[EXCERPT FROM ISSUE 1.07]
I believe the words you’re looking for right now are, “What the hell? Why is THIS ‘the effing cover?’” It’s okay. At first glance, you might just see a ratted-out Volkswagen Jetta. It looks like it’s parked in a jungle even when it’s parked at the shopping center. You see the forced rust, you pick up the socialist theme, and now you’re fully invested in exploring this one-of-a-kind machine in-depth.
Look at that picture again. I bet you see something new this time. That’s how it all starts. The little Vento catches your eye and draws you in. Next thing you know, you’re lost in the jungle, trying to make your way back to whatever you were doing previously. That’s why this story is in this issue. How this story came to be – in the last week of the month, no less – is why it’s “the effing cover.”
Henry attended North Diamond’s Tuning 4 Kids (T4K) show this summer. And when Bodo and Florian sent me pictures from the event to go with that story (see page 10 in this issue), one of them was of Henry’s Vento. I couldn’t stop looking at it. I asked my friend Bodo if he knew the owner.
Bodo didn’t know the owner, but tapped his contacts to see if anyone did. When he located Henry, he not only offered to translate and pass along my interview questions to Henry, but he also translated Henry’s responses, making the story possible. He even sourced a bunch of additional pictures of the ratty V-dub and shared them with me via Facebook.
Just a couple days before press time, however, I realized the pictures Bodo sent on Facebook were too small to work in print (remember, you can order printed copies from our Blurb bookstore). Some of the pictures had watermarks on them with the photographer’s name. On a hunch, I googled “Sven Martens Photography.”
I ended up on Sven’s Facebook page, which is filled with incredible, mostly Volkswagen, pictures. I sent him a Facebook message, which I knew would end up in his “other” inbox because we weren’t connected at the time. Despite this – and my “noch schrecklich” German – he replied within 24 hours – in “nicht schrecklich” English – sharing a Dropbox folder of full-res pictures for the story.
Henry’s Vento is an amazing machine. It’s a testament to the lengths we’ll go to realize our automotive goals. When everything comes together right, the machines become more than the sum of their parts. The fact that you’re reading a bi-lingual feature on it in this magazine is a testament to the lengths we go to help our gearhead brothers and sisters achieve those goals. When we come together, we become more than the sum of our parts.
WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT
- how Henry Clausnitzer, 25, of Meissen, in eastern Germany, developed an interest in vehicle modification and has been involved in motorsport (karting) since he was 8
- why he’s done modified his VW Vento like this
- how his car is certified as Autobahn-legal by the TÜV
- how he came to his Cuban/jungle/socialist theme
- where he found many of his old DDR props
- how long it takes him to setup and teardown his display at car shows
- the most difficult and rewarding aspects of the project
- and what’s next for this machine
Oh, and did I mention this is another bi-lingual interview? That’s right. It’s in both German and English.
(Mein Deutsche ist noch schrecklich!)
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?
The rest of the story, including 10 full-color pictures, ran in issue 1.07 of Gearbox Magazine back in August. We’re still small enough – and hungry enough – that if you subscribe to Gearbox Magazine before the end of September, we’ll make sure you get the password to accessissue 1.07 and 1.08 as a bonus. That means you’ll get 14 issues of Gearbox Magazine for the price of a 12-month subscription – just US$15!
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