Thump! Thump! were a Volkswagen auto stylists in the late 1980’s and 1990’s run by Jay Townsend and Gary Constable. They became famous for creating some of the most outlandish Volkswagens the British VW scene had ever seen, the most famous of which is a certain VW Beetle named Billabug, based around the ‘Billabong’ surf wear!
They also produced Targa Beetles, Custom, Stock, Resto-Cal . . . they did it all and then some. Also producing a wide range of spares for your VW with many parts being sought after today, over twenty years later. Most of the Thump! Thump! cars are still around today and sometimes picking up the odd trophy along the way some 20+ years along the line!
So, what happened before Thump Thump? Well, pull up a sandbag and let’s chew some fat . . .
Jay got in to Volkswagens in about 1980 when he bought a red 1303s Campaign model Bug. After reading an article in a Hot Rod and Custom UK Magazine by a guy called Pat Ganahl he was hooked! He read and read that article and was soon planning out some changes to his first VW Bug.
In 1981 he took a trip to LA and visited all the major players in the US VW scene like Berg, Top Line etc and now he was well and truly was hooked.
The red VW 1303S was never to be the same again and received many new parts from the trip to LA like new carbs and Gene Berg goodies that were hard to find in the UK at the time.
Modifications that were the hot ticket back in the day like the rear frenched number plate and aerial, T-Bars, custom exhaust etc. soon began appearing. After the red 1303s Mr.T moved on to another project, a complete body off resto of a 1954 oval window Beetle. He completed all of the work himself in his Dad’s single garage. Often grinding and spraying late in to the night to get the car ready, fortunately he had understanding neighbours!
Fast forward to 1988 and Jay had completed his last project “The Duke” which was featured in many ‘How To’ in the early VolksWorld magazine’s. He became the manager at the new Big Boys Toys (BBT) VW store in Essex and Gary Constable used to pop in. Gary had just come back from California and was looking for a good bodywork guy. Jay was getting a bit fed up at BBT and decided two weeks into a mortgage on his new flat to set up Thump Thump with Gary.
Darren Brind came into BBT and asked he knew anyone that could spray his VW Notch. . . “Sure I did, me!” was the reply. Darren handed over a deposit for a paint job and that day Jay had to go and find a workshop, basically his money started Thump! Thump! After paying the months rent up front they had £10.00 in the bank.
Sadly Thump! Thump! closed their doors in 1995 with Jay and Gary going their separate ways. Gary went to work for a custom car shop in America and Jay has gone on to open his new business, Bakebean Design.
Who knows they may even open their doors for a second time?