2015 World VW Volksrodders wait for Silverdale car’s reveal at CRC Speedshow

Silverdale’s Andy Connor has got the world watching and waiting for his original concept for a VW hot rod, known as a Volksrod, which is to be revealed at this month’s CRC Speedshow in Auckland.

2015 - Silverdale’s Andy Connor has got the world watching and waiting for his original concept for a VW hot rod, known as a Volksrod, which is to be revealed at this month’s CRC Speedshow in Auckland.

Connor’s creation, named V2, is primarily a 1961 VW Beetle sitting on a standard, unmodified chassis. 

“It’s a unique concept and I know is being watched all over the world by various clubs and organisations to see how it turns out. To my knowledge, nothing like this has been done before,” says the 43-year-old.

The 2015 CRC Speedshow will attract tens of thousands of fans, and an added special celebration of all things ‘hot rod’ with the Teng Tools Grand National Rod & Custom Show, which offers a hand-picked selection of around 40 of New Zealand’s best hot rods and custom made motorbikes.

Connor entered the show last year with V1, and the show bug has now bitten him hard, with plans to produce a new vehicle every year.

“This year’s project, V2 has pushed my boundaries a hundred times further than I pushed them with V1. But everything on it has been kept 100% VW Beetle. Elements of something similar have been done on various cars, but not all on one vehicle, or to the extent I have taken it.”

“If I didn’t have a genuine VW part to use, I made one by myself using scrap steel, aluminium, rimu wood and stainless steel that I either buy from scrap yards or get from my workplace, such as a block and tackle I found in a scrap yard for $20.”

Throughout the car Andy’s used his preferred design style, so the world will know it’s his. Rimu wood features heavily along with aluminium, stainless steel and elements of rust dotted around, so the colour scheme is also unique.

“Having fun with aluminium and rimu wood fabrication is my design signature,” he explains. “I like working with rust panels to complement the whole design process. I’ve found that I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to, but time is limited, some elements I thought about have not yet found their way into the projects yet but, all in good time.”

The standard front beam has been extended forward about 300mm. The front and rear shock absorbers are static to compensate for the increased weight of the vehicle. 

Two sets of standard VW Beetle dual rear wheels, sponsored by Tyrecorp in Silverdale, were fitted, entailing much fabrication trickery to keep it all together; the type used being rally tyres, which gives the vehicles rear a “mean looking” tow truck stance, he says.

Along with the unique duel rear wheels and pick-up truck crane, Andy has made four upright truck-looking exhaust pipes.

“The whole car’s design screams ‘Mad Max’ style. Some inspiration came from former Mad Max movies, but most of the design concept was born out of how I could incorporate random pieces of scrap found along the way,” he explains.

Andy orignally hails from Wimbledon, London but has settled in Silverdale.  

“I’m a real Womble. The 70's children's show is where The Wombles build stuff from scrap found on Wimbledon Common, my childhood backyard.”

The 2015 Volksrod will be almost finished on the outside for its display at CRC Speedshow, but not the inside. The interior will be inspired from his wife’s pilot’s licence training, so he’s making a bomber seat and sourcing aircraft instruments for effect. 

By show time, Andy hopes to have added some pop riveted aluminium trims to complement the older aircraft style of fabrication. 

His love of custom work came about when, a few years ago, he bought his daughter a VW Beetle a few years back to restore for her so she could also learn to drive in. He then realised the cars are easy to work on and modify.  

“You can do some wicked stuff to them and everyone still knows what car it is, and say, ‘that's a beetle’, even the youngsters,” he says.

“This year is Volksrod 'V2', with the next project, 'V3', sitting in the wings for next year along with a motorbike as well,” he says.

I build these cars purely for competitions, magazines and to show off for one year then retire them to concentrate on the next year’s project. I won’t sell them unless someone offers something silly because I want to build up a display collection for the future.

Connor is a customer service representative for The Fence & Gate Shop and originally a trained Mercedes Benz (UK) technician.

Ross Prevette, managing director of CRC Speedshow says: “It’s fantastic to have Andy along again this year. His cars are always built to the highest standard and show visitors love them. Show-goers can also vote for their favourite vehicle in the people’s choice competition, so make sure you head along and support him.”

The ninth annual CRC Speedshow takes place at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds over the weekend of 18 and 19 July 2015.  Tickets are available at the gate and from the show website www.speedshow.co.nz which has the latest news, competitions and show activities to entertain the whole family.