Visit Bainsvlei to catch a ride back in time

Car enthusiast Gerhard Ryksen stands next to favorite car at the Volksie Museum. PHOTO: GYPSEENIA LION

Located in the heart of Bainsvlei, Bloemfontein, a car lover’s heaven owned by Volkswagen (VW) collector and enthusiast, Gerhard Ryksen, is home to around 50 VW classic and vintage cars and Kombi’s.

The latest being a 1995 Kombi and the oldest being an aircooled 1979 Kombi. What is commonly known as the Volksie Museum, will this year celebrate 10 years of calling the City of Roses its home.

The 25-year-old business is much more than just a company for Gerhard but forms a great part of who he is.

“I grew up in a Volkswagen station wagon that my dad bought when I was born. That car went with us through high school and in my matric year I bought my first Beetle. I fixed it up a little bit, sold it and bought another one and just went on from there.”

All the cars are in running condition and gets driven once a month. PHOTO: GYPSEENIA LION

The idea to open the museum dawns from a self-taught hobby of fixing cars – VW to be specific – to collecting cars as old as from the 1970’s and the 1980’s.

“We tend to find that the younger generation don’t appreciate original cars that much, they want to pimp it and lower it but that takes a lot of the value away. There are very little young people who preserves original cars,” he said.

He adds that it is very nostalgic. “If you look back ten to twenty years from where you were and realise what you have collected over the years, there are a lot of memories that come with that. Today you can look at them and see it was worthwhile to put in the effort,” Ryksen says.

Gerhard Ryken next to the VW SP2. PHOTO: GYPSEENIA LION

He recounts the memories he spent on the road in search of the perfect collectable. After years he finally pumped brakes on his search for one of the only three VW SP2’s in the country. “I have been hunting for that car for quite a while and eventually, I managed to buy that car after I have been begging the previous owner monthly, wanting to buy the car. Back then I had to sell my house to be able to buy that car.”

When looking to add to his collection, he looks at anything air cooled, Beetles and Kombi’s. “For the museum I prefer one-owner cars. They are still original unrestored cars. I try and retain the most unrestored cars. It was a lot of driving, a lot of going all over the country to find cars, look at cars, so the effort that was put in, I now reap the rewards on that,” says Ryksen.

For those who would like to go back in time, the museum is open on weekdays during office hours, visits are by appointment only.

“I take the guys on a tour through the museum. It usually takes about an hour plus to go through the museum and I tell you the story of the different cars and where they come from and then answer questions.”

Contact Gerhard Ryksen at the Volksie Museum: 051 451 1005

The museum is home to around 50 cars with the oldest being a 1955 kombi and the latest is an aircooled 1979 kombi. PHOTO: GYPSEENIA LION

Gypseenia Lion