Apr 082014

Firstly, I wanted to say that I am not shutting down SWDubs forum. We still get loads of questions and great threads on there (mostly in the for sale section these days), so I will be keeping the old girl going for the time being.

I started SWDubs back in 2004 as a place to get together online with a group of VW mad friends. The site and forum were learning tools for myself with regards to building websites (the first site was horrendous) and how to install a forum and manage it. This was due to me starting in a new job in SEO (search engine optimization) and wanting to learn more about how sites were made and functioned.

From that small start the forum exploded into life with new members joining and adding their personalities into the mix. Over the last 10 years the forum has been through many ups and downs. From the time when we were attacked by members from Barry Boys forum for posting about an MX5 accident near Exeter (long story that is better off not recalled), to small local clubs being spawned from members meeting on the forum (DKM anyone?). We have seen our fair share of technical difficulties too, with server crashes (2 so far) and whole site and forum hosting migrations.

photoshoot old swdubs

Photo Shoot from many years ago (2005 maybe?)

Over the years the forum has seem members come and go, with a core of people sticking around to share their knowledge and wind up newbies. However even this looks to be in decline. Overall the number of active users on the forum is falling, with most users using only the for sale sections of the forum and not the car or even the general chat. I myself am guilty of this, with things in real life taking a toll on the amount of time that I am on the forum, with new projects and new work changing how I interact with my own site.

Ten Tors Meet old swdubs

Ten Tors Meet in 2009

I am not sure this is the only reason though. I think car forums are starting to become a little old hat, with people wanting a more convenient way to interact with people of the same interest.

In steps Facebook. Now, I am not saying that Facebook has killed all forums, but it is a hell of a lot easier for someone to check on a community if they are already there several times a day telling people about the funny looking dog they saw in the street. Facebook groups are like micro forums, with people being able to post straight onto a wall that everyone see (awesome, no move getting my thread moved by mods right?).

SWDubs mega meet 2010

SWDubs Mega Meet 2010

Now, SWDubs has two Facebook ‘pages’ I hear you say. And you would be right. There is a SWDubs Group that was set up when the forum was down for a short period many years ago, and a newer SWDubs Page that was created by me to spread cool VW stuffs when I can be assed (and spread the word on the SWDubs mega meets). The Group is the micro forum type page that I mentioned above, it has many users all posting things that go straight onto a single wall. This is usually littered with poor for sale ads written by people who cannot be bothered to describe what they are selling. This micro forum is easy to use, quick and notifies you when something new pops up or if someone comments on your post. Awesome right? But as a whole there is no community there, it does not have the atmosphere created by people within a forum environment. It is just a single wall with people jostling for position of their for sale post.

Now, the SWDubs forum is still alive and kicking and still gets new members looking for answers to all those juicy dub related questions. But it just does not have the activity that I once saw.

swdubs mega meet 2014

SWDubs Mega Meet 2014 (image from S4 Gar)

Over the next month I will be trying to use the forum more. I want to see if it is possible to reignite the community into engaging more and rebuilding the great a atmosphere we once had. I want to get the banter started again where people would take the piss and then help out. I want to get the technical areas busy again with questions from newbies and experienced dubbers around all aspects of VWs. I want to get the meets section buzzing for new summer meets and shows.

I do hope that I am wrong in thinking that car forums are on the way out. They are a great way to get to know people like you in your local area, and gain some valuable knowledge at the same time. Some of my best friends have come from meets and shows arranged on SWDubs, so I would say it is worth a another go.



 Posted by at 9:38 pm
Sep 032013

Before this report starts I want to say thanks to Dan at Devon Dub Shack  for taking the time to report on this years Edition 38 show. If you are looking for VW spares and services in the Southwest give Dan a bell. Take it away Dan… 

It’s that time of the year again, Edition time!

I look forward to this event more than I do Christmas!

Although the DDS Mk1 Caddy was just about to undergo its revamp, I quickly themed my daily work van to the DDS colour scheme.

Around twenty cars from Plymouth and the surrounding areas, met up at DDS at 7AM to get ready for the epic convoy to Northampton.

DDS Edition Meeting

The four hour journey went pretty smoothly, with a few toilet breaks taking place on the way. A few of the Plymouth ‘E38 veterans’ had left around 6AM, so had reserved us the same spot as last year, to pitch our tents.

DDS Edition Camping

With everything sorted and a beer cracked open, we set about enjoying the show and soaking up the atmosphere. The weather stayed warm and sunny, pretty much all weekend. It’s been text book like that since 2003, when I started attending.

Friday PM involved enjoying a few beers, having an initial look around the show field and catching up with some old friends and making some new ones! Daisy the DubShack bulldog was a massive hit, with her photo being taken about 100 times! Even Elliot Roberts, the editor of PVW and owner of Wheel Whores requested a photo shoot, as we bought her a ‘I love rims’ t-shirt! Check out the E38 report in PVW for the pic.

The cars this year were even better than last year, with the ideas and quality of craftsmanship being outstanding! One of my show favorites, was the R32 Mk1 Golf. The level of detail and amount of fabrication is out of this world! Even down to removing stock from stub axles, etc. to get the 10″ rims to sit mm perfect!

DDS Edition Mk1 R32


Here are a few pics of some of the cars that took my eye…

DDS Edition Audi A4

DDS Edition Cars

DDS Edition Porsche

DDS Edition 1800 16v Engine

DDS Edition Mk2 Golf

Obviously, I was being dragged around the show ground by a 4 Stone dog, so I didn’t get that many pics. There were a lot of new and unseen cars up there too, which is always a good thing. There were also quite a few from last year, which had had some subtle but trick little mods!

The Belgians are always the show leaders in my opinion, but the UK metal is getting right up behind them. It’s not only Europeans that attend the show either, more and more US visitors are making their way over now too.

The general feel of the show, is of a laid back, easy going atmosphere. All afternoon Friday and all day Saturday, there’s a DJ on a set of turntables, scratch mixing some old school, D’n’B, techno and modern day tunes, not too loud, behind the main stage. Grab yourself a beer, mosey around the show ground and growing number of trader’s show stands and you got an awesome day.

There’s an auto jumble near the entrance, which is very popular. Obviously, I spent a fair bit of time there, grabbing some bargains. :)

Each night, the beer tent becomes a small dance tent arena. The music is a bit heavier and faster, to compliment the amount of beer you’ve consumed all day. I’m sorry to say though, that this year, our group got caught up in some trouble. There was, what can only be described as a mosh pit / bullring, near the stage. Guys running into each other, to knock each other around, or over. Unfortunately, my wife received an elbow to the mouth, which knocked her over. A couple guys from our group witnessed this and things got a bit heated and security tried to resolve the issue. Needless to say, it ruined our evening and put a cloud over the event.

This is a new thing, as last year, we had such a cracking time with absolutely no problems whatsoever. Hopefully, because it was brought to security’s attention, they’ll try to prevent the mosh pit next year?

All in all though, if you fancy a totally chilled out weekend, with Europe’s finest VW/Porsche metal, Edition 38 is one to cross off your bucket list!

Hopefully see more of you SWDubbers there next year!

 Posted by at 12:44 pm
Aug 282013

After the success of the 2013 Jan Mega Meet, several people on the forum requested that we have a Summer meet as well. This seemed like a bloody good idea, given that at the last three Winter meets we have dealt with freezing conditions and Arctic winds to gather and look at each others pride and joys (I am talking about cars by the way).

SWDubs Summer Meet

There are a couple of issues when it comes to arranging a Summer meet though. the main one being the number of other big VW shows that are happening around the country in the Summer, meaning that if we chose a date for the meet that clashed with a popular event, we could see only a small number of cars and people. This would mean the meet would be a waste of time and that is just no good.

After a few suggestions on the forum, we decided upon a date that looked to be pretty free from all of the other major shows this year.

The next issue was the location. Historically we have had a couple locations for the meet, one being Exeter services. This is due to the central location of the services and the fact that it is very easy to find for those coming from outside of Exeter.

For the Summer meet we realised that we could have a big problem, with the services always being extremely busy this time of year with all of the holiday makers etc. clogging it up.  So, instead of having everyone meet at the services first, we arranged to have Budleigh Salterton as the only location for the meet. This was a risk, as it is not the most straight forward of places to get to, but I was pretty sure everyone was capable to finding there way to the beach on their own (we did lose a number of cars on the way to Budleigh the first year lol).

To make sure that we had some professional photos from the meet, I asked Chriz Quick to come along and do what he does best. And I was happy I did, because the quality of car and the number of people that made it was amazing.

The number of cars that made it down was not as high as the Mega Meet in Jan, but there where some amazing cars in Budleigh that day and some great people too.

After the weather forecast predicted showers I feared that I might be the only person at the beach, sat in my car wishing I had stayed at home watching TV, but once again the weather man was completely wrong and we enjoyed some Sun, sea and ice creams instead.

Anyway, I will stop jabbering on about the how, when and who and get down to the most interesting bit, the photos. I just want to finally say thanks to everyone who came along and made it a great day. There were so many different styles, make and model of cars there that it made the day more than just walking around and looking at some VWs. it was a truly great meet. Roll on January :)

Ash Mk1 Golf Ash Mk1 Golf and My A4 Ash Mk1 Golf Front 300bhp Fabia Stanced Cilo Slammed Audi A4Slammed A4 Wheel R33 Skyline Mk3 Golf BBS Mk2 Golf Mk1 Golf Roofrack Mk1 Golf Oz TurbosMk1 Golf Oz Turbos SideLow MX5 Low Mk5 Golf Low Mini Low E30 BMW Low Bora Ford Capri Corrado BMW E30 Low Bagged Lexus


For more photos from the day check out the thread on the forum

 Posted by at 6:29 pm
Jun 042013

It’s that time of year again where VW release a new GTI and we all wait for the reviews to see if Volkswagen have made a car that lives up to the legendary ‘GTI’ name.

First of all, lets have a look at the spec of the new GTI. Unlike the previous GTIs, the mk7 comes in two power options, a 220PS version and a ‘GTI Performance’ 23oPS version.  The GTI Performance pack also gives you bigger front breaks and a LSD (nice addition). The new car comes loaded with loads of tech as you would expect and has a starting price of £25,845 on the road.

I ma usual a fan of the new GTIs from Volkswagen (as you would expect from a man who runs a VW forum and site), but the reviews so far are far from blinding. but before that, lets have a look at the car in question.

Mk7 Golf GTI mk7-Golf-GTI


The overall opinion of the mk7 seems to be that VW have played it safe. From the power figures we can already see that there are a number of other ‘Hot Hatches’ on the market that boast more power and performance than the new GTI. I know that VW usually release a ‘R’ Golf later in the marks life, but even with that in mind the ‘king of hot hatched’ seems a little limp.

It does look good though :).

Now to see if Mann Egerton will let me have a go :).

 Posted by at 8:53 pm
Oct 112012

Another spot from Facebook today.

There are a number of VW’s these days using engines, drive trains and other parts from all sorts of other manufactures, but this next car is something you just don’t see every day.

The car in questions is currently for sale on eBay and truly is a one of a kind creation. The car uses a Beetle floor plan that has been shortened by 6″ with a 1973 Landrover series 2 (or maybe 2a) body slotted on top. The whole thing runs using all of the standard Beetle suspension and engine components, with a narrowed front beam to fit the wheels within the front arches.

The car has then been painted in a ‘rust’ effect paint to confuse lookers on even more.

Take a look at the pics to believe it!

Beetle Landrover

Beetle Landrover

Beetle Landrover Back

Beetle Landrover Back

Beetle Landrover Side

Beetle Landrover Side


 Posted by at 4:17 pm

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