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.


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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Sleeping Beauties

8 03 2015

Last weekend I went over to the garage where our two kombis are asleep. Taiga Lily (sage green and white) just for her winter break, the Old Lady (red and white) taken off the road permanently and waiting for better times and a full-blown restoration job. I had placed some dehumidifier bags into each bus some 4 weeks ago. Luckily they had hardly changed (i.e. were not dripping with water) so the place is indeed quite dry. I finally got myself a flexible spanner (can be adjusted to size 31) to start a new tradition of turning the engine manually once per month. For the 1600 ccm (50 h.p.) AS engine in the Old Lady this is quite easily done by turning the central screw on the crankshaft clockwise, with gearbox in neutral (see photo below). Some 4 years ago I was told that the best way to keep such a VW bus engine happy in storage is to take out the ignition sparks, fill a tea spoon of engine oil into each cylinder, put the sparks in again and then turn over the engine manually once per month, to make sure that all parts are permanently covered in oil and rust is not starting anywhere within the engine block. I last started the Old Lady’s engine when I relocated her into this garage on a tow truck which is almost three-and-ahalf years ago. To my relief, the engine still turns over easily, no obvious signs of rust. Will take care of this job more regularly from now on.