Thursday, December 29, 2011

A conversation with Eric Shoemaker of

How long have you been into VWs? When did it become an obsession?

I'd say I've been interested for about 6 years now. To get a better idea of how I got started, read my '67 restoration story. I can't say it's an "obsession." Ok, it might be. My good friend Timm and I call it the "VW sickness." It's just something I've become very passionate about. I’ve worked as a visual designer / art director for the last 11 years. Over the last 6, I’ve been working on my ’67. During that time, I fell in love with creating real tangible objects and working with my hands. I’m obsessed with small details and the idea of bringing something old back to its former glory. I'm even offering restoration services on a few "one year only" parts for the '67

You've become the pied piper for VW lovers on Twitter by establishing the #vintagevw hashtag. How does the online community matter to the VW community as a whole?

The web is just another medium; a place where people can share their content, stories and ideas. It's made it a lot easier to find NOS parts! It's also given companies a business platform where they are able to offer services with a global reach. I'd never have found Vintage Werks, Wolfsburg West, or any of these other great folks if not for the web. Lastly, I've been able to connect with SO many fantastic folks. The VW community is a breed all their own; always willing to lend a hand, advice, or even a NOS part! Not too long ago, a box with NOS German Hella tail light lenses showed up at my door!

The #VintageVW hashtag seemed like a good (fun!) idea to communicate on a global level. Twitter already has that reach. It's grown organically. Little by little, more people are starting to use it who are sharing vintage Volkswagen related content. I really do need to finish those stickers. #VintageVW

Why VWs? I mean, why not vintage Volvos or old jeeps?

I fell into this great hobby. As I might have mentioned in the history article, my grandfather always had the ’67 around. I have fond memories of riding around with him as a child. When I first got the car I had no intentions of doing a restoration. The interest and passion came out of pure necessity to keep the car on the road. I had Advanced VW in Decatur, GA rebuild the engine. After that, I’ve just tried to learn to do things for myself. Little by little, it became somewhat clear that I’m actually pretty good with my hands. The connection between visual design and restoration is there for sure. I take a lot of pride in knowing that my grandfather’s old Volkswagen was very close to being sent to a junkyard, and I saved it with my own two hands.

It seems like you bug doesn't have a name. Some people hate naming cars. Have you ever considered a name?
I have not. Maybe I should call it Panama due to the original color.

You seem to have lucked out into what many think is the best year for a VW bug. We all agree about what make VWs great. But name one thing you wish the VW designers had designed differently in your bug.

I’d say all the ’67 “one year only” parts that have been really hard to find. I do believe that the Beetle is a brilliant example of design done well. It is the longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform.

So you have the '67 and are known for that. Any plans for another vintage VW anytime soon?

My wife and I often joke about the idea of a bus. Currently I have more than enough to keep me busy with the ’67. We’ll see!

What would you like to accomplish with your website and VW communication in the next year?

I’d love to become a true resource for people that are aiming to do a stock restoration on a ’67 Beetle. I’m a firm believer that the continuation of great content can achieve this.

I’m open to the idea of advertising if it’s the right fit. Needless to say, you won’t ever see a JC Whitney banner on Sorry, it’s not going to happen. 

Most importantly, I’d love to find a way to combine my visual design, marketing and vintage VW restoration skills into something fulltime. I truly love these old cars. 

How can you be reached?

Editor's note: Eric and I have gotten to know each other over Twitter. Even though we have yet to meet in person, there has been talk about us organizing a "Flash VW parade" in the bay area. If anyone is interested, chime in on the #VintageVW hashtag on Twitter (which feeds into the right side of, to discuss. Perhaps we can make this thing happen... Then, I'd finally get to take a look at Eric's fantastic 1967 VW bug.



Great story! I really love that '67. Eric seems like a really talented guy.


I've actually SEEN this '67 around the Bay Area. Now I finally get to hear the story behind such a fantastic piece of history.

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