Friday, 17 January 2014

Rusty Gold.

There are certain vehicles that lend themselves to rust really well.  I am not talking rot, let's make that clear, but rather that sun induced surface rust that you get on the upward facing surfaces of vehicles that reside in dry, sunny places such as Southern California, or the Mediterranean.
Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, aka the American Pickers would undoubtedly refer to this as being 'patina', and covert items that have clearly been used and show the signs of wear associated with a lifetime of service, out in the elements.  Many would argue that this level of deterioration detracts from the aesthetic of the car, van or truck, but I am of the opinion that it demonstrated a level of authenticity that should be preserved, rather than restored.  Don't get me wrong, I love shiny paintwork, but sometimes general wear and tear and that sun scorched look that you know has come about over several years worth of sunshine can tell so many stories about that car.  To me it shouts out as being authentic and original, not something that has been manicured. More often than not these cars are still very much in daily use, and not locked away in a garage, which is great, because it means that I can see them in all of their rusty, I mean sun scorched, glory.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

VW Transporter, Keep it Stock.

This post is all about the VW Van.  Few vehicles have had such appeal, for so long, what makes the VW van even more incredible is that it is a commercial vehicle, originating from post war Germany and designed with work in mind.  There are not many everyday cars that have the type of allure that the Transporter has experienced for well over 60 years.

For me there are several reasons why the VW van is far more than just a van.  To begin with it has a face and heaps of personality, each generation has maintained the lines and aesthetics that set it aside from other commercial vehicles.  Also, the VW van has always had associations with California, and as being a little more left field.  They are of course mass produced, but despite this they somehow manage to maintain a degree of individuality and style. Volkswagen have in the past always styled their cars in a way that gives them lots of appeal, in an understated way.  This charm, coupled with an overall design that is pretty much timeless and a build quality that is synonymous with German cars and certainly Volkswagens throughout history, has ensured that the Transporter has stood up to the test of time, in every sense.

At a personal level, the Transporter has always been close to my heart.  My Dad owned them throughout the 1970s, in fact some of the earliest photos of me taken as a baby are of me in or near a 1972, white type 2 panel van.  I will have to try and find these pictures.  This was replaced with an orange T2 in 1979, when my Dad had one of the last of the T2s from new.  Later, when I started surfing, the Transporter was the surf vehicle of choice for many, quite a few of my friends have owned them over the years, and I have great memories of many adventures that took place thanks to a Transporter.  These were mainly T2s, but a few of the older guys had the T2.5, which was more current at that time.  These were held in high regard by me, and I am sure many others too, they were the first generation to move away from the classic VW van look, and went for a much bolder, squarer design that was a lot more in keeping with the range of cars that VW were producing at the time.  I still remember the first time I saw one and thinking 'what have they done', I must have been 8 at the time. But as with many vehicles, the new design grows on me, and in time I come to accept it.  One of my absolute favourites was a two tone blue, chrome bumpered T2.5 Bus that I used to see locally, but never knew who it belonged to.  It was a Californian import, and as such was left hand drive, everything was stock and in great condition, even though it was obviousley someone's daily driver.  This is key for me, as I have mentioned before, I like cars, and vans to be as they were when they were new, without modifications, or anything that isn't from the era from when they were produced.

The Transporter has gone through a number of evolutions over the years, I like them all, but the older ones have the greatest appeal for me, but stock, and originality is key.  There is no need to add spoilers, big alloy wheels, or other bits and pieces to these vans.  They have huge amounts of style and charisma as they are, as such they simply do not need 'improving'.  This is as true for the latest examples of the T5 as it is for the previous models.  The ones that are left as standard look great, but those that have the huge wheels, the chrome and the glittery paint work look at best little bit uncomfortable, but the ones that have had the most 'work' are just plain ugly and reek of being a bit try hard.  But hey, that is simply my own personal opinion, but regardless whether it is a car or a van in question, it is one that I will always stick with.  Stock is always best!


Sorry, I don't know the origin of these photos.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Off The Wall

While the Vans brand has become almost ubiquitous in recent years, I still find the designs very appealing, particularly the Era and Skate Hi ranges.  I know that nostalgia has a huge part to play in this, as these were the shoe of choice when I was a grom, but there is something about these shoes that I really do like, and probably always will.

A lot of the attraction is born out of them being from a different period in time, that they are designed with the surf/skate lifestyle in mind, and they say Southern California so subtly and yet so clearly at the same time.  The design has stayed true for several decades, and are one of the few shoes that a forty something can wear, and not look like he is having some sort of mid life crisis!

For a while I have to admit that I was troubled about them being worn by everyone and anyone, but now I am just happy that I can still get hold of the shoes that were so coveted when I was growing up.

Pretty Face.

An early Mark one 'swallow tail'.

There are many reasons why I love the Golf, it is beautifully designed, features simple lines and has a pretty face and an overall body shape that is timeless. It is difficult to believe that the design is now 40+ years old.  I also like the fact that it was affordable and not pitched as a premium car, but a car that was intended for anyone and everyone.  The Mark one evolved almost naturally into the Mark 2, which while be a more rounded version, maintained a lot of the charm of it predecessor.  Sadly, from then on the design lost something significant in terms of style.  I really like the Mark 3, it remained distinctly Golf and was a sturdy, fairly spacious car, but the subsequent designs lacked that special something there after.  The 4 and 5 have not aged well, for both generations now look dated, have not aged well and lack the classic appeal that previous models had.  In fact the most recent evolution of the Golf is pretty much faceless, such is the dilution of the original design. It lacks the personality and blends in with virtually all of the other hatches on the market. Added to which it now has a premium price tag which I am not sure goes with the original concept of the Golf.  I will wait and see what the future designs are like, but I very much doubt if they will hold the same attraction that the older models have, for me anyway.

Have You Seen Him...

Photo J Grant Brittain?

I have always been very close to skating.  In fact I began riding skateboards long before I got my first surfboard.  In the same way that I appreciate the look and style that is associated with surfing, I also love the aesthetics of skating.  The graphics and logos were wholly different to those of surfing, but they really appealed to me, particularly those that were born out of the mid 1980's.

Arguably the most influential skate company of that era was Powell Peralta, they developed such a strong identity which over the years has been much emulated.  I believe that Powell Peralta was the first skate company to produce films featuring their team riders.  This was obviously a very cleaver means of promoting not only the Bones Brigade themselves, but also the signature decks, clothing, wheels and other Powell Peralta/Bones products.  The first of these films that I saw was The Search for Animal Chin, and featured the legendary Chin ramp. The skating was incredible and created a lasting impression upon me, nut I also loved everything about this and the other Bones Brigade films.  For while skating and surfing were poles apart in every way at this time, I quite liked the fact that I had a foot in both camps, I would never mix surf attire with skate, for that was a big no, no.  but while surfing was my main  pursuit, skating was a close second.

I really like the fact that the decks and
other products of this period are now available as reissues, while it makes me feel old on the one had, on the other it takes me back to being 15 again!


North Shore line up

The photograph above dove tails nicely with the previous post, for it features a pretty impressive line up of surfers. Taken during the '85'86 winter season on the North Shore, just a couple of years after The Performers, the boards and the clothes are very much of that era. It was all about bright and loud graphics and bold colours.   I am able to identify pretty much all of the guys in the shot, many of which by the sponsors logos!  Sadly though, there are faces there that are no longer with us; including Mark Foo and Buttons there right in the fore ground, who died late last year.

The Performers and Kongs Island - the catalyst


Sourced from The Board Collector.

The first time I recall feeling genuine stoke about surfing was when I saw the Quiksilver/Jack McCoy Film; The Performers, including the legendary 'Kongs Island'.  I had been skating for a while, and had recently got in to surfing, but this film was the catalyst that made everything come together and make sense, and has remained so ever since!  I cannot quite put my finger on why this was such a source of inspiration, but I think it is a number of factors are responsible for it being so utterly influential in my surfing life.

Of course, the surfing is outstanding, filmed on the North Shore during the '83/84 Winter season, the year that saw a boycott by the ASP, so no professional contests were held.  This is apparent in the film, for it is all free surfing and pretty amazing it is too.  From start to finish it is full on power surfing featuring the afore mentioned trio, along with Richard Cram, Wes Lane the late Marvin Foster to name but a few.  A lot of the allure comes from the fact that it is filmed solely on the North Shore, a place that appealed to me on so many levels, the waves were seemingly perfect, the back drop beautiful, not to mention the sunshine and warm water!  The whole thing is shot beautifully and set to the most incredible soundtrack I have ever known.  From the opening credits, Pink Floyd's The Wall sets the scene - this still gives me goose bumps today, and from then on it features Talking Heads, INXS, Simple Minds and John Cougar Melon Head!

As mentioned, there was also a short film that preceded the main feature, Kong's Island.  This slightly psychedelic short film featured Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew, Gary 'Kong' Elkerton and James 'Chappy' Jennings, all of whom rode for Quiksilver on Hot Stuff boards, and rode them they did, this was the type of surfing that I liked the best, and still do, hard turns, lots of spray and done with a real sense of style.  Although I do have one complaint, that is, for years I waited for the sequel, Son of Kong that was promised at the end of the film, but it never happened!

After seeing this film, I changed, as did the way in which I viewed the world.  For I already displayed 'Walter Mitty' type characteristics and had a tendency to loose myself in day dreams.  This gave my daydreaming a real focus and gave me the sense that I had connected with something tangible, that was so much more fulfilling than anything I had experienced before.  This film arguably laid the foundations for who I was to become, certainly in a surfing sense.  I became obsessed with surfing in the Summer of 1986, and got hold of a used Hot Stuff Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew model and sought out anything that featured a Quiksilver logo!  For the first time I experienced what it was to be a part of something which was truly my own, in fact I went to great lengths to make it mine and created an image that was 100% that of a 'surfer'.  At this time not many people wore surf clothing, and those who did tended to surf too, so wearing Quiksilver etc instantly made me identifiable as being a part of the 'club'.

All in all, this film is responsible for a lot, and I say that in a wholly positive context, for I love surfing and have done for many, many years.  For me it wasn't and still isn't just the act of riding waves that is holds the excitement, it is the entire package, including the boards, the imagery and of course the clothes too. But it was the feeling of having been granted access to a new world, one that I was wholly suited to, this was the biggest thing that was unlocked for me.

The late Marvin Foster


Richard Cram

The Hot Generation

It has to be said that I do like a hot hatch, especially the original generation of Golfs, Sciroccos and the 205.  Sadly, these days most of them are either long gone, or worse still have fallen into the hands of those who have seen fit to destroy them in the name of 'modifications'.  When I see the latter I feel genuine sadness, for they have been truly ruined, and you just know that they will suffer a fast demise ending at the scrap heap, losing their dignity not to mention classic good looks along the way.

You can almost see the sorrow in their faces about having their features altered in a way that turns a fantastic design in to something that is wholly ugly.  Volkswagen and alike spent millions in developing these clean, classic designs that have stood the test of time, so why these people want to destroy this I do not know.

I am such a purist that I cannot stand seeing the slightest modification, whether that be the wrong wheels, the addition of body kits and spoilers that simply shouldn't be there. Worst of all is that hideous trend that involves debadging, removing the bumpers and smoothing out the lines and contours, effectively destroying the very look, not to mention soul of the car.

Fortunately, there are still a few original, stock examples around, I wish that I could buy them all, if only to save them from being ruined!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Lovely German rear views.

I am a huge fan of cars of the German variety, old ones that is. I dare say that one day in the future I will grow fond of the modern models, but I think that this will be some time off.  For decades, they produced cars with the aesthetics that I really appreciate. Bold lines, chunky styling and an overall look from a different ear, a look which is distinctly German, much more so than the more generic design aspects of the cars of today, which tend to blend in with too many other cars.  I will cover many more of my favorites, but here are a few to open with.



This blog is dedicated to things that roll on wheels and slide on waves.  More specifically, it is a celebration of many of the things that I have a real passion for, namely old cars and vans (both the shoes and the vehicles), as well as the more stylish, inspirational and down right classic elements of surfing and skateboarding.  Much of what I write about will be based upon my own experiences, many of which took place during what I would define as being the golden era, for me at least.  Namely the time when I first entered into the incredible, exciting and down right magical world of surfing and skating.  I am talking about the fantastic 1980's!

That said, it is not limited in any way, shape or form. If it rolls on wheels, can be defined as a board-riding, or if I just happen to like it, it is almost certainly going to be included.  

This is Carving Nostalgia, I hope you enjoy the ride!

It is a non-commercial, purely for the fun of it project and I don’t lay claim to any of the photographs, film clips etc that are featured, unless stated as such.  I am afraid that not all of which will be credited, simply because I have collected the images mainly from Google images and a like over a period of time.  As such I do not recall the source and cannot be certain that they originated from the initial owner when I obtained them in the first place.  If I have used your work, then I thank you and would be more than happy to credit you if you would like me to, please just get in touch and let me know.

Tim Crowe, January 2014.

Me, doing what I love.  HB in the OC. Taken a few years ago.