Hawaiian Kombis, Part II

23 12 2013

The Volkswagen kombi seems to have a firm place in the Hawaii tourist folklore, with toy buses with glued-on surfboards lined up in every souvenir shop. But today’s surfers drive pick-up trucks, four-wheel-drives and SUVs, no more kombis on the beaches. Good to see that at least some of them have survived and are still in use. Below is another one: Found this green metallic beauty in the eastern part of Maui. It’s a 1974 Westfalia camper with 1.8L engine, interior rebuilt in bamboo wood, including the floor and the panels for the walls and doors. Cool battery of switches under the dashboard to operate an LED and laser light show all over the inside ceiling of the van. Originally fitted front spare wheel holder has been removed and the holes were carefully closed for a simple and clean look.

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The winding coastal roads with lots of one-way bridges, the surfer beaches and the beautiful warm and sunny weather reminded me a lot of New Zealand’s South Island and Australia’s Great Ocean Road. The small size of the island of Maui and its remote beaches and bays look ideal for a kombi holiday. I searched the web and found two rental companies that offer VW buses: Aloha Campers has a range of T3 Westfalia campervans, and Maui Camper Rentals rents out T5 Westfalias. Drawback seems to be that there is not really a great camp site infrastructure, and wild camping is unusual or even illegal. Interesting discussion thread on The Samba.com if you want to read up more on this topic.

Beach near Kihei on Maui, Hawaii.

Beach near Kihei on Maui, Hawaii.

Hookipa surfer beach northeast of Kahului, Maui, Hawaii.

Hookipa surfer beach northeast of Kahului, Maui, Hawaii.

Sun set on Hookipa  beach .

Sun set on Hookipa beach .





Hawaiian Kombis

22 12 2013

Two weeks ago I came back from a conference which, of all places, took place in Maui, Hawaii. So I escaped the cold Berlin winter for a few days and enjoyed fantastic talks in a beautiful tropical environment. A bit surreal but highly enjoyable. I used some free hours to cruise the island in a rental car and found several kombis along the way. Below are some snapshots of two of them. First a white and blue late bay with some added Hawaiian flower theme, spotted on the west coast near Lahaina. Time and the ocean climate have not been kind to it, massive rust in some corners, and rubber seals of front and back window sealed with duct tape. But a beauty nevertheless: Cool worn-out paint job, white seat covers and door panels, retro roof rack re-sprayed in white, modern-looking aluminum wheels, and some work invested in the strange effort to fit front & back bumpers from an early bay window bus to this late bay. Then a blue Westfalia camper, plain and simple and also a bit battered-looking, with retro early bay hub caps and Hawaiian flower theme picked up in the curtain pattern. Finally some snapshots from the beautiful coastal road north of Lahaina.

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