Hawaii Five-5

This semaphored Oval ragtop was basically restored in Washington, then made its way to Honolulu
By R.K. Smith | April 2, 2013



A self-employed electrical contractor, Van Yoshikawa got “hooked on Bugs” years back when his friend Gil took him to the drag races and witnessed fast VWs at Hawaii Raceway Park’s quarter-mile track. Since those days, Van has owned a few V-Dubs (’57 sedan, 54 Oval ragtop, ’56 ragtop, and ’60 Ghia), started and raised a family, grew his Van’s Electric company, then decided to get back into the VW hobby. With limited time for projects, Van opted to find his favorite Bug, a sunroof Oval (commonly called Baby Window in Hawaii), that was pretty much done and easier for him to personalize.
Horsepower for Van’s beauty of a ‘55 Oval, make that “Baby Window,” comes from 1192cc built by Danny Nakanelua who used Wolfsburg West’s repro Okrasa style dual-port kit (heads, intakes, Solex carbs, filters, linkage, etc.).
When his new purchase arrived at the Matson docks of Sand Island, Van was overly excited to see it in person, and he was not disappointed. The bodywork and paint (Strato Silver) were in great condition, and so was its factory-like gray cloth interior, and undercarriage. Mechanical-wise, it drove well, but Van wanted a little more power, so he called fellow VW enthusiast, Danny Nakanelua on the Wahiawa side of Oahu. They got to talking and before they knew it, Van and Danny were ordering NOS Kolbenschmidt pistons from Rich Kimball of Ovals Only in Tustin, California, and also got the ball rolling to obtain Wolfsburg West’s repro Okrasa dual-port engine kit (dual-port heads, dual Solex 32PBIC carbs/intake manifolds, air cleaners, linkage, etc.), thanks to Alex Ching at Island Vee Dub in Honolulu. Also, the engine tin was facelifted gloss black, thanks to Noah at Mekala Powder Coating. Once all the pieces were together, Danny built the new 36-horse-based 1192cc, now with Bosch 010 distributor (overhauled by Jon “J Fats 808” Kahapea), four-tip exhaust, and a few extra ponies.
Interior tricks include Waso shifter lock, rear window Venetian blinds, trip speedo, glove box clock and 100,000 km badges, rear-view mirror clock, Sundial Golden thermometer, & more.
Meanwhile, Van was on the hunt for accessories to spruce-up his Baby Window. From Ethan Bingel (Orange, California) came the Waso shift lock, Eric Moynier supplied the Hazet spare tire tool box, and the glove box clock was provided by Matt’s Bug Parts. More cool items include a trip speedometer, Sundial Golden thermometer, ashtray, rare bud vase (from France), rear-view mirror clock, two 100,000KM badges, Bambus parcel tray, and rear window blinds.
ing, but he says it was all worth it, especially when he’s out on a cruise around the island as onlookers acknowledge his Oval with “shaka” signs, and are in awe of the overall car. A member of the VW Club of Hawaii, Van and his anewed ’55 nabbed a first in class at last year’s club event, the Shaka Weekend car show at Ala Moana Beach Park. When asked how fast will his car will go, his amped-up answer, “60 mph on the H-1 Freeway, and it’s got more!”

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BACKYARD BAJA BUG
No shop-built custom here — the father/son team of Paul and Alex Mulligan of Yorkville, Illinois spent eight years transforming a bare body shell into this amazing long-travel street/off-road machine. You can read all about the build in the November issue of Hot VWs magazine — on-sale September 30th.

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