Soundcheck: Taiga Lily goes to the movies!

20 05 2018

Or at least her engine roar will… Some three weeks ago a friend asked me whether I would be willing to help another friend who needed to record the engine sound of an old Volkwagen bus. Turned out he is a professional movie sound specialist and is currently working on a Brazilian road movie that stars an unusual looking campervan. It took them some time to figure out it was a Karmann Safari, a motorhome built on the base of a Volkswagen T2b pick-up truck. And here enters Taiga Lily, not a Karmann Safari, but at least a T2b with the authentic Volkswagen boxer engine sound.

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So this is what the original Karmann Safari campers looked like (photo from Wikimedia Commons, Rafael Ruivo., Kombi Safari, CC BY-SA 3.0). I learnt only recently that the German car maker Karmann built such motorhomes based on the T2b. Its successor, the T3/T25-based Karmann Gipsy, is more common on the road in Germany and I portrayed one of them here. According to this Wikipedia page, Karmann started making the T2b-based ones in 1974 and built only 1000 in total.

So a few days ago said friend of a friend, together with a sound assistant, arrived at our home and we spent 4 hours, first gearing Taiga Lily up with microphones, then practicing drive-bys at various speeds, starting and stopping the van, driving fast and slow on the autobahn (fast being 85 km/h, slow being 65 km/h…), then slow and fast stops, and finally banging the drivers doors. All was recorded from the distance by the assitant and additionally with five microphone in an don the bus: One on the back window, another on the tow bar, yet another in the engine bay itself, another directly next to the exhaust, and finally one on a tripod in the middle of the car, pointing to the driver’s cabin, to also record the sound in the front of the car. Gosh, that was a fun evening! Will keep you posted when the movie is finished. Hope it will make it to the movie theaters in Germany!

 

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Summer 2018, here we go!

18 05 2018

On April 22, a sunny Berlin Sunday morning, we put Taiga Lily back on the road. The battery was not in its best shape, but the engine started after a couple of trials. Great to be back behind the wheel of a kombi! More to follow soon!

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Another Barkas!

30 04 2018

So here is another Barkas, the East German equivalent to the West German Volkswagen bus. This one is an ex-ambulance I saw at the Berlin VW Bus festival 2014. The color is certainly not original, but the interior still was. The massive spot light on the ceiling in the back was actually still the light used if a medical operation had to happen in the back of the ambulance. This type of bus was built between 1961 and 1991, but with the plastic-y dashboard this one was probably one of the later, 1980ies models. A pretty amazing van.

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Barkas B1000 – The East German Kombi

14 04 2018

The Barkas B1000 was the East German answer to the West German Volkswagen bus. It was built from 1961 till 1991, just after the end of the German Democratic Republic, so similarly long as the T1 and T2 kombis (built in West Germany from 1950 to 1979). With the round overall body shape, the sliding door on the right side and the round head lights it comes with a similar face and set up as the T2 bay window bus. In contrast to the VW buses of the time it came with front wheel drive and had the engine in the front which (as the English Wikipedia entry points out) made it easier to load and allowed more body configurations. For most of its production the engine was a 45 horsepower three cylinder, two stroke motor. Amazingly, the overall production numbers over 30 years were just below 180.000, whereas the VW T1 split-window bus was manufactured 1.5 million times (1950-1967), followed by 3.3 million T2 bay window buses (1967-1979). Nowadays, 27 years after the end of production, these Barkas buses have become a rare view on the road. I stumbled over the one below in Berlin in Dec 2017. Good to see that some of them are being kept alive!

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Early Bay Window Campervan

6 04 2018

Here comes a self-converted campervan, spotted in Sep 2016 here in Berlin. It is based on an early bay window bus (T2a), so from between 1967 and 1971. Beautiful dark red paint jobs that looks as if it was redone not long ago. The bumper bars and wheels and also the wall between driver’s cabin and rear compartment come in a yellowish-white color (ivory white?). Perhaps the last signs of the original paint job which could mean this van once started as an ivory white red-cross bus. The pop-up roof looks quite unique and self-made. Must have been quite some work to get this accepted by the German TUEV (technical surveillance organization). On the inside it comes with a rock-and-roll bench/bed in the back and a self-made kitchen block behind the passenger seat. The 80 km/h sign on the rear window – I have gotten used to travelling with 80-90 km/h, too, with our 1976 bus. It is just a relaxed speed where you feel good about not stressing the old engine too much.

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Split-window camper

3 04 2018

And another split-window T1 kombi, this time a camper, photographed in October 2015. You don’t see splitties on the road much at all any more in Germany. So I was super happy when this one parked right in front of our day care in our suburb in Berlin when I dropped off the little one. Looks like this bus started as a closed panel van (upper air intakes in the rear) and was later rebuilt into a camper, including fold-up roof and five louvered windows in the rear. Based on the T2-like rear lid (introduced in 1964), this one should be from between 1964 and 1967. The fold-up roof could be from Dormobile, folding up along the side of the van and not at its front or back as the Westfalia roofs do. You can find another beautiful Dormobile kombi here and the hinges look indeed similar. It has also become rare to see such a splitty with all the scratches and dints of 50 years on the road and not yet fully restored. Nice!

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Costa Rica T1 Shorty     

1 04 2018

Hi to everyone out there! It has been a long time with no blog post. Family life with two small kids and work got the upper hand for most of last year. We are now proud parents of a school kid, and the little one is making her way through Kindergarden. Berlin had a bit of a no-real-winter-at-all. Mostly way too warm, then finally a week of minus -5-10°C, but still hardly any snow. Bit of a disappointment for the little ones. But a few days ago I received the photos below from my old friend Siegfried who is touring Costa Rica again , and they brightened up my day:  A T1 split window kombi, spotted in the small town of Sierpe. Seems to be in really beautiful condition, and looks very much like a standard European T1 to me, with slightly larger rearview mirrors, safari windows at the front and the double bumper bars that were more made for the US market. Except that someone has cut out about 50 cm of the van. The section missing is where the second of the two rear side doors would have been. The original model would have been built between 1964 (large T2-like rear door)and 1967 (start of the T2 bay windows) if it was from German production. Probably they were built longer in Mexico and Brazil, so this one could be from the seventies as well. Very nice: red-and-white T1 model on the center of the dash board. Hope you enjoy the photos!

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