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SYNCRO MODELS - ALL HOSES NOW AVAILABLE! We are very pleased to report that we are now having the five hoses manufactured that had gone obsolete for Syncro models. These hoses are
If you had previously purchased a Syncro hose kit that was missing these hoses, you can purchase the 5 "here", and if you are interested in the currently complete hose kit for Syncro's then "here"you go. These hose are made of silicone and will last longer and hold up better to heat and the elements than conventional rubber. Lots of things brewing at the Cafe.....


THERE ARE VANAGONS DOWN UNDER! We sit here in our little neck of the world and ponder where else in the world did VW export Vanagons back in the day, that might give life to still thriving Vanagon enthusiasts and communities today. While we slave away here packaging all manner of Vanagon parts to send out to various obscure corners of the planet, some destinations will reoccur with more frequency and let us piece together where they are all hiding. Well, if we had ever wondered if our right-hand drive friends down under knew about Vanagons, this was the year we heard a resounding yes that the Vanagon is alive and well there. When I visited your fine country in the 80's everyone seemed to drive a Holden, so I am happy to hear there's a little more variety now. First and foremost we would like to thank all of our Australian customers for their business and support this year. We do realize that shipping costs are a major factor and we work hard to figure the best, affordable option in each case. We do want to highlight a few initiatives we have been working on. As you may already know, for many smaller, light weight items US Post Priority Mail cannot be beat (especially when it fits into their special flat rate boxes). But for packages over 20 lbs and slightly larger dimensions, we have recently negotiated more favorable rates with DHL for our international shipping - they are fast and have the added bonus that, although they will collect duties, they are not charging a brokerage fee (as UPS and Fedex tend to do). Additionally,we know that each individual international transaction carries costs and we are aware that there may be other items in the US that you are interested in purchasing. We are always willing to accommodate your needs. Want to purchase something on ebay? Win the bid and have it shipped to us. Want something from one of the other Vanagon vendors that we don't offer - just let us know and we'll get it for you. Same for items that have nothing to do with Vanagons (but do discuss it with us first). We will consolidate your orders and ship it all as one order. We appreciate your business and will do what it takes to earn it.


THE GERMANS VISITED! You'd think the Queen was coming with the frantic shop clean up that took place last month. But we didn't say the British are coming and we understand Her Majesty had other commitments last month. No, the effort was put forth for the Germans. We wrote months ago how pleased we were that VW was putting resources into a division called Classic VW for the purpose of supporting models from the past - a very positive development for both owners of Vanagons and the businesses that provide for them. We rejoiced in the ability to purchase previously thought obsolete parts such as factory fiberglass bumpers, power steering lines, mud flaps, fan resisters, and more.... along with the prospect that there will be other parts in the future coming back from the dead.
To show the depth of their commitment to this program, representatives from Classic VW have come to the US to visit shops to both elaborate on the direction they are going and to let us know about products they have in the works. In a two-way conversation, the reps were very receptive to our requests and observations regarding important parts that we feel they should consider working on. We are humbled and honored that we are on their radar and that we were included as one of their stops. We do realize they are visiting other important vendors while they are here and we applaud their business sense and this strategy as we are all in this together and it again bodes well for both the health of our Vanagon-centric businesses and our ability to provide the parts you need.
I do have to share that the visit was very rewarding personally. From years ago purchasing my first VW bus and learning how to maintain it, using those skills to put myself through college, and then starting the shop, a visit by representatives of VW of Germany was kind of like the Queen visiting. Now, I'm still not sure I'm ready to forgive these guys for their legal department coming after us for our original name, Volks Cafe, but this did go a long way toward evening the score :)


OUR JAPANESE CUSTOMERS Now for a serious note. For the first ten years of starting and developing the business, it was very rewarding to nurture the sense that we were part of the community. We provided jobs for local people; we provided a service for local residents. The transition to the website changed that community from simply the local geographic one to the increasingly worldwide one where our common interest focused around the vehicle, but the lessons we learned about being part of the community, although now larger, were still important to us. Words cannot express the heartfelt concern that we feel for our Japanese friends. The current count is
11,378 dead and 16,541 still missing
19,019 houses completely destroyed.
172,415 people evacuated.
A nuclear crisis relentlessly weighing on their minds.
Many people are losing their jobs.
We would like to thank all of our friends and customers all over the world for contributing to the success of our business and putting us into the fortunate position to be able to offer some help. We will be donating $2000 per month for the next three months to the Japanese chapter of the Red Cross Society www.jrc.or.jp/english/relief/l4/Vcms4_00002070.html We would like to encourage others, both customers and businesses, to contribute a little if possible.

We would like to share a little Van-Cafe history. No one individual has been more instrumental to us in expanding our business in Japan than Mr. Take Uemura. Besides being a good friend, over the past 8 years he has coordinated large shipments of parts to the many members of the Vanagon club, VNMC, in Japan. He has assimilated, screened, and translated as many as 50 orders at a time, making our job easy to then individually box these orders, pile them on pallets, ship them to Japan, where he then distributed them to the many club members. We appreciate all of our Japanese customers for their patronage of our business both through the VNMC group orders and also to the many individuals that we communicate with and do business with directly. Our wishes are with all of you. We know you face a lot of difficulties but we know you will work together and get through this.


MONTHLY UPDATE Let's cover a few other topics. A lot of products came back into stock this past month along with some new items that we have been working on. We wanted to draw attention to a few of these here:
Complete Camper Hook Up Kits
Fan Controller (the latest gadget)
LED light kits (exterior) Small / Big
Weitec Lowering Springs
German Window Vents
Manual Steering Racks are back too.
Items that have just entered the building and we need a chance to load on the site include:
Syncro 16" Fender Flare Set
Stainless Steel Push Rod Tube Protective Covers
Syncro Gas Tank Straps
Front Door Map Pockets
If you had missed the recent note about items from VW Germany that have reappeared, please scroll down past the next few segments and please read up.


And it also sure feels like we have turned the corner on another matter. As Vanagon enthusiasts we've all come to take for granted our treatment as forgotten children by VW. The relentless reduction in support for the Vanagon has been alarming to both Vanagon owners and those of us whose businesses focus on said marvel of engineering. But straight from the fatherland, a division of VW, focusing on Classic VW parts, has thrown us a lifeline and we are breathing a sigh of relief. So far we've got highlights listed below of items that we had previously been told were obsolete and did not expect to see again (at least from VW). We are anxious to see what else our benevolent hosts will surprise us with and certainly hope this trend will continue:
Fan Resisters

Mud Flaps - Front / Rear

Rear Fiberglass Bumpers - Center / Right / Left

Power Mirror Glass -Driver/ Passenger


HEAVY DUTY BUMPERS Bumpers - It's time for a change! Our tubular bumpers have served us well for over 10 years, but we are excited to be offering a new set of heavy duty bumpers. These Rocky Mountain bumpers are far more substantial than the stock chrome or fiberglass bumpers and have multiple options for accessories (including front bull bar, tire carrier, shackles, and storage bins). We are pleased that these bumpers are within acceptable dimensions to ship by UPS, avoiding costly freight truck shipping. They sport a more stylish look than other available heavy duty bumpers. To view pricing and options to purchase the bumpers as a set, individually, and along with their accessories, please put HDB (for Heavy Duty Bumpers) in the search field.

Front Heater Cores are Back!

Front Heater Cores are Back! We would like to draw attention to the our new front heater cores. Although domestically made ones have been admirably filling the void for the past few years, we have found a supply out of the UK, made by Behr, that offers a quality, more affordable option. Although Behr did not originally make these for the Vanagons, they are an original equipment manufacturer and they produce the radiator that we have been selling for years.


15 Update 11-10 - Center Caps - Good news / Bad news - some center caps have finally arrived......but they only fit Syncro's. They are not deep enough for the wheel bearing caps on the front of 2wd's. At least we are making progress. For 2wd, we have not given up - please continue to be patient, we are working on making those. We intend to sell the 15" and 16" steel wheels for a long time and know it is important to have this finishing touch.
Update 08-10 - Center Caps - I apologize, but this was out of our control. Company in Germany claimed they had quantity requested; gave us a bill; we paid. Nothing but run around and excuses since then and now the truth comes out and they don't have but a small percentage of what they claimed. We are looking into alternatives but just being straight - this will take some more time.
Update 07-30 - All pre orders have been shipped or picked up. Still working on getting the center caps - the company we are getting them from is being quite difficult to deal with. There are still quite a few 15's remaining More 16's are on order for those who missed the boat on this one. We will post more details as they develop - at the moment it looks like April time frame for delivery.


CO-CONSPIRATORS WANTED! When I tell people that the crux of our business is based on supplying parts for VW Vanagons - vehicles that have not been in production for close to 20 years - the reaction is often one of skepticism. You may have gotten a similar reaction when trying to justify to a neighbor, coworker, or more likely a spouse the money invested in your prized Vanagon for an engine conversion along with various accessories and upgrades. Truth is, we are both a little nuts, but life would be boring if we were always rational. I have to admit that I feel very fortunate to be able to cover the shop overhead and the employee wages in a place like Santa Cruz (not to mention supporting my lavish lifestyle) all while working at a job that I very much enjoy. But, it is our sense that life in the Vanagon world has just started to get a bit more challenging.
Ready availability of almost all essential parts has been a given, up to this point. Most out of stock items have tended to be non-essential accessories that we import and which periodically suffer from gaps between orders. But, recently we have witnessed a rather significant number of common and important Vanagon part numbers having been deleted from VW's database. As the herd of Vanagons has thinned over the years, aftermarket companies may not step in to fill this void. Some of us vendors will take the initiative to fabricate some of these items, but we are also aware that many resourceful Vanagon owners and shops have done and will continue to do this too.

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