It’s Always Convertible Weather
It’s seven degrees fahrenheit, a massive snowstorm just rolled up the entire east coast last night, and the wind is relentless. So, naturally, we called up our friend Henry, and asked him to bring out his VR6 swapped Volkswagen Cabby, and then put the top down.
The first thing he says is a nonplussed “Oh, I think I’m leaking oil”, then grabs a small speaker for some driving jams, checks for and subsequently shrugs off any concern for the leak, and pulls out of the garage for a day of driving and adventure. Considering the serious layering needed to combat the record setting cold, a small oil leak on a small German car is the least of our concerns this afternoon.
In violet metallic with a black cloth top, the look of the car is interesting but subtle, but as you walk closer, unique bits of character jump out at you. The roof rack on a convertible stands out, typically carrying a color matched, lowered Radio Flyer. Seats are Corbeau fixed-back buckets. Around the back side of the car are back are a pair of Hella Magicolor tail lamps in a light smoke finish, which have matching marker lights up front, alongside incredibly hard to find yellow fog light housings. Then you realize the car has been converted to right hand drive. A second glance out back, and a shaved MK3.5 Euro rear bumper stands out. With a US plate tub grafted in, no less. Once the hood is opened, or off as is typically the case during show season, you’re treated to one of the cleanest engine bays within twenty miles. You could eat a meal off this, and Henry would probably encourage you to do so for his own amusement. (Because you won’t, you don’t have the nerve. None of us would.)
While recalling the previous week’s events, I receive an email stuffed with details on the build. The phrase “Color matched door pulls” pop out at me. This stands as an example for the level of thematic detail on this assembly. MK3.5 dashboard, panels and rear seat adorn the interior in a sensible and neat update. The radio has been deleted, but the VR6 note is a suitable replacement for music on the road, if you were to ask any of us. Outside, the minimalist treatment has been applied anywhere that it makes sense. Antenna: shaved. Wipers and jets: gone. Door handles and mirrors are OEM parts from a VW Polo for that slimmed down feel. Not everything has been strictly removed: Textured fender flares contribute to the defining line around the body, which also includes perfectly maintained texture-topped bumpers and door trim.
In person, Henry’s the kind of guy that wants not just to take a picture of your car at an event, he also wants one with you in it, and to get to know you. What I’m saying is that Henry’s in the scene for the right reasons, and is setting a great example in doing so. The dude also sure knows what he likes, and it’s typically VW or Audi vehicles with some iteration of the VR6. Trust me on this. Oddly enough, we recently near-battled it out over an Audi A3 in an incredibly trimmed out variant with the 3.2 litre VR6 (I found myself the victor, somehow), meanwhile less than a week goes by and I receive the message that Henry has “settled” for a CC with the 3.6 litre variant. I suppose having seen what Henry has accomplished with various Volkswagens over the years, the bar for settling is higher than most others would place it.
Wheels are Borbet Type A’s in 17×7.5 wrapped in Yokohama S-Drive which stand out to remind the casual passerby that this convertible ain’t fucking around. Once started up, the exhaust note is a quick reminder that the VR6 is here, and means business. The impression is of an aggressive cruiser packed with details, more personality than anything else, with surprises from any angle if you look long enough.
The cold eventually catches up with us, and we make the sensible decision to part ways, have some warm drinks, hide indoors until the cold subsides, and hope for spring to come quickly.
See you next time.
Midnight Special are Brian Buckley and Sadie Fortin
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