The History of Bugnutz 1991-2011, 20 years old! (Picture Heavy)
BugNutz 1991-2011…yes, we are 20 years old!!!!
A brief history of BugNutz by me John Mills a.k.a. ‘runningmonkey’…..Well, as much as I can remember, they were hazy days. ;)
I did start writing this earlier in the year, but with other commitments and all that ( newly married and new sprog), Iv only just managed to get it finished, and Iv asked janski to cast his eyes over it for crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. So blame him if the spelling and grammar is terrible.
Back when petrol was circa. 46 pence per litre, a certain Volkswagen club was born.
The year, if I remember correctly was 1991 and a man, by the name of Jason White and his girl friend Melinda had the idea of a Bury based Volkswagen club after visiting another local classic car club in Bolton.
Jason was well known in the Northwest area, because of his distinctive 1967 beetle ‘The Cadburys bug’. It was painted in Cadburys purple, lowered at the front, fitted with one piece windows and running Centrelines. It also had a 1641 motor as the power house. The Cadbury bug was a true old school cal look bug. As a school kid at the time, I would see the car cruising around the streets of Bury and it may well have been the car that made me fall in love with Volkswagens and the vw scene.
The Club originally started meeting at the Crofters arms in Bolton where Jason had been going for some years it was an established classic car club as I’ve already mention but Jason wanted a vw only club and a new venue, so a moved was needed. It was decided that the new club would meet at the Flying Shuttle in Bury. The Flying Shuttle had a large car park which was just perfect for the meets. (Now the mill gate multi-storey car park).In the early days, the club had about 5 founding members, Jason & Melinda plus a handful of others which I apologise for not remembering their names. They use to meet every Thursday at the pub from 8pm onwards. At this point the club still had no name, until a man by the name of Tim Kelly joined the club, and along with another club member came up with the name BugNutz.
I had just passed my driving test and my parents had bought me a mk3 Fiesta for my 17th. I had that car for about 3 months until one day I was driving home from college and saw a 74 Bug parked at the side of the road. I pulled over to talk to the owner and 20 minutes later I had done a straight swop for my fiesta! When I arrived home my dad had a strange look on his face that was somewhere between bemusement and anger. Once he had calmed down from the initial shock, I think he began to like the car. About a week after, I was driving the bug (which was painted in a light blue robin reliant colour with a full Porsche body kit fitted) I was flag over by some nutter in a green beetle who turned out to be the fore mentioned Tim Kelly. For me, Tim was one of the people who really got BugNutz off the ground. He was chief recruiter of the club and bought many new members to the Flying Shuttle including myself.
My first Bug 1974 with Porsche body kit (it was cool....in the day)
The year was 1993 and the club was in full swing. As a club, we attended most of the VW shows such as Bugjam, VW action and the ill fated no worries beetle bashies. Between 93 and 94 the club grew substantially. With new members joining each week, Struan chant was one of these new members and became a bit of a legend within the club for his vw knowledge. Every Thursday, the car park of the flying shuttle was rammed with Volkswagens of all types, even other cars clubs started visiting and joining in on the fun. The club meets started at 8pm and around 10pm the mass of VW’s moved on for a huge cruise to the McDonalds in Whitefield. A normal meet would include all manner of goings on including burn outs in the car park, drag racing down the streets, ice sound offs and a huge local cruises. The cruises were so long, that by the time the first car had reached its destination the last car was just setting off! The Club and McDonalds cruises grew so big, that it began to draw attention to itself. Unfortunately, it was the attention of the police. In its peak around late 1994 early 1995 the club was so large (around 50 cars and 100 members!) that every Thursday, a police car would arrive at the Flying Shuttle car park to keep an eye on the proceedings, and follow the cruise to McDonalds, to make sure that no law breaking was going on. I remember one particular meet when two police car arrived and would only let the cruise out of the car park in groups of 5 cars at a time because we where coursing traffic issues! Only wish I had photos of the cruises because they had to be seen to be believed.
The start of one cruise from Altringham to Bury the line up here was about 30 car longs!
Some bunch of weirdo’s in Mcdonalds Whitefield 1993 ish in this photo clockwise, Lee, caroline, Anthony, Ian, chris, sandy, clare, julia, Ben, Martin, Leon, Tim, ? , jenny, fay, sara & struan
Like a lot of Volkswagen clubs, BugNutz was on a path of self-destruction. It had grown too big too quickly and various members were beginning to fall out, mainly over women or who had the coolest car, and subsequently, the club started to break up. Some went their separate ways, (and formed other clubs around the northwest) some dropped out of the Volkswagen scene all together, but luckily the majority stayed with the club.
A new venue was needed. Not only was it time for a change (as we was no longer welcome at the shuttle) but the pub car park had been sold to Bury council so they could build a multi-storey on it. So in 1995 the club meets where moved to the Sparking Clog in Radcliffe by this time I had just turned 19. The cruise moved too, but not very far. From one McDonalds, to another. This time to the one in Radcliffe. On occasions, the cruise moved on from the various fast foods out lets to other pubs around the Bury area, such as the Roach Bank and Paper mill at Pilsworth and the Swan on Manchester road. The sparking clog days where just as raucous as the flying shuttle days in fact even more so as Thursday night in the clog was also karaoke night! Mix this with a lot of drunken vduber and Thursday nights where slowly becoming the new Saturday night! The club with its party atmosphere had attracted the attention of a lot of students and Thursday night started to become legendary in Bury.
Me aged 19
Stop of before the club his Bug jam 1995
Bug jam 1995
Tatton Park Mid 90’s
No worries beetle bash 1996
No worries beetle bash 1996
No worries beetle bash 1996
Club member Ben and his Baja bug
Ben’s Baja bug
But the good times could not last and by the summer of 1996 the club had starting slowing down. The trouble in the early days with the police had put a few people off and adding to this the fact that our student groupies were packing their bags and were shipping out to university, meant the numbers were dwindling and fast.
Car park of the Sparking Clog car park towards the end of 1996 this was considered a very poor turn out!
By the end of that summer fewer and fewer members were coming, and the club was dead in the water. By August 1996, I decided to give the club a break for a few months and was unsure of the goings on. All I know, is that by the time I had stopped going, only a handful of club members where turning up on a club night.
At the start of 1997 the club had stopped meeting at the Sparkling Clog and moved to the Jolly Carters, a pub on Bury Bolton Road.
My 74 Bug had failed its MOT. It had a rotten spare wheel well, heater channels and had a date with the scrap yard. I’ve owned a few different beetles throughout the years, but this was my first and it had finally died! I bought a 72 cal look bug from another club member called Heath, which was my weekend car and project car that I wanted to do up. I also owned Polo, which was my daily driver.
By 1998 BugNutz was still alive and still meeting at the Jolly carters, though you wouldn’t have known by looking at the car park as no one had a VW on the road. Bugnutz the Volkswagen club had basically turned into a drinking club that meet every week! This, in a way was great but really couldn’t be called a VW club it was more of a boozing club!
Over the months, people finally went their separate ways and BugNutz was no more. I didn’t think about the club over the next coming years and I stopped going to Bug Jam and other VW festivals and almost dropped out of the VW scene all together.
In 2001, I was offered a 1970 camper van, which I grudgingly bought for £800.00, as I had no other car and it sparked my love for Vdubs again. In that summer a few of the old BugNutz member got together and began meeting up again at the Roach bank. They were Steve Tilbury, Chris Royds and his brother Alan, Dave Johnson and myself.
We started going back to some of the festivals and even had a name ‘Hotwheels Volkswagen Club’. The club grew to about 15 members, but it was short lived.
At the start of 2004 I was really starting to miss BugNutz and set about starting it up again.
I had been doing a lot of Surfing at this time (the wet kind!) and was good friends with Dave ‘fury’ Johnson. I asked him if he thought it was a good idea to try and restart a VW club? He said yes, so we set to work trying to get the old gang back together. The only people I knew who owned VW’s at this time were myself, Dave, Steve and Chris and Alan. So yet again we started meeting again at the Roach bank, Paper mill or sometimes the Trackside in Bury. We toyed around with many names, but in the end we decided to go back to BugNutz, well to be precise ‘BugNutz reborn’. Although the ‘reborn’ bit has now been dropped.
We made some flyers and set up a stand at All-types VW Show in North Wales of that year. The flyer didn’t really have an impacted but we stuck it out. We moved the Club meet to the Ainsworth Arms and started meeting every other Wednesday night as we still do to this day. If I remember correctly the first members to come and join the newly reformed Bugnutz was Tony shortly followed my Jan Polanski, or janski as he is known.
Before we had a banner! 2004
The newly formed Bugnutz reborn at Bug jam 2004
Early meet in 2005
First club display at Tatton park 2005 Bugnutz reborn
And the rest as they say is history, Bugnutz has been going strong ever since. But this time we have evolved slowly. Accepting air-cooled as well as water cooled from all the VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group). Even if you haven’t a Vdub, just a passion for Volkswagens will do! We now have our own website, forum and facebook page. Most recently, we have become part of the N.D.A. (Northern Dub Alliance). A club which bands together all the vw clubs in the northwest for mutual benefit like club camping at shows, hosting a yearly swap meet were other clubs can attend and visa-versa, Christmas parties and Sunday meets. We have even won a few trophies for best club display as well as some of our cars picking up accolades. Some of our cars have also sneaked into some of the top air-cooled publications.
Here’s to the next 20 years.
Ahhh, the memories!!!!!
Old school Nutz
Party days at the clog in this photo Andy Folkener
Party days at the clog
Various old school member ridez from 1991 to 1997
A few more
Jane Low (I think)
Old School crew
If anyone has any other story’s of yester year then please feel free to add them as well as any photos you may have to this page, it would be great if we could get all the history of the club together and story’s from other member from back in the day. Also I apologise for any incorrect information in the above like I said at the start they where very hazy days indeed! So if any correction need doing drop me a line and ill change it.
John ‘runningmonkey’ Mills :D
Good stuff Mr Monkey. Was fun reading/editing it and now with piccies even better.
nice one dude! quality :D
ive caught small snippets of storys about it all but its good to see the pics :) im now 100% positive thats the purple bug is the same on that sparked my love for them when i was 7 or 8 years old:eek:
couldnt read most of it as im still crying laughing at the 19year old you!! :lol:
so its the 21st next year eh!
good read :) some really kool cars especially that crazy chopped oval with the banded center lines :D o and you spelt altrincham wrong ;)
really good that John, cant decide if that was brave or stupid, putting that picture of you at 19. :)
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