Classic Volkswagen vans live on at Belfast’s Beetle Shop

Posted Nov. 05, 2013, at 5:32 a.m.
Ian Pottle places his hand on a 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia while giving a tour of The Beetle Shop in Belfast that focuses on repairing Volkswagens especially VW buses and camper vans. The shop has been open since 1977 and was recently handed down to Pottle by his father Allen Pottle.
Ian Pottle places his hand on a 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia while giving a tour of The Beetle Shop in Belfast that focuses on repairing Volkswagens especially VW buses and camper vans. The shop has been open since 1977 and was recently handed down to Pottle by his father Allen Pottle.
Ian Pottle is the proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast which opened in 1977 and was handed down to him from his father, Allen.
Ian Pottle is the proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast which opened in 1977 and was handed down to him from his father, Allen.
VW vans fill the parking lot at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. The shop has seen an uprise in the amount of VW camper vans being serviced and repaired over the last two years.
VW vans fill the parking lot at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. The shop has seen an uprise in the amount of VW camper vans being serviced and repaired over the last two years.
Tires are stacked on the side of The Beetle Shop in Belfast. Ian Pottle, the owner of the shop gave a tour and talked about the history and business at the shop.
Tires are stacked on the side of The Beetle Shop in Belfast. Ian Pottle, the owner of the shop gave a tour and talked about the history and business at the shop.
According to Ian Pottle, proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast, the shop has seen a rise in repairs for Volkswagen campers and vans in the last two years.
According to Ian Pottle, proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast, the shop has seen a rise in repairs for Volkswagen campers and vans in the last two years.
Ian Pottle is the proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast which opened in 1977 and was handed down to him from his father, Allen.
Ian Pottle is the proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast which opened in 1977 and was handed down to him from his father, Allen.
From left, Bradley Williams shows Ian Pottle an old Beetle manual he ordered off of eBay. Pottle is the proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast which opened in 1977 and was handed down to him from his father, Allen.
From left, Bradley Williams shows Ian Pottle an old Beetle manual he ordered off of eBay. Pottle is the proprietor of The Beetle Shop in Belfast which opened in 1977 and was handed down to him from his father, Allen.
Bradley Williams leaves The Beetle Shop in Belfast after he was given a screw for a distributor by Ian Pottle, the proprietor of the shop.
Bradley Williams leaves The Beetle Shop in Belfast after he was given a screw for a distributor by Ian Pottle, the proprietor of the shop.
Old photos hang on a cork board at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. The shop has seen a rise in the amount of VW camper vans being serviced and repaired over the last two years.
Old photos hang on a cork board at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. The shop has seen a rise in the amount of VW camper vans being serviced and repaired over the last two years.
An old license plate hangs on a shelf at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. The shop has seen a rise in the amount of VW camper vans being serviced and repaired over the last two years.
An old license plate hangs on a shelf at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. The shop has seen a rise in the amount of VW camper vans being serviced and repaired over the last two years.
A smiley face sticker is stuck to the dashboard of a VW Van at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. Ian Pottle, the owner of the shop gave a tour and talked about the history and business at the shop.
A smiley face sticker is stuck to the dashboard of a VW Van at The Beetle Shop in Belfast. Ian Pottle, the owner of the shop gave a tour and talked about the history and business at the shop.

A rainbow of color in the form of Volkswagen vans lined the parking lot of The Beetle Shop on a recent weekday in Belfast.

Shaped like toaster ovens and retrofitted for multiday excursions, many of the VWs are camper-style vans. Crammed inside are a sink, stove, removable table, multiple beds and a fridge. The interiors were immaculate in some of the vans, despite being almost 30 years old.

“Any other car would be worn out, probably thrown away at this point.” said Ian Pottle, the shop’s current proprietor.

The small two-bay automotive repair shop was started in 1977 by Ian’s father, Allen Pottle, to service the high volume of VWs needing repairs at the time. Pottle said more of his business is now coming from camper van repair.

“These have stuck around because I think they represent an idea more than anything else, the idea of travel and adventure,” said Pottle.

More slideshows

SEE COMMENTS →

ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business
ADVERTISEMENT | Grow your business