2002 Mid-Atantic Holiday Bus Fest
On Sunday, December 7th, 2002 Tom Forhan and Michele Moriarty once again opened up their Takoma Park, MD home to any Vanagon, Loaf or Splitty lovers that could stop by.
Note: Click on thumbnails for expanded images!
There was plenty of snow still on the ground, as the DC region had been treated to a solid 6" of the white stuff just 3 days earlier. Being the gracious host that he is, Tom resisted the temptation to shovel his long driveway so that the syncro Vanagons would have some fun climbing the slope. The house looked fantastic, surrounded by VW's under a clear blue sky.
Herb Mooney's '91 was the last van that could fit in the driveway, and it turned out to be a choice spot - I'm not sure that Herb wanted to lug the Dennis Haynes-built class III trailer hitch up the slippery slope! Herb was also showing off how he had set up the interior of his Van as a mobile workshop, as he does minor body and glass repairs as a side business. He has a workbench, air compressor and all sorts of tools of his trade inside.
Kim Brennan's super nice TriStar crewcab had no problem climbing to the top of the hill. The Tristar's presence caused me some anguish. While I was quite happy to see another crewcab...I would have also liked to have seen Kim's other Vanagon - Tiico-powered conversion. Seems that I have a soft spot in my heart for both crewcabs and conversion projects...so either one was fine. Hey Kim, how about bringing both vans next year? :)
Last year, Pat Horrock's syncro was sqeaky clean...not this year! Pat and Toto have been coming for years to this event, and it wouldn't be complete without them. Toto's other mother, Jane, also came up for the party this year. As usual, the large candy cane was on the front rack to remind us of the holiday season.
I arrived shortly after Pat and motored up the driveway with no problems, thanks to the brand new Bridgestone 27x8.50R14 Dueler AT's. I had just installed these tires about 2 hours before arriving! The tires that came on the crewcab when I bought it in 1998 had finally worn out, so I took advantage of the opportunity to upgrade. Notice that the tires are mounted on steel rims... but not the stock Vanagon ones! The stock Vanagon rims are only 5.5" wide, and the 27x8.50R14 tire size requires a rim width of at least 6.0". I'll have a tech article online soon that details my setup.
Steve, his loaf and his famous vegetarian chili were all at the party again this year...but no chocolate covered garlic like last year! You can always count on Steve for some fun and spirited conversations. :) I also liked the look of the class III trailer hitch under the front bumper of the van - very handy for towing things backwards that weigh over 5,000 lbs. ;)
I'm not sure who was the owner of this van..but they were parked right behind Steve Dolan. Anyone know for sure? I think it may be Bob Allen's van. Notice what appears to be Mercedes alloy rims mounted on this Vanagon.
Karl Mullendore was at the party, sporting his TDI-powered syncro Westy. He always manages to pile enough stuff on top of his engine compartment to keep me from seeing his conversion. I'll try to shake him down before he moves out West. Karl's van is running the 15" South African alloys and Bridgestone tires - looks good! You can always tell when Karl is heading up the hill from Tom's party - the tell-tale whistle of the turbo spooling up is unmistakeable!
Gary's '82 (?) Westy is parked between Karl and Herb. Sorry, Gary...the picture of yours didn't come out.
:( Although I did get a picture last year at the 2001 party!
Once the driveway was full, people started parking out in the street. Our host, Tom Forhan, had snagged the primo spot directly across the street from his front door. Wonder how early he had to stake it out? Look closely, and you can see the ground clearance his van has, thanks in part to the 16" alloy rims - Wow!
Tom's Syncro is sitting on 235x70x16 BFG Mud Terrain KM tires that have a diameter of about 29.5 inches, running on 16x6.5 wheels with a 900KG rating that Derek Drew imports. The bus has OME shocks, syncro.org springs, new 6.17 ring and pinions (front and rear of course) a South African sourced locking front diff, and a Weddle rebuilt transmission with some changes to the gear set - a 1.88 second and custom 1.14 third and .75 fourth.
The result of all this shifting around is a granny gear that maxes out at about 9 mph at 4000 rpm, 15% slower than a stock US syncro running BFG 27x8.5.14s. Cruise at 4000 RPM is 72.5 mph, kind of in between stock and stock running the 27x8.50R14s. The engine is currently a standard 2.1 WBX, and the bash plate underneath it is 11.5 inches off the ground.
This looks like Ed Lloyd's Westy...or at least I think it is? The fact that it has alloy rims has me unsure, since Ed's Van was sporting the steel rims last year. Ed also paid me a huge compliment - He said he couldn't keep up with my crewcab! I'm sure it's the overwhelming horsepower of my crewcab, and not the Takoma Park traffic that let me slip away, right?
This is Gerry Royston's Westy - a 1987 with 84K on the speedometer, and looking good!
Okay, I was getting lazy...this shot was done by using the full range of zoom that the camera offered. Guess I didn't feel like waking up the hill. ;) Anyways, I know the air-cooled Westy with the bra belongs to Karl Ploessl, who I met for the first time in person at the party this year.
Chris brough his super clean, never-restored 1967 Crew Cab to the party. Nice guy, and a nice ride. Thanks to Chris, we had vintage representation! OK, no barndoors were there...but we have given up on seeing one of those show up. ;o
Another repeat visitor (and neighbor of Tom Forhan's) is Scott Davis and his maroon carat. Thanks to Scott, we had to discontinue the "shortest distance travelled" award, as he has had it locked in for some 5 years or so. Hey Scott...you miss a Bus Fest... and I get to take over your title!
There were many more "regulars" at the Bus Fest as well, but they (and their vans) simply escaped my camera! Derek Drew, Forrest and Lorraine Minor, Jamie Ault and a bunch of people whose names I just can't pull outta my brain were all there. If you ever have a chance to make the Bus Fest - It's well worth the time!
Tom and Michele, thanks so much for hosting the Mid-Atlantic Holiday Bus Fest again this year. Eight years and running, I always look forward to it...and the one after that!
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