She's a Survivor: Dotty the Oval Goes to Classics at the Clubhouse

She's a Survivor: Dotty the Oval Goes to Classics at the Clubhouse

Part of the JK Team
Published 20 June 2024
Carolyn Kirvan-Cranfield

This month Caz from the JK Team took her 1956 Oval Beetle to Classics in the Clubhouse 2024 and had her beloved VW, Dotty, set up in the show's Survivor Display. 

Here's what Caz wrote about the event, and having Dotty be a part of the display:


To many (unknowing) people Dotty strikes as pretty unremarkable. Her battered (heavily patinated) spotty appearance, original stance and state mean she’s easily overlooked as a much later, fairly unloved vehicle.

People will always be drawn by shiny paintwork, newly restored gems and meaty engines that roar – when Dotty utters more of a polite cough.

In truth, it can be a bit gutting to watch people nonchalantly wander past with no idea just how amazing it is that she is here at all.

Don’t get me wrong we are under no illusions as to just how special she is – or what a responsibility it is to be her custodian.

She is an old lady who deserves a lot of love, respect, and protection. 

Manufactured in 1954, Dotty is a 1955 Deluxe RHD VW Beetle that was made for the UK market. She maintains her original paint, has had only a small weld repair in 1990-something(!), is still 6V, has all her original interior and came with the original matching number 30 hp engine. For a RHD UK Oval she is quite an unusual beast.

So, when Classics at the Clubhouse issued this request…

We are looking for 'Survivor Cars' from the air-cooled world, vehicles which are still wearing their original paint, original interior, fresh from a barn or lock up.

Patina, dust, rust and must - is a must. 

We knew Dotty had found her people! 

We know Classics at the Clubhouse well. It’s a great show that we really enjoy attending.

So, we were fully aware of just how invested PJ and the team are in honouring all manner of Air-cooled Classics. It’s a beautiful setting and the attention to detail the CATC team put into ensuring these cars are celebrated for their unique flavour is very impressive, so we knew it was going to be special.

Up to this point we have vehemently refused (no matter the invitation) to risk introducing Dotty to moisture. So desperate are we to maintain her current state.

After being accepted to the Survivor Display, we had a nervous wait to see if the weather was going to play ball - despite the Met office assurances of no rain – we still had reason to use the insanely small wipers enroute! Curse you, British “Summer”!

Thankfully, by the time we arrived, the sun was shining bright as we were directed to a newly cleared, wooded area to one side of the golf course. As soon as we drove in, we knew this was going to be a special display (and experience) – one that we are unlikely to experience again (unless we manage to score an invite back again next year!)

Hidden to one side of the fairway a canopy of trees invited us to a clearing made perfect for gracing these once forgotten beauties. It was quite the collection.

Evocative of the best type of VW haven every turn of this wooded glade yielded yet more treasure.

With stories as varied as the histories they carry. Every one of these vehicles is a survivor. A miracle of chance and circumstance. Each worthy of celebration. And that’s exactly what PJ and the team did. Away from the gleaming stunners, which mirrored the perfectly manicured lawns of the golf course, a secret lay hidden in the heart of the woods. 

Kissed by dappled sunlight they had a moment to shine – and shine they did. 

We’d like to thank PJ and the whole team at Classics at the Clubhouse for their hospitality and for honouring the history of these incredible survivors – it was great to be a part of it.

Words and pictures: Carolyn Kirvan-Cranfield

1 month ago