In the early 1960's Mike Griffin started Cartune. The company manufactured and sold performance parts for Aircooled VW's from their premises in Ashford Middlesex. They also expanded into a VW dealership in Middlesbrough around 1967. From there they sold their performance parts and new Volkswagens, some of which were sold with Cartune parts fitted, which sounds a little familiar to the EMPI story to me.
Cartune also had a hand in Motorsport, most notably in rallying. Drag racing is by far the most popular form of Air-cooled motor sport these days thanks to the Cal-Look explosion, but back then in the U.K. the Beetle had a good reputation on the rough stuff thanks to the VW's rugged build quality. Cartune were able to sponsor several competition cars, such as Francis Tuthill's London to Sydney Beetle and Peter Noad's rally / autocross car.
Remarkable to think that right here in the U.K, In the 60's and 70's, we had a company offering tuning parts for VW's, many of them unique and built in house, yet they are seldom mentioned anywhere. The memory of Cartune has mainly been consigned to the odd mention in magazines and a handful of posts on internet forums.
I have been collecting Cartune parts for the last 10 years which is pretty difficult due to the rarity of the parts. I suspect that a lot of the parts met their fate as the Beetle fell out of favour and littered many scrapyards across the country. It also didn't help that Cartune missed out on the "new wave" VW boom in the mid to late 80's in the U.K. I'm sure if they could have held out for another decade at least, they would be more prominent, but who could have guessed how big the VW scene would eventually become!
I find it such a glaring ommision that a little part of our own VW performance history got left behind, so finding the parts and Information about the company has been a real labour of love for me. You can come to a dead end pretty quickly online, so It's taken a lot of old issues of VW Safer motoring and other magazines just to put this small web page together. Having said that It's been satisfying for me to have put the information together into one place and bring the story back to life. They were pretty pioneering at the time and have had little recognition in VW circles. I'd like to think I could change that.
I have also inculded a short page dedicated to Peter Noad. Without his journalism and championing of the VW as a race car, this page would have been much more diffficult to create.
My plan is to reproduce some of the original, unique, Cartune VW Accessories, starting with the superb exhaust Taper Tips. Of the parts that I've collected I feel they are really well engineered and have stood the test of time. I'm convinced they still have a place in the current VW scene. A small range of apparel and merchandise will also run alongside the parts, so make sure you check that out as well. Also on this page is a photo gallery featuring many original images of Cartune cars and parts.
In 2018 I hope to be trading at a few shows with my Cartune tribute Volkswagen Beetle so make sure you pop by and say hello. You can sign up to our mailing list by subscribing below, this way you'll know when new products are available.
Your custom and support is hugely appreciated, whether you buy a set of Tail pipes, T-shirt or even a sticker and be sure to upload your pictures to our Facebook and Instagram pages using #cartunevw.
If you have any other Cartune paraphernalia I'd love to see it. you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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