Happy New Year!

2 01 2014

Let the year begin with this beautiful double cabin pick up truck: Spotted last week by kombi correspondent Matti in Los Realejos on the Spanish island of Tenerife which is part of the Canary Islands. A Late Bay model, probably from 1973 (country plate on the rear bumper). It belongs to workers of a local church – with their own “church parking” symbol painted on the street, and a crucifix dangling from the rear view mirror – nice touch. Beautiful condition, with what looks like a new paint job in neptune blue, and complete down to every detail: shiny hub caps with additional chrome rim rings, new rubber bands on both bumpers, mud flaps in the back. Perhaps recently restored? Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2014!

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The 6th Berlin Bus Festival

29 07 2013

We have just returned from the 2013 Berlin Bus Festival. Two and a half very nice and very hot days of camping and admiring buses. And the first nights in the bus with our almost two-year-old baby daughter sleeping in the new bunk bed in the front. Which actually worked out very well. With the baby we took it all easy and did not take part in any of the different competitions. Focus was more on finding and petting dogs (her main interest, and there were many dogs) and checking out buses (my main interest). I noticed many more bus-trailer combinations this time – either with classic trailers re-sprayed to match the bus, or with the trailer made from a second copy of the same type of bus. And then there were syncros, the four wheel drive version of the T25/T3. A lot of them, and they can be quite impressive monsters. Finally, there were a lot more T2s than at the previous meetings. It is still a T3/T25 dominated event, but nice to see the T2 numbers going up. Hope you enjoy the fotos!
PS: And there are some more photos in this Flickr album.

Our bus Taiga Lily, a 1976 Later Bay microbus.

Our bus, Taiga Lily, a 1976 Late Bay microbus.

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Early splittie from 1959, used as promo van for an internet travel portal.

Early splittie from 1959, used as promo van for an internet travel portal.

Red and white T3/T25 double cabin with Audi V8 engine.

Red and white T3/T25 double cabin with Audi V8 engine.

T3 Blue Star Hanover edition, bus of my best mate Jan, ready for a two week camping trip to Northern Italy.

T3 Blue Star Hanover edition, bus of my best mate Jan, ready for a two week camping trip to Northern Italy.

Early T1 Samba bus with hearse trailer, turned into an extra bed room.

Early T1 Samba bus with hearse trailer, turned into an extra bed room.

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Late bay with Eriba Puk trailer.

Late bay with Eriba Puk trailer.

Late bay with larger Eriba trailer.

Late bay with larger Eriba trailer.

T3/T25 microbus with matching T3-derived trailer.

T3/T25 microbus with matching T3-derived trailer.

T5 bus with T5-derived trailer.

T5 bus with T5-derived trailer.

T3/T25 syncro four-wheel-drive bus from the Czech Republic.

T3/T25 syncro four-wheel-drive bus from the Czech Republic.

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The "Colorless Crossporter", a T4 Syncro bus.

The “Colorless Crossporter”, a T4 Syncro bus.

A T5 four wheel drive  campervan from Seikel 4x4 Technik, check out http://www.seikel.de/en/home/ for more background. A T5 four-wheel-drive campervan from Seikel 4×4 Technik, for more background check out http://www.seikel.de/en/home/ .[/caption]

Evening impression

Evening impression

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Two Late Bay Crew Cabs

24 01 2013

Here are some photos of two Late Bay double cabins. The first one is from Geelong, Australia, photos taken in 2012. Painted in a cool matt black, including front and back bumpers and rims around the headlights. Boards around the cargo bay removed and cargo area covered with a wooden deck. Wheels could be Porsche Fuchs wheels. Not the most practical van but a very cool looking one.
The other one is from Hamburg, photos from 2005. Except for the improvised paintings, it is probably relatively close to original condition, just a bit run down. Color could be ivory white (color code L567). This paint was used for vehicles of rescue services like the German Red Cross. Perhaps this van started his life as a transporter with one of them. I guess the metal frame on the cargo area in the back may be original and may have been covered by tarps on each side. Now replaced with wooden panels so that the cargo space is more solidly covered. Nice sticker from a VW bus garage in Hamburg which actually still exists (VW Bus Service Mamèro).

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An Unusual VW Bus-Porsche

28 10 2012

Maybe not the coolest but certainly the most unusual combination of a Porsche and a VW Bus I have seen so far: A Porsche tractor onto which someone has implanted the cabin of a double cabin T2a Volkswagen pick-up truck. The model is a Porsche Super which was built between 1956 and 1963 by Mannesmann, in the former Zeppelin factory at Lake Constance in Germany. It came with a four-cylinder air-cooled diesel engine with 38 hp. We saw this machine parked near the road, almost overgrown by bushes and young trees, when we drove through southern Norway on the way back from the North Cape in 2006.





The 5th Berlin VW Bus Festival

1 08 2012

Last Friday the whole family hopped on the bus and we spent an exciting weekend at the 5. Berlin Bus Festival. Lots of great buses to look at and friendly people to meet, great weather on Friday and most of Saturday, unfortunately some heavy rain late Saturday night and some drizzle on Sunday morning. Our baby-daughter very much enjoyed the camping, so many new things to touch and taste, so many people to smile at. On the minus side, the first night in the campervan was quite stressful for her and therefore for us as well. My preliminary campervan conversion was lacking an easy-to-use baby bed. As a last minute solution we put the toilette box into the annex so that we could place a baby travel cot behind the driver and passenger seats. Good for her, but this made maneuvering in the bus for us in the middle of the night really, really complicated. She was much better in the second night so she probably also just needed some time to get used to the new environment.

Happy bus driver with baby-daughter and Leon Dogwonder.

Buses in the evening sun.

The venue was again the former airport “Altes Lager” in Jueterbog, about 80 km south of Berlin. It was originally built in World War I as a Zepellin airport, then had to be deconstructed when the war was lost. In 1933 it was rebuild and re-opened as Nazi German military airfield which after World War II and until 1994 served as a Russian Air Force base. It’s now a venue for open air events of all kinds, a starting strip for paragliders and home to a permanent go-kart race track. Interestingly, even today, almost 22 years after the German re-unification and 18 years after the Russian Army left East Germany, the derelict Russian Army barracks are still standing, along the road leading to the Festival area, and there is still a Red Star above the main entrance gate.
On Saturday we took part in the orientation drive, a car rally of about 30 buses through five or six villages where in each village you had to answers questions on local details. And we made the first place! So we came home with a little trophy…

Getting ready for the orientation rally.

Taiga Lily with Trophy!

This festival is quite T3/T25-focused – there were an estimated 450 T3s, probably also fifty T4s, about ten T2s and two T1s. So my little selection of photos below is not quite representative, but here we go: The red and white bus is a 1966 original Westfalia campervan, interestingly with a Dormobile fold-up roof which, according to the owner, was fitted by Westfalia at the time. The owner bought her 33 years ago, when the first owner had given up on the rust, and brought her back into this beautiful condition. Below is a 1967 split-window that came down all the way from Norway, and a beautiful T2a, recently re-imported from the Netherlands and now based in the Greater Berlin area.

Below are some photos of the most seriously all-terrain-looking T3 Syncro I have seen so far. Impressive, and apparently built for an expedition through Africa. Check out the height of the snorkel in the back! The driver would already be half a meter under water when the engine could still breath… Could not find out any more details because the owner came from the Czech Republic and my Czech and his German or English were not up to the task. But what a monster…

Then there was also Luise, the stretched T3 that was the star of last year’s Berlin Bus Festival. Luise was built from three T3 buses, is 8.5 m long and is powered by a VW V6 TDI motor. This year they also brought Liesel, Luise’s little sister which was welded together from the body parts left over when Luise was constructed. And this year Liesel was hand-painted by the kids at the festival.

And of course there were lots and lots of modified and pimped up T3s and T4s. Here are just two examples.

The best is still to come: On Saturday afternoon about 400 buses were arranged next to each other in such a way that from the air it should result in the sketch of the front of a T3/T25 Volkswagen bus. Taiga Lily will be part of the left front indicator (we believe). I have not seen the final photo yet, but will post it as soon as it is available. All in all again a great festival, just outside of Berlin. Thanks to the guys from the Berlin Kombi Club (Bullistammtisch.de) for the excellent organisation!





Coming Soon: The Berlin VW Bus Festival 2012!

3 07 2012

The 5. Berlin VW Bus Festival is approaching quickly. It is organised by the Berlin Kombi Club (Berliner Bulli Stammtisch) and attracts more buses each year – last year around 400! It will all happen on July 27-29 in Jueterbog, about 70 km south of Berlin, on the old airfield of a former Russian Army Base. It’s basically a T3/T25 bus meeting, but there is the occasional bay window (like us!) and split-window bus as well. Pretty cool events going on, like the syncro trial where four-wheel-drive T3s are driven through an obstacle course up and down through a sand pit, with points for speed and skill, and racing of (pimped) buses and beetles in a 1/8 mile race on the old air strip. There is also a family area (less loud in the evenings and nights) and a program for the kids. This year the plan is to build the image of the front mask of a T3 bus with 513 buses. And it all ends with a show and shine evening and a big party. So if you are around for the weekend of July 27-29, have a look yourself! Below are some snapshots from the 2009 Berlin Bus Festival which we attended with our old bus, the Old Lady.

Leon Dogwonder and the Old Lady at the 2009 VW Bus festival.

T3s in the evening sun.

Getting ready for the orienteering race.

A T3 Syncro four-wheel-drive digging in a sand pit, at the Syncro competition.

Waiting for the start at the 1/8 mile race.

A 21-window Samba

A freshly restored T2a campervan.

T2b Westfalia Campervan

Syncro DoKa (Double Cabin)

T3s at sunset.





Cool VW Bus Pen Box

21 04 2012

I got the pen box below as a birthday present some three years ago. A T1 campervan with a red and white color scheme similar to our Old Lady, made by the German company Werkhaus. Werkhaus produces toys, office articles and shop interiors made form eco-friendly paper, fiber board and rubber bands. Two weeks ago I passed by their Easter season shopping window, full of VW buses at Moritzplatz, Berlin: Seems they have now swapped my campervan design for the Samba, in five different colors. And there is also a sand-colored double cabin/pick-up bus – see all available models in detail on the Werkhaus Bulli web page. Cool stuff!

Hippie Samba

Double Cabin
(from Werkhaus web site)