On a cool January day, just after the start of the new year, 78 old and air-cooled Volkswagen bugs and busses made their way along the tight curves and mountain grads of the Arizona desert on their way to Tortilla Flats, a ghost town near Canyon Lake.
According to Adam Shalloo, a founder of the hosting Radical Volks car club, the caravan of vehicles stretched over a mile in length and, aside from blocking traffic a few times, faced no challenges and made the trip without any breakdowns.
“Last year I had a friend in town who wanted to go for a drive in my bug, so I picked Tortilla Flats, told some friends and we ended up with 26 participants on that cruise,” Shalloo said in explaining the event’s inspiration.
After a nice drive, Shalloo decided to start a tradition.
Participants came from all walks of life and ages, most were in their 20s, 30s and 40th, but some were in their 60s.
Shalloo told Classic Car News that the club is all about the spirit of driving.
“Some clubs like to do the whole car show thing,” he said, “but we love to drive.
“We travel to California, Nevada, and we are going to Lake Havasu in a few weeks.”
Additionally, the Radical Volks car club works to bring unity to the Arizona Volkswagen community by working with other clubs.
Talk about sharing responsibility: Radical Volks claims to have seven club presidents — Adam, Alec, Shawn, Robert, Manny, Dustin, and Carlos.
For Shalloo, the choice to drive an old bug was an easy one. When he was 15, his first car was an old VW and he has stuck with the brand because, “it suits my personality. I like how you can make them how you want and I just can’t see myself driving a new car.”
And, he adds, “there is just this feeling you get driving a 50-year-old car on road trips. Sure its less comfortable, but I love it.”
Photos by Nicole James