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  • Erin L. Miller


Updated: Oct 2, 2020

The 14th annual Charlotte Transporter Show topped off at a total of 96 buses in attendance. For those who don't know the term, a Transporter is a series of vans produced by Volkswagen. The local event provides a platform for owners to showcase their Type 2 buses from 1950 to 1979 (i.e., the iconic VW "hippie" buses associated with the Free Love movement).

The show is organized by Monkey Nut, a local shop specializing in maintenance and restoration of vintage Volkswagens. It is at once a car show, a gathering for VW enthusiasts, a promotional event for Monkey Nut, and a tribute to days past. In addition to the buses was an area dedicated to vintage bicycles. Peppered throughout the yard were antique coolers, camping gear, and compact Sears stoves.

The patina feel extended even to the venue, a historic 1850's home owned by Monkey Nut partner Jake Armour that included a yard large enough to house all the visitors. The folks who attend the event are a mélange of Baby Boomers, shop owners, young tattooed revivalists, and family members.

You might wonder how such a large following of German car culture took root in North Carolina. But it's not hard to see that the American South and a love for vintage cars share similar values in slow living and a tactile sense of hard work. Driving a VW bus is an experience in and of itself: an unhurried tour of engine roar, open windows, and fumes. Part of the charm is the likelihood of a breakdown--so you better know your way around the engine.

From the antebellum front porch, contest winners were announced in a number of categories, including the sought-after "Tetanus Prize" for the rustiest bus. Not surprisingly, this year's winner hailed from the Rustbelt state of Ohio.

CTS is a Charlotte staple that attracts visitors from across the East Coast. Despite the 90-degree weather, turnout this year was one of the best on the books.

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