Friday, February 3, 2012

VW shop in Benson, Minnesota - Killer's Shop

Last weekend I went on a miniature High Lonesome after visiting Wisconsin for a friend's wedding. I had never seen either of the Dakotas so I ventured that way with the intention of checking these 2 states off my list (doing so meant having visited 49 out of 50 states).

My route:

 So here I am cruising I-94 stopping at food joints and antique shops hoping for some sort of VW-related content and coming up dry. It's like 10 degrees outside and I see one - ONE! - vw bug the entire trip. That is until the last day!

I leave Fargo early in the morning aiming to clip the top corner of South Dakota - maybe pee in some field somewhere to really connect with the state, then head back toward Minneapolis, back into Minnesota, to make it to my flight back to SF. And I am dry until I come across a shop with a VW cut in half in front. I turn around and pull in and knock on the door. I am at Killer's Shop...

Killer's Shop
Al Kill, Owner
110 20th Ave NE
Benson, MN
killerkustom at

The guy who greats me turns out to be Al, the owner, who was way cool. I asked to take a picture of his cut bug and he said I could. We talked VWs. This was Al's 2nd time in VWs. He "had" to drive them back when he was young, but then he moved on to muscle cars and hot rods. Then, he bought a '63 bug that brought him back to the VW side. Since then his shop has worked mainly on VWs.

Our conversation was short but like most VW folks you meet, we could have talked forever. I strolled out in his yard to take pictures...

Below is why I stopped. Apparently there are several of these in existence - they were cut and created for the GadZooks stores in the 90s. Al was going to paint this one to be a sign for his shop.

I was in my (rented) car about ready to leave and decided to "turn around" by pulling toward the back part of his lot which was blocked by a fence. When I cleared the fence I saw this:

So, I did what any Birkenstock-wearing VW nut would do, I stamped through the snow in search of pictures and poked my head into many a beast.

Dig the number painted on the one above!

Sad oval...

Fellow VW travelers - should you find yourself headed down the road near this joint, stop by and say hello and perhaps bring Al something from the road. Connect! He was about the only VW thing I found in my adventure and I had the notion he could be distracted from his work to talk VWs all day if we could have. Next time, Al. Next time! 



Yes...the VW scene is pretty bleak up here in the northland, along with the weather....ditto for Manitoba. Heck you were only about 4 hours south of my place. Too bad you didn't have more time, you could have checked off Manitoba from your list as well ! Next time.......the door is always open and the brewskies cold.

Big Blue's Driver

VW Busman - 4 hours! That's like a trip to the store up there! Next, time Killer Al and I are coming up for some beer!


Then after that. you can drive to New Ulm mn. and we will grill some Ribeye and do a shot of ice hole. it gets the sinuses clear. Don Barnett


This guy got hit by a Tornado back when I was in high school and it took out a lot of his collection. It was really sad, glad to see he's still at it. (I haven't been by his place in a while)

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