When people ask me what Air Monkeys is all about, I take great pride in iterating the fact that we pride ourselves on showcasing cars which may never otherwise get the attention they truly deserve, from some of the ‘big mags’. Certainly a cache for me at the time we established the club and magazine, is that it certainly felt at the time that a niche in the upper echelons of the VW world would inevitably have their build thrusted into the limelight, based purely on the fact it was theirs, regardless. Whether that was the case or not, I don’t know, but certainly as a young lad at the time getting into the scene, that is what it sure felt like to me…
Now, some 4 nearly 5 years later, things have moved on a lot, and changed in a big way. With the ever exponential rise in the power of social media and current trends towards online content and blog posts, the spotlight really is shifting towards the home build, low budget and big skill aspect of VW ownership. Not every car out there is an open chequebook build and the scene’s media should rightfully reflect that.
Another great aspect of establishing the Air Monkeys brand is that we pride ourselves on being approachable, genuinely interested in what people have going on with their builds, the rides they choose to run to shows and the life they choose to lead. It’s a surefire fact that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for people coming forward and introducing themselves!
That is exactly what Ben Monks did when it came to getting his stunning ’67 VW Blue 6 volt 1300 featured here. It all began with a simple email, where Ben went on to explain that he is a Design student from Guildford, aged just 22 at the time, and had not long bought the ’67 (his first Beetle no less!) a little over a year ago, and had now become a fully fledged member of DubAddicts.
For me, Ben’s kind words for Air Monkeys are truly humbling, and it is a genuine honour to have him say, in his own words “the cars you feature inspire me to continually work on my own, making it the best I can on my limited budget.” Exactly the ethos that we try to put out there for Air Monkeys, I only hope that we can return the gratitude to Ben by equally having him inspire you to come forward and approach us. We cant be everywhere at once, so we really do need you to come out the woodwork, stick your head above the parapet and not be afraid to send us that first email! Without you guys we simply can’t do what we do!
Ben actually took around a year to bring himself to get in touch with us, having got the car to where he wanted it first. The ’67 was bought from Steve Parsons, of RSVP, as he was selling up to take on his current split screen camper project. The bug has all matching numbers and came with the original bill of sale when it was bought new! Apparently it’s got some really interesting paper work with it and many original parts!
“However, at the time I bought my bug and it wasn’t in the best condition. I’ve since spent the majority of my savings on it, but it’s starting to look like a car again! Although far from perfect, it is starting to look really cool, I sent it up to Ian Kent of E’s Autos to have a load of welding done, a 4 inch narrowed beam fitted and a new set of American Eagle 5’s put on. I put all my money into my car, but owning a VW is a labour of love, as I have come to learn!”
I’m sure you will see and appreciate the transformation that it has undergone in the last year, having been worked on bit by bit. Ben tells us it’s now running and driving great, with him hoping to only improve it over the next few years! We’ll certainly be keeping a look out for this one!
It’s hard to think that Ben is so very new to VW’s, he tells us it all started last summer when he got himself a short term job, and wanting to sell his ’04 BMW Mini because it had just been going on too long and everything was starting to break, so was looking to get an old Land Rover Defender, something he could play around with without too much trouble.
“I came in to work one day, and in the carpark was Alex Burnett’s (@slammedelux on Instagram) ’66 Ruby Red bug, slammed and sitting beautifully. I hadn’t even considered a Beetle. My Mum had a new one, which I despised. I hated driving it and I wasn’t a fan of the flower she kept on the dash board. Never the less I was stunned by Alex’s car and so I got talking to him at work, and we soon became friends, with both our other halves getting annoyed at how much time we spent talking about Beetles and the different looks and approaches over the years, I was hooked! So I got on and sold my Mini, a week later I was traveling up to Redditch to have a look at a bug that Alex had found me!”
I’m sure you’ll agree that were glad to be bringing you a feature on this gorgeous ’67 bug rather than a Landy, right? A truly inspiring car, which perfectly sums up the mantra of what this whole thing should be about in this hobby of ours! We’ll be watching Ben’s progress as we’re sure you will want to, as well – follow him on Instagram (@benjaminmonks) and I’m sure Ben would be truly honoured to inspire others, as he has been.