a pidgin sticker on the dash from the local VW mechanic Alfred "Big Al" Gouveia Jr., giving instruction for gear use on the air-cooled engine. The legendary mechanic recently passed away, but is missed and was fondly remembered by all.
The sound as we departed was like that of a thousand eggbeaters in unison.
As the parade drove down South Kihei Road, there were waves, smiles and stares and plenty of cameras recording the event. This scene was repeated with even more enthusiasm by those who saw the caravan on Front Street in Lahaina.
The event ended at the Lahaina Gateway Center, where there was more conversation as the cars made a colorful display lined up against the back row of the parking lot.
According to Hermaine and Kimo Souza, who help organize the events, the VW group is an informal gathering of car buffs who enjoy getting together and showing off their vehicles, and trading information and knowledge.
The cruises take place roughly on a quarterly basis, and those who would like to be notified are encouraged to email them or send a message via Facebook. Reach "Hermaine "N Sometimes Kimo Souza" on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hermaine.souza?fref=ts. Or contact them by email at KiheiSouzas@aol.com.
"If you're a VW owner," said Kimo, "just come down and enjoy good people who like the same thing."
View all the cars in the Sunday run at vimeo.com/93123856.