6.11.2019Steward Named Passing On The Passion Award Winner
Funfest for Air-Cooled VW 2019
Passing on the Passion Award Travis Steward
“Always a Car/Truck Guy”
In memory of his grandfather....Bud Stull
It was the 1950s and Bud Stull was your typical teenage driver, auto body repairman, and car/truck guru. From racing souped-up Model Ts down two lane roads, to creating a unique combo Chevy truck/Pontiac sedan as well as many Dune Buggies and hot rods, Stull was “Always a Car/Truck guy.”
“His work was his life and passion, and he was good at it,” said Travis Steward, his grandson. “In his free time he would play around with totaled cars that were sitting in the lot.” The aforementioned Chevy truck/Pontiac Sedan project was a result of his need for a shop truck. Not wanting to spend much money, he purchased two totaled vehicles from insurance companies. The “Chevy truck was hit hard in the front, and the other, a Pontiac sedan that was creamed in the rear,” Steward said. While Steward never actually saw the truck/car combo, he said his grandfather’s friends have shared that it looked like it came off the showroom floor.
Stull’s passion for auto body repair began early in his life. He and his father built their auto repair shop by hand in the town of Wood River. A place that literally became a place where the most imaginative, artistic and unusually creative projects ensued. Volkswagen Dune Buggies, trucks, as well as many other hot rod projects were made in that small shop throughout Stull’s lifetime.
Fast forward to the 1970s.
“Owning a business means you are always getting new literature in the mail on state-of-the-art products,” Steward said. “Bruce had already started his west surge of Beach Buggies, and there were not many in the Midwest yet.” One day a pamphlet arrived in the mail that stated “Buy in bulk and save,” Steward said. It was a brochure from Kellison.
Stull’s background in the industry gave him insight into how a Dune Buggy was made, Steward said. He knew how to take a VW and turn it into a Dune Buggy by removing the body, add a little cutting and fiberglass, and voila, you have a Dune Buggy.
It wasn’t long before the Always a Car/Truck guy started making one to two Dune Buggies a month, advertising them for sale in the local newspaper.
Soon Stull’s four children entered their driving years. Each of them started driving with a Volkswagen Bug. The cars were worked on daily or weekly, according to Steward.
Another recollection of Steward’s is when his grandfather built a beautiful 1966 Bug that won an award at Funfest. He said his grandfather’s good friend owns it today. In his early years, Steward also remembers seeing a few rail buggies around his grandfather’s shop.
The Ultimate Project for Stull and his wife was yet to come. “With his vision, his next build became his favorite of all time, and grandma’s too,” said Steward. “He built a VW bug truck. Yes, of course, it was already complete, but he put his touch on it. Anyone that knew him knew it would turn out spectacular,” said Steward.
In his true fashion, it had a stake bed, painted with flattened clear. But what made this unique was the decal he had on the doors: ‘Bud’s Buggy Barn.’”
In 2013, Stull sold the truck through Gateway Classic Cars. (Little did Steward know then that one day he would be able to track down this vehicle, after his grandfather’s passing, and purchase it as his own on Ebay.)
Steward’s Grandfather Bud was soon onto another Dune Buggy project, along with working on his Cushman scooter. “I was over at his place as often as possible to learn as much as possible,” said Steward.
Steward is nominating his grandfather posthumously. Sadly, Bud Stull passed away in April of last year, leaving a Buggy In Progress in his garage. Of course, their family was struck with grief. Steward’s Grandmother soon decided to part with the Buggy in Progress because she wanted to use the garage space. Steward said he wasn’t going to let it leave the family. He purchased it, and added it to his collection that now totals four VWs.
Steward said he was able to start pursuing his own VW passion several years ago. He built a big garage, bought tools and his first VW rail project. He came upon an opportune fiberglass project. His collection was starting. It wasn’t long before he owned four VWs.
As for sharing how he was able to track down his grandfather’s Bud’s Buggy Barn project, he said he was at work one day scrolling for VW parts and it just popped up on his screen. Determined that no one was going to own it but him, he secured the online deal immediately.
Steward had the SLUGTRUCKat Funfest for Air-Cooled VW 2019!
Thank you Travis for sharing your story and your continued loyalty to the VW hobby.