Owen Mulliss of Haumoana loves the venerable Volkswagen marque but the obvious question had to be asked. Where's the beetle?
``I prefer Kombi's, Kombi's are my thing,' replies Mr Mulliss, who is president of the Hawke's Bay Volkswagen Club which is hosting the Eurocity Volkswagen Nationals 2009 rally.
Next weekend the hills and dales of Hawke's Bay will be alive to the distinctive sound of the ``boxer' engined ``veedubs' as about 250 enthusiasts gather to parade their vehicles and take a cruise around the Tukituki Valley.
Mr Mulliss has owned beetles in the past but loves the freedom of travelling around in his Kombi and going camping.
``That's what is so great about it, we just load up the Kombi and go.'
Mr Mulliss, who owns a 1972 VW Kombi and a 1968 VW ``Vari ant' said it was quite a ``coup' for the local club to host the nationals considering it had only been in existence three or four years.
The club has about 40 members with around half ``die-hard' fans of the car manufacturer.
He expected between 200 and 250 VW lovers to come to Napier for the event, bringing with them between 150 and 200 cars.
These will range from the earliest Kombi vans made in the 1950s to more recent models including a Kombi van which was actually used as an ambulance in Invercargill.
``Its actually got the proper blue light on it as well,' Mr Mulliss said.
The event will kick off on Easter Friday and include a barbecue on the Saturday and a cruise on Sunday through the Tukituki Valley before the riders gather at Perfume Point at East Pier for a group photo.
Mr Mulliss encouraged the public to come along for the car show on Saturday where all the cars will be lined up south of the National Aquarium on Marine Parade.