When you think about a road trip to Sylhet, you’d never imagine it the way members of VW Fan Club have done it. This trip to Sylhet wasn’t an ordinary one by any means. In fact, I would rate it nothing short of ‘next level’ altogether. Going on a road trip in a climate controlled European exotic is fun but what’s thrilling is taking over half a dozen classic Volkswagens, each being almost as old as the country being driven on, on a 600km road trip.
Md. Didarul Islam Sujan, popularly known as Sujan VW, is a collector of classic Volkswagen cars in Bangladesh. Being among the founding members of VW Fan Club Bangladesh which was established in 1992, Mr. Sujon has also been a part of the club’s Sylhet trip. VW Fan Club Bangladesh is one of the oldest active car owners groups in Bangladesh and team Turbine has had the amazing opportunity to have a chat with Mr. Sujan to have an insight on the Club’s recent trip to Sylhet.
“Our trip started on Thursday, 6th January 2022 and we returned back to Dhaka on Saturday, the 8th.” Mr. Sujan mentioned during the interview, “The end point of the trip was at Sreemangal and members of the VW Fan Club Bangladesh, started the trip from Dhaka early in the morning. The crew for the road trip consisted of 7 classic Volkswagen all of which were tastefully restored to their former glory.”
Among the 7 cars which were part of the trip, Mr. Sujan’s Volkswagen Type 2 Bus was the most unique of them all. According to him, this is a car which was restored by him all the way back in 2004 and is currently the only running Type 2 Bus in the country at the time of writing.
“Our VW Fan Club Bangladesh have been on countless trips during the last 25 years.” said Mr. Sujan, “However, this was the club’s first ever road trip since the pandemic started and also the first ever road trip with my Type 2 Bus ever since I restored it 18 years ago.”
What kinds of problems did the members have to face when taking such vintage cars to a road trip?
“To be fairly honest, there were barely any hiccups which we faced all throughout the trip.” Sujan confirmed, “All the 7 Volkswagens handled the hilly roads perfectly. The oldest Volkswagen present was a 1966 Beetle if I remember the model year correctly. However, all of the cars performed amazingly well and even beyond our expectations at times. The reason for that I would say is the timely maintenance the club members have been doing to their Volkswagens since day one.”
What advice would you like to give to the petrolheads wanting to go on road trips using restored vintage cars?
“I think many people, who are new in this field of restoring cars, have very little idea about the process. Restoration doesn’t really mean repainting a car to make it look pretty to the eyes! Rather, a proper restoration job includes fixing everything that’s possibly wrong with the car and that includes both internal and external work.
Besides, if someone really plans on taking any restored car on a road trip, then I would advise the person to roam around the city with the car for a few days and find out about any unknown issues that the car might have. Moreover, the owner of the car must also learn some basic preliminary troubleshooting work before going on long trips.”
Does VW Fan Club Bangladesh have any such future road trips of events coming up ahead?
“Yes definitely! VW Fan Club has been one of the most active car groups of Bangladesh. We’re already making plans to go on another road trip to Cox’s Bazar very soon. Besides, we also plan to go to Khagrachori and Sajek with our classic Volkswagen cars in the near future. However, it’s still uncertain when we will be able to do it because of the ongoing pandemic.”