Glenn Pablo’s VW Collection

i_IMG_2751Glenn Pablo’s passion for VWs started in the early 1990s when he was building show caliber Lowrider Bicycles and Cars out of his pad by the Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.

“This all started as a challenge by a friend of mine back in 1993,” Pablo recalled, “he said I couldn’t build a Volkswagen, and I proved him wrong with my first 1962 Beetle.”

“I thought that they (VWs) were cheap to build.” Glenn proved himself wrong. Glenn’s attention to detail on his new found love transformed from chroming his Lowrider under carriages, to the locating / restoring (or not) ultra-rare parts, such as steering wheels and horn buttons.

When entering Glenn’s street, one will notice that he is that quintessential guy on the block with all of the toys. His Porsche Gemballa and wife’s Mercedes Benz are posted on the street, and their VWs take up the prime real-estate in their driveway and garage. Glenn even built a 2-car canopy on the right to accommodate two more vehicles on the lot. The VW fanaticism just begins where the sidewalk meets the driveway, with a concourse built ’54, where it’s semaphores are activated on purpose to jolt Glenn’s fellow US Postal employees as they drop off his mail.

“I’ve also got another spot up north with a few more cars,” Glenn said, as he backed out his Oval to make room. His other location houses his ’47 split, more show-stopping VWs, Porsches and Hot Rods.

Is Glenn perhaps the largest collector of VWs in San Diego?

“I’m not the biggest,” mentioned Glenn, “but I’ve got one of the nicer collections.”

Glenn pulled down a white steering wheel from atop amongst his multitude of vintage wheels hanging. The unit was still very white despite it’s 60 year age, and complete with a button depicting a side profile of a woman (like a coin).

“One of my favorite pieces in my collection is this Petri Banjo, it is unrestored (and) complete original with (a) Cameo Medallion Horn Button. What’s interesting about this piece, is when you want to activate the horn, you would touch the chrome horning, (and) depressing the center portion (with the medallion) activates your headlights.” i_IMG_2721

Glenn assessed it’s value at $10,500 and was fortunate to pick it up in 1998, and had to piece it together, which cost him a measly $600.

“The only time I’ve seen this steering wheel being used, (are when) the Volkswagens are worth over six figures.”

A similar Petri wheel with a different medallion sold for $4995 via eBay’s “buy it now” on March 11th, 2015.

Another piece in Glenn’s collection is the Huma horn button which is a multi-control unit. The unit is in NOS condition which are initials for for ‘New Old Stock’. NOS items are generally older, unused items, still within the packaging, with the boxes or display cards having dust from being stored. Glenn quoted that this Shamrock inspired piece can fetch up to $2000 with the right buyer, and he has witnessed used versions go for between $400-$700.

Glenn learned early in the 1990s the significance of quality building, by competing with the Lowriders. He now has the efficiency and immense hands-on (show-car-building) experience to create a masterpiece within the same amount of time as an infant develops in the womb.

“I bought Yolanda’s (Pablo’s wife) car in 2010, and really started its build in 2012, it took me 10-months to build it.” The car was fully restored to its current state by Pablo in house (literally), with the exception of the Haartz convertible top done by SOS Upholstery. 1_IMG_5572_02

The 1966 Kabriolett Beetle Convertible contains a bevy of aftermarket goodies. Pablo’s affinity for the Porsche brand is apparent on this vehicle starting with the Porsche / Mahle Gas burner wheels. The steering wheel, pedal assembly, inner handles, t/s switch and headlights were also sourced from the Porsche 356.

The motor was built by STP (Sean Tate Performance) and sports Weber IDAs on reverse manifolds. Pablo utilized Gene Berg parts used throughout the entire build, including the 5-speed transmission.

Beyond the black paint and Oxen Blood red interior lies the meticulous detail behind a Glenn Pablo build. The seat backs, firewall, trunk panels, interior kick panels, and otter portions had custom bead rolled panels throughout.

“All hardware is polished stainless steel with Billet Anodized Red finishing washers throughout the entire car,” Pablo pointed out on the documentations in his garage.

The back and side walls of his garage are adorned with rare VW memorabilia and photos of his personal builds throughout the 20+ years. If a VW fanatic is looking for a fix in this ruff, he/she would probably die from an overdose of eye-candy present in this garage.

i_IMG_5410Glenn pulled out a brown plastic looking piece that appeared to be a toy cap-gun called a Kami Cigarette Lighter.

“I first saw this bakelite cigarette lighter in 1995, then after 15 years, I was fortunate enough to buy it from an avid BMX Biker,” explained Glenn.

Glenn also mentioned that this is one of the more desirable high-end VW collectibles, because it’s existence is coveted by the Porsche aficionados as well, and it’s fragile bakelite composition in conjunction with it’s “extreme heat” producing purpose, to find a complete functional example, is near-impossible.

When probed about the price he paid, he declined to answer, and when the piece was researched online via google search, not a smidgen on the millions of VW digital archives appeared.

The 1954 Sunroof Beetle that he currently cruises was built from the pan up, 100% restored. It was painted Strato Silver, an original 1954 color. The vehicle has matching numbers and was built to win concours competitions, meaning every addition all the way to the bolts, are original.

Here is a sample video that Mike Madriaga produced / directed for Mike Sommers @ Hot VWs magazine. The video was never published. This is strictly a sample of what Prototype TV is capable of producing in conjunction with a written editorial and photography set, for the new era of digital magazines.

The front fascia sports a Bosch badge bar which mounts a fog and driving light, and the headlights have small halos embedded within the glass. The side mirrors are made by a Swedish company called Albert which Glenn removes when parked, because of the fear that someone might bump into them by accident.


He also installed side windows from the 1953-1955 VW, which pop out to keep the interior confides cool during the California, Santa Ana heat-storms.

Of Glenn’s vast choices of maneuverability, he opted for the Petri Steering with full circle horn ring. His clean interior housed a few more surprises including a Sperrwolf shift lock, a Motorola “Big M” radio, and a Dehne ashtray light.

“The car runs at factory stock height with Boge shocks,” he boldly mentioned as he provided a test drive for the HOT VW online video spectators, to further alleviate any doubt that his cars were built to drive, “….. and the rims are 15″ Smoothies are wrapped with 3″ whitewalls.”

The oval was appraised at $35,000 2 years ago, not taking into the consideration the value increase of the scare vintage period-correct, aftermarket parts that Glenn installed.

The dollar amount of Glenn’s collection takes a backseat to his true inspiration. ‘The Hunt’ for scarce parts is what drives Glenn to do this extreme collecting, with ‘The Build’ being a close second.

“I don’t want your money,” responded Glenn to the notion of selling his complete run of HOT VWs Magazines (starting from 1968 to 2015), “I have that …… but show me a part that I really want, and we can talk trades.”i_IMG_2702