SP Rides: A Beetle Named Annabelle


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By Michael Kitchens

Owner: Piony Omoso
Age: 53
Occupation: City & County Transportation
Hobbies: Surfing, Grandkids, & My Wife
Year/Make/Model: 1955 VW Beetle Oval
Color: Baby Blue and White with Lavender Pearl
Engine: 2276 dual port & polished engine with dual 44 Webers, 044 heads, and 10-to-1 compression, Ceramic coated bugpack exhaust, j-pipe
Interior: Autometer Tach, Shift Light, Gauges, Grant GT Steering Wheel, Custom Roll-cage, Custom Upholstery
Exterior: Wolfsburg Badges and VW Emblems
Wheels and Tires: 245/50 15s and 205/50 15s on polished Wolfsburg forged alloys

The VW Beetle has been an automotive staple for the Oahu enthusiast community since its introduction to the Islands. Piony Omoso has been a fan with the machines since his very first 1969 Bug in high school. It was instant love and Piony rocked a 2180 with the legendary dual Kadron carb setup.

At the time, Piony and his friends spent their summer nights cruising to Sandy Beach to party with the beach rock crowd. But as time went on, family and responsibility came into play and eventually Piony stepped out of the local VW scene in the late ’70s. When his youngest child reached age 29 and his bills were at zero, he decided it was the right time to jump directly into the scene. Five years ago, he came across this 1955 Beetle Oval; his wife let him purchase the car for their 35th Anniversary and the stage was set for a return to the VW family.

“I purchased it from a local boy from Kailua living on the Mainland,” says Piony. Within three months, the boxed set of pieces was packed up and shipped to Oahu for restoration.

Realizing there was no motor and no fenders on the VW, Piony had to take the car from basketcase status to the fully restored beauty you see gracing these pages. He enlisted the help of Dean Sheldon to bring the vehicle back to streetable status. Dean is known in local VW circles as an old school, dependable guy who can be counted when it comes to VW builds. The car was built piece-by-piece and each section was worked over with paint and fixes to ensure a quality build.

The exterior was refreshened with minor bodywork and then painted in a garage by a gentleman named Leroy. The result is exceptional: The baby blue and white paint was matched with seven coats of clear and lavender pearl, and absolutely gleams. The Wolfsburg and original VW emblems set the additional details off nicely.

The interior was re-carpeted while the seats were re-upholstered in a classy blue-white paint scheme to match the exterior. Most noticeable is the built-in roll cage, which is so well done that you’ll almost miss it if you don’t pay attention. Autometer gauges and the requisite shift light were added along with the ever-popular Grant GT steering wheel. Since it’s registered as a street rod, seatbelts aren’t required, but Piony does play it safe by including a DEIST racing harness to hold him down when his right foot gets heavy.

Lance Kaaina worked the engine over and built it into a monster with the end result being a 2276 dual port and polished engine with dual 44 Webers, 044 heads, and 10-to-1 compression. The car currently features a ceramic-coated bug pack for its exhaust and the design is low, thin and sets off the rear nicely.

245/50 15s and 205/50 15s grace the polished Wolfsburg forged alloys and the suspension features a 4-inch shortened front beam with 2-inch drop spindles. The shortened front beam allows the VW to run wider tires for safety and extra handling.

Piony named his ride Annabelle after the spirit of the classic years. It was a tough fight to put this car together, partly due to the hassles involved in the paper work. He believes that there’s a huge outlet for classic automotive enthusiasts out there, but they’re limited by unnecessary rules and regulations like recon that are restrictive.

“Give us a smog check and tax us on what we put on our cars. That will improve our economy,” he says.