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Feb 25 2010

Dubfreeze, Stafford Showground, February 21st 2010

Posted by volkszone

By Chris ‘Funkmaster Red’ Redford.

My how time flies. This time last year I had just finished rusting up the bonnet on my New Beetle just in time for Dubfreeze. It seems I never learn as this year I spent the week before the show rushing my way towards completing another project in time to debut at the show.

For those who have never been, Dubfreeze is a huge event held in February each year. The Staffordshire showground is host to the event which has become a very popular show for people to dust off the winter cobwebs and get back into the swing of things and more importantly find those elusive parts needed for the projects that must be completed by the Spring.

It is more of a trade show than a car show but that does not stop stunning vehicles arriving in droves. There is a huge indoor hall on 2 levels which is filled up with Volkswagen related traders. From stickers to mugs to vehicle parts and accessories, everything is available. Add to that a small but well formed show and shine and a huge car park full of delectable metal, there is lots to see, do and buy.

The show and shine, although limited in size, covers both air and water-cooled VWs both in custom and stock form.

This year I decided to enter my Gurgel into the competition and so in December I booked one of the 36 places available. As I was organising The Koolest Krooze I had nearly forgotten that I had a lot to do to the Gurgel to make it show worthy and so with only a week until the event, I started working my way through a mammoth list of repairs. This included lots of minor jobs but also a re-trim of the rear seat and restoring a set of wheels.
Long story cut short, by Saturday evening the seats were re-trimmed, the wheels were blasted, painted, tyres fitted and bolted to the vehicle. I sat down in front of the television to check the weather report and saw that heavy snow was forecast for the West Midlands area the next morning.

I left Eastbourne at 3am. Within 100 meters of my house I found that my as yet untested new wheels were troublesome to say the least. The 10 inch banded steel wheels with monster off road tyres were rubbing on the arches as I went around a roundabout! I pulled over as soon as it was safe to do so and set to jacking up the car and changing back to the original wheels with just the light from my trusty Zippo to guide what I was doing.

Back on the road I soon realised why the event was called Dubfreeze as my windscreen was literally freezing over as I drove up the M23. By the time I was halfway up the M40 towards Birmingham I encountered the forecast snow. Of all the times for the forecaster to be correct! With no side windows or roof, the snow was coming at me from all angles. The motorways 3 lanes disappeared to one slush covered ‘track’. It was at this point that my windscreen wipers decided to pack in!

By the time I arrived at the venue I was stupidly cold. The fact that the Gurgel has no heating whatsoever was not a bonus.

Anyway, I changed the wheels back to the wide boys, washed the car down and set off to see if there were any bargains to be had. Luckily I met up with ‘Butty’ from Dubnuts and VZi who advised me on the best way to fix my wipers and so I then set to getting them back in working order for the journey home with a lot of help from other VZi members.

From Eastbourne it is 220 miles each way and in the cold, the 5 hour drive seems to take forever, it definitely seemed a much quicker journey in the New Beetle last year. However it was definitely worth it as a good chance to catch up with friends that you may not have seen since the shows finished last year. Add to that the cars to see and the chance to buy bits that you need (and lots more that you don’t) and it all stacks up as a very good day out.

Have I learnt my lesson about driving an unsuitable vehicle in the cold? No. I shall probably be taking the Gurgel over to Ninove in Belgium on the 14th March. Some people say I’m brave. I just think I’m stupid.


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