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Panaji gets ready for a classic Volkswagen invasion

Over 70 classic VWs of various types, from Goa, and around India, will be on display on November 4 at Panjim Gymkhana for the VolksWeekend 2018

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

In November last year (2017), two car enthusiasts, with a special love for vintage cars – Dheep Caldeira and Jeevan Joy decided to have a little get-together for classic VW owners from all around India. A two day event titled VolksWeekend was planned in Goa in Anjuna. “We expected something small, but it turned into a meet with over 30 Beetles, Bus and even a Karmann Ghias,” recalls Caldeira.

This time around, the event is getting bigger. “This year we expect over 70 vehicles from around India all the way from 1952 to 1992. We expect every type of air cooled VW, even a Kubelwagen and a Thing!” informs Caldeira. Also, he adds, while they couldn’t have a public display last year, this time around a public display will be held with the support of the Panjim Gymkhana. There will also be a car rally which will start at the Gymkhana, proceed to the Statue of Abbe Faria in Panaji, and move to the Miramar circle before ending back at the Gymkhana.

The event is being organised by the Folks India group, a social media group started by Joy, to share everything and anything related to classic VWs’. Caldeira along with Ryan Braganca are the main guys coordinating from Goa, together with Joy and Byas Nambisan.

“We decided that Goa would be the best place to host this event as most air-cooled VWs in India first came out of Goa,” says Caldeira. Milind Angle who owns a mini cooper and will also be participating in the event this time around, provides a little more background on this. “In the early 50’s, there were strict restrictions when it came to imports and hence India had no dealer with VWs. Also at that time American and English cars were more popular and there wasn’t much interest in German cars,” he states. It was around 1954-55 that the Volkswagen first made its appearance in Goa. “It was Robert Hepp, a German physician who first brought the car to Goa and decided to open a dealership,” says Angle. In fact, Angle who enjoys researching on the history of cars etc learnt that Hepp in fact faced a lot of problems while trying to put the car out into the market. “Goa was a small place after all and one could count the number of people who bought this car on your fingers. Hepp literally had to move from one place to another with brochures about the car. In fact my uncle in Panaji who had a car dealership at that time had one of these brochures. Somehow however a year later, the car clicked with the locals, and began selling like hot cakes,” says Angle.

Today, it is not uncommon to find classic VW’s especially the Beetle cruising on Goan roads. And in fact, Caldeira believes that following the interest generated in the humble VW, more people have begun to restore their cars.

 

(The classic Volkswagens will be on display on November 4, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Panjim
Gymkhana)

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