Established in 1984 by a local family, the Pells, who ran a VW workshop, the event has grown to become the biggest VW get-together in the country, and this year celebrated its 30th year of existence and 20th event overall.
Some enthusiasts travel considerable distances – from Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth – to arrive at Valla Beach Resort for a few days of cruising, thinking about, talking about, and enjoying a few beers around, Vee Dubs.
It’s hard to think of any other marque that offers such a breadth of models to begin with, nor the variety of build styles to progress with. You can rat-look, Cal-look, German-look, resto-rod, resto-Cal, Volks-rod or simply restore just about any VW and have a properly themed, instantly recognisable streeter.
VW owners seem to be the most laidback, least bitchy, most accommodating, helpful and friendly group of car nuts, too. There are one or two exceptions – there always is – but generally you can park an early-50s restored Beetle owned by a doctor or judge or police sergeant next to a daggy 1970s beater driven by a 20-something uni student – or a clichéd hippy chick in a Kombi – and everyone will get on just fine. Barriers tumble and false personalities crumble with VW fans.
The pinnacle of the event is the Saturday morning cruise and street parade to Nambucca Heads. The cops and SES close the roads for a while so around 600 VWs can conga-line the eight or 10 kays from the Valla Beach Resort to the centre of Nambucca Heads. There, the main street is stuffed with about a mile’s worth of anything and everything with a VW badge, from uber-rare stuff like Country Buggies to the de rigueur split-screen Kombis. If you get to see even half what’s there in the scheduled three hours you’re doing better than most.
Far less hectic – thankfully, as many are carrying tender temples after Saturday night’s beers at the bistro – is Sunday’s show ’n’ shine. It’s an all-day thing, and like the street class show at Summernats, you need all that time to really look around.
Still, by mid-afternoon many VWs are packed and hugs and handshakes given as people hit the road, already looking forward to the next ‘Nambucca’.