Phoenix Bugorama 1999 -

The Baja View


This is a first-pass update to the photos taken at Phoenix Bugorama '99. A wonderful show. Dealer presence was tops. Swapmeet had everything I wanted. Unfortunately, photo-coverage was interrupted by several major purchases that had to be hauled out to the baja, so coverage is less complete than I'd like.

For the car-show presence, I'll have to state that there were more show-cars than real bajas - but note the exceptions. And many people would like to know how a certain exhaust system looks, or particular baja-bars mount - it's all shown!

This wonderful baja was found in the parking lot. I looked at it the first time in. I looked again after hauling out the pair of axles I'd bought for $5. I looked again on the way back in after buying the heads I found, and lo and behold, the owner is sitting in the car!

Here's a showbug for your appreciation.

At the swap meet, many of the well-known dealers show their wares. West Coast Metrics is there, but all they have is catalogs - not a good photo opportunity. Beard Seats is there - without sitting in the seats it's less appealing. Besides, it's shown in past bugoramas.

But here we have Joe Chirco, the man behind Chirco Automotive, the mastermind behind CHIRCO.COM! He struck me as being a really good guy. My self-introduction explains I'm no big-time money producer, instead I'm just an HTML hack with a passion for baja bugs, and he still took the time to shoot the breeze for a bit.

I asked, what's wild and new? Here's his answer - CHIRCO rear disk brake kits. I Inquired with Patricia, the web-godess for CHIRCO.COM, and she quotes, "About that rear disc brake kit....... Joe has a memory like a steel trap. The Rear Disc Brake Kit for all Long Axle Swing Axles and all IRS applications. $229.95.... "

This gal's a riot to exchange mail with. Don't miss the opportunity.

On the side there's a front-end adjuster. The background is their travelling show-trailer, loaded with good stuff.

I like this outfit.

Chromed-out show bug.

Many people ask, what's a baja sell for? Here's an example from the swap meet that was for sale.

This baja was in the cars-for-sale area. It has new motor, new transmission, most everything in the drivetrain new.

Not only was this baja for sale, it had just sold. The roof rack and ladder-mount are most interesting. Some use this setup so they can mount a quadrunner on the back while towing. Maybe he just needed access to the sizeable rack!

In the swap meet, a dealer is showing a couple of neat items. The red things in the foreground are motor carriers. If your motor is pulled, it sits on this rack and wheels around. The grey things in the background are third-wheel car mounts for swingaxle transmissions - if the tranny's out, bolt this onto the frame horns and the frame is still mobile! $40 to $50 is not too much to ask for such fine tools. One caveat - the motor carrier is not recommended for starting your motor - it tends to shake too much - so the spare-motor carrier is a different animal.

The most interesting thing about this car is, it has a class 5 number on the side, but not a scratch on it! The beam & rear are widened, and the wheelbase appears to be lengthened, so he must be angling for class -unlimited.

Pretty show bug.

The man showing this beautiful convertible baja is a really good guy, too. A true passion for VW's.

This photo shows, anything can be entered into a car show. Eric Hall's buddy, Bob, painted this himself, and is building it up to spec. It's a project, of course - the rear wheels appear to be different widths, The exhaust can use a good coating of something, et cetera. But he's not afraid to park it out there and show what it's about.

Karl's Custom VW had their lot on the dealer's row, and when I asked what's hot and new, everyone instantly pointed to Karl's personal rail frame. Still no motor, but there's already $15k involved. The side-slots you see are usually kick-outs for a foot step - Karl has it fabricated as a foot door. The bonnet latches so it can be opened for ice-chest or other storage. It's beautiful metal fabrication!

Sometimes I'm asked, can you make a 4-wheel-drive baja?

Now you've seen one.

It's a bug body mounted on a truck frame of some kind. There's a V8 motor in the front.

A wonderful work of art. Not much to do with VW, but I admire it nonetheless.

Whattya Think?!