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South Valley Journal

Beetles to Swarm Riverton Park

Aug 22, 2016 04:52PM ● By Tori LaRue

The Utah VW Classic is returning to Riverton on Sept. 17. –Tony Brown

Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Beetles from the state and surrounding region are expected to swarm the Riverton City Park on Sept. 17, but it’s nothing to be alarmed about.
Sara Brown, her husband and their friends from their local Volkswagen club decided to bring the love of their favorite auto make to the community through an annual Volkswagen-only car show. Brown anticipates more than 1,000 spectators and around 250 Volkswagen vehicles—from rare Beetles to vintage Mircrobuses and trailers—at the seventh annual Utah VW Classic car show which goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Brown said they’ve created a family-friendly event where other families can join in the fun. The VW Classic is a free show for participants and spectators, but raffle tickets and food will be available for purchase on site. All proceeds from the raffle go toward “Bus for Santa,” initiative started by the Browns and other members of a local VW club. The club members drive their Volkswagen buses to the homes of local community members in December, delivering Christmas gifts to families in need.
The show is unique because it pairs VW clubs from across the region against each other in friendly duels, Brown said. Each year a traveling trophy is awarded to the club who bests the other clubs a competition, such as being the first to change a tire or eat a meal out of a Volkswagen hubcap.
“It’s really a family activity,” Brown said about the show. “I love seeing joy on people’s faces and all of the peace signs and thumbs up you get when people see some of the first buses that were made.”
Brown’s father moved across the country in a Volkswagen bus in 1965, and her father-in-law’s first job was as a Volkswagen mechanic, so Volkswagens were destined to be part of her family’s life, she said.
“When my husband and I got married, we knew that we’d want a Volkswagen,” Brown said. “We now have five, and we just took our two little girls camping in one last week. Our 2-year-old loves it when she sees a Volkswagens, especially at the show. It’s just who we are.”
Whether or not families are interested in Volkswagens, Brown said she invites local community members to come out to the show to meet some new friends and hear the stories behind people’s cars.
Scott Wyatt, a friend of the Browns, restored the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle his grandmother bought new.
“It’s the only car I remember her driving,” Wyatt said.
After she passed away in 2002, Wyatt inherited the car and spent 12 years fixing it up.
“I am thankful to continue on its legacy, but it’s definitely not the same car,” Wyatt said. “It was all original, but I went through everything and redid the paint, interior and motor. It’s not the same car, but started out as the same car.”
Wyatt’s 1963 bug has gone on to win many car shows and has been pictured in several magazines. In addition to his Volkswagen collection is a 1959 Double Cab which was one of six cars his friend Cecil Read purchased and salvaged from All Small Auto Inc. in Midvale. The company was planning on using the in-tact vehicles for parts only, so Read began a 10-year process of trying to buy the vehicles, according to Wyatt.
“Those of us who love Volkswagens hate to see them dying and rotting,” Wyatt said. “To us they are valuable. To see them doomed to die, and to just take parts off of the, when they have enough of a condition to get running again, would be sad.”
Four of the six salvage vehicles are up and running again. Several of them will be at the Utah VW Classic, including Wyatt’s orange and blue Double Cab. To see those cars and more, visit the car show on Sept. 17 at 12800 S. 1452 West in Riverton.