It’s another crisp morning and we are headed out to PNW SpringMeet just east of downtown Seattle Washington. As the first swap meet and show off the year in the pacific northwest this event seems to set the tone for the long awaited summer months here. Although Seattle doesn’t have months of snow the rainy season is just bad enough to keep you in the garage restoring that classic you have.
Springmeet was started in the early 1960’s by a group of enthusiasts that formed Northwest Vw Club. As times change and people come and go and this event was transferred to Mike Tolliver just a few short years ago. Keeping with tradition, the event is still held early or late in April and attracts the finest classic Volkswagens.
Coming through the gates we notice the smiling staff and rows of car haulers, which gets us more excited to see what might be inside. Springmeet is held at Bellevue College inside the parking structure to insure dry weather for show cars, swap spaces and long conversations with old friends over rusty goodness. Greeted by the parking staff we are ushered past the top floors of the structure to rows of excellent examples of why Volkswagens survive so well here.
We took the elevator down the first floor to see what Kahiko Kula the local Hawaiian club has to offer. Mingling with the clubs it’s easy to see the passion for the their heritage, food and Volkswagens. As we move up the ramp to the second floor we see the many other clubs from Seattle that support the event, Northwest VW Club, Eastside Air-cooled, The Guild and Cascade Kombie’s. As we turn the corner on the second floor we notice the rows of preserved Beatles and buses. For a second I thought are we in California? Could there really be this many standout cars here in Seattle?
After wandering down and talking to a lot of old-timers I realize that Seattle’s PNW Springmeet is a hidden jewel. Classic rare restored show cars, truly perfect cars for sale and vendors with passion. Talking with Tim and Stephanie from FolksWerks (www.folkswerks.com) it’s easy to see why PNW has such a great Vw community. Next door we talk with Tom from TomCo and look at their air ride pan for a customer that they won’t reveal owners name, Bill Gate’s maybe? As we round the corner we see future examples of what is to come ahead. Brand-new or a few years old Passat an Audi sitting on the ground on full air ride systems. As the young kids take pics the older grow looks and scratch their heads.
Now on to the mayhem of the third floor where squares of swap booths have oil soaked dripping parts or pure new old stock dreams. If you are in the PNW this is the one spot to get it all. From full shells to the rarest Gene Berg shifters, it’s all right here. After looking through booths for an hour I find a gem that I can’t live without and must be added to my collection. A quick negotiation and exchange of cash and its mine.
It’s about lunchtime now so I head out back to the food court area to see where this smell is coming from. Once outside I see the most finest portajohns at a car show I’ve ever seen. After braving the line I enter Royal restrooms coach and see the full size restroom I have at home, plus a urinal and chocolate mints. Exiting there restroom trailers I order a sausage and browse “The Ragman” collection of slightly used dealer overalls and jackets, a must when summer is near and my overalls are soaked in oil and rust from restoring my classic. I wander back though there floors wait for the charity raffle, then snap a few pictures of exiting club cars and show cars. In short, an amazing day in Seattle at PNW SpringMeet (www.pnwspringmeet.com )
Words by Mike Toliver
Photos by Andrew Cox