COVER STORY: Oil Slick - Unique teardrop and tow vehicle capture attention
- by Bob Phillips -
People often do a double take when Ry and Christi Scott drive by in their 1968 VW Bug with a tiny barn-wood-covered teardrop in tow. The rustic-looking camper is as much of an eye catcher as the multi-colored car.
My first impression was that the Scotts must be the rat rodders of the teardrop set. The vintage Bug’s unusual paint job and the trailer’s barn-wood look is something to behold. They take the rig to parades and car shows, but they use it for camping, too.
“We can’t travel anywhere without people asking if they can get pictures with our car and trailer,” said Ry, a Wichita, Kansas, business owner. “We love the attention and have plans on building a second trailer for Christi’s 1961 VW Bug.”
The Scotts purchased the home-built teardrop about three years ago. It sits on a hand-built trailer frame with a leaf-spring axle. Sheet aluminum was used for the walls, roof and floor to keep the weight down. Ry said the tongue weight is about 68 pounds and the trailer weighs only about 450 pounds.
“The shape was achieved by taking one-inch angle iron and cutting a slit in one side of the angle iron every one inch,” Ry said, as related to him by the builder. “This allowed the angle iron to be formed into the desired teardrop shape. Once the shape was correct the slits were then spot welded to hold the shape. The hitch had to be specifically designed to be pulled by the VW. The unique hitch was designed and built by John Sainden of Wichita.”
The Scotts wanted the trailer to appear old in keeping with the vintage towing vehicle so they attached aged barn wood to the outside walls. They placed license plates and street signs on the walls to add to the theme. A rack was built on the front for a bike from the late 40s or early 50s, reflecting the camping enjoyment from that period. The fenders are from a Model T Ford, adding realism to the old-time look.
The 1968 Volkswagen tow vehicle named “Oil Slick” has captured attention across the country through media features. The car and teardrop will be featured this summer in an edition of a Volkswagen-themed magazine.
“When I bought the Bug it was about to go to the crusher,” Ry said. “It barely ran and leaked oil everywhere -- hence the name. The paint was an accident. As I was sanding down the flat black paint to get the car ready for painting, I found multiple colors under the black. We fell in love with the uniqueness of the look. We then applied a clear coat to lock in the colors. We enjoy having the only car that has this color and a teardrop that is unique as well.
“I never thought a trailer would bring so much happiness. We love our camper and will never get rid of it. It pulls easily and safely. We are always going to car shows and cruising with other car lovers and we are looking forward to this year’s adventures. We will be traveling out of state for several car shows and will be using the camper far more than we ever have. We look forward to meeting other teardrop owners in our area and spending a lot of time at the lake and other locations.”