1954 Barn Door Kombi

18 01 2016

I found this awesome split-window kombi in April 2014 in Geelong. I had knocked on the door of a shed to ask if I could take a few photos of an old rusty late bay in the backyard. Turned out this was the workshop of a panel beater who loves kombis and has restored quite a few over the years. On that day the hall housed two splitties and a late bay in various stages of restoration. This blue-and-white T1 was about to be completed. It is a VW bus kombi from 1954, so one of the very first kombis ever built, and I was told there may be only a handful of these early ones with right-wheel-steering left in Australia. A lot of panels were rusted trough and had to be made from scratch. All welding was done with the ambition that even an expert from Volkswagen should not be able to recognize which parts were original and which had been replaced later.

The split-window bus or Volkswagen T1 was built in Germany from 1950 till 1967. Over the years, the rear doors of the T1s changed most strongly: the very first models came with a very large door for the engine bay (“big as a barn door”). The photo below shows that the large engine bay also housed the petrol tank (on the left) and the spare wheel (on a shelf above the engine). Over the years the engine bay and its lid became smaller and smaller and a door above was introduced as access to the cargo area. This upper door also changed in size over the various facelifts. The latest splitties (1964 onwards) already feature the same large rear doors which from 1967 onwards were then also used in the T2s or bay window buses.

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The paint job was carried out with normal glossy paint on the inside, but with matt finish on the outside, to avoid the shiny and polished finish of a fully restored van. With a bit of wear and tear this bus will quickly develop some patina. It also comes a bit lowered and with Porsche Fuchs wheels – tribute to modern coolness.

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One response

18 01 2016
ewdb92

Love those early barn door buses!

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