Dean restored his VW after buying it a little over a year ago. He entered it in its first classic car show last February and, to his surprise, won first in class. So, he decided he’d try his luck at the Bugtober Fest show hosted by the VW Dealership in Chirco, Ariz. With more than 1,200 VWs at the show, the last thing he expected was to win. He wasn’t paying attention when they announced “Dean Suhr” as the second-place winner. He stepped onto the stage to accept his 2nd place trophy; but, before he could walk off, they announced his name as Best in Class. So, how do you win first and second place? Dean said it happens when no one submits a vote for another car.
Dean asked if I noticed the prop in the back of the truck, and I asked if he meant the surfboard. He replied yes, and told me about his San Diego surfing days in ’64 and ’65, where he used to live 50 feet from the ocean. He told me that he used to haul equipment for work every day in a Transporter pickup much like the one he restored.
Dean also told me that he was recently diagnosed with bone cancer in his spine, so he can no longer enjoy wrenching on vehicles. He let me know that he'll be enjoying the VW as much as possible by showing it and attending hobby events. The ’62 VW Transporter pickup is a rarity, with hardly any survivors in the market. Dean paid $8,000 for it unrestored, and kept it a stock survivor. With a 5x9-foot bed, it’s much better for hauling than your standard pickup. But, while Dean’s the owner, it’ll just be hauling a surfboard, picnic basket, and maybe a nice blanket to relax on.
I grew up in Lapeer, Mich. and moved to Traverse City in 2003. I met my husband here and we now live in town with our daughter, Harper June. I would love to restore a 1940s or 1950s workhorse truck, and to counter that, rally around in a 1956 Porsche 356A 1500 GS Speedster. When I can find the time, which is rare, I love to sew and quilt, and make custom jewelry. I feel most at home when I'm out in nature; I would camp in the backcountry most of the year if I could. I downhill ski and try to get up to Mt. Bohemia every year — it's the closest thing to skiing out West here in flatlander country. I also run, bike, play volleyball, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee. I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Park City, Utah. Michigan is definitely home, though, and the water here always calls me back.