How to Refurbish a Vintage Volkswagen with Randy Slack
Becky Bartkowski Randy Slack's studio space is often mistaken for an auto shop.
"Let's play VWs," Randy Slack says.
It's a phrase the Phoenix artist and his fellow local Volkswagen lovers use when they want to meet up at Kevin Stramandinoli's Phoenix auto shop, Crown Restoration. The shop's a clubhouse of sorts, where Slack geeks out over obscure parts and hard-to-find models.
He's obsessed, he readily admits.
Slack traces his VW fixation back to his childhood. His dad always drove them. His first painting, at age 16, was of a Bug. He remembers sitting in his dad's Beetles in the garage as a kid, playing cars.
Becky Bartkowski Slack's VW bus is named Myrtle.
He's always tinkered with them, he says. And as far as cars go, they're some of the most accessible for aspiring hobbyists because of their simple construction. The obsession kicked in when Slack stopped drinking about nine years ago. He started to channel his free time into restoring vintage Volkswagens.
Currently he has three: a 1951 azure blue Beetle with a split rear window, semaphore turn signals, and a ragtop; a 1960 Westfalia Camper bus named Myrtle painted mango green and seagull gray; and an agave green 1957 right-hand drive Australian Beetle with a sunroof and oval rear window.
They're sitting in his downtown studio space, Legend City. The first two are intact and operable, and the oval's disassembled. With the studio's garage door open, passersby often mistake the art studio for an auto shop. They stop and want pictures with the bus, viewable from the sidewalk along Van Buren Street.