High Roof Late Bay Campervan

10 11 2013

Another Berlin kombi, photos taken in July when this van parked around the corner for a couple of weeks. Front wheel box and cushion covers (green-orange-yellow plaid) look very much like a Westfalia campervan conversion, but the roof is unusual. Not sure whether Westfalia actually installed permanent high roofs on late bays. And on top of the high roof is another pop-up roof. I can see that having head room and extra storage room permanently is useful, seeing how small these campers are.

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Early Bays from the Past

11 04 2013

Nice side effect of moving house: You stumble over old fotos which were long forgotten. Here are fotos of two early bays which I took when I lived in Freiburg in South Germany in around 1994. About one year before I bought my first kombi. Apparently I had already caught the fever and started taking fotos of other kombis. Seems that at the time the early bays were still around a lot. You hardly see them anymore nowadays. Both came with the same fold-up roof hinged at the front, so were probably similar Westfalia campervan conversions.

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Early Bay starring in TV ad

12 01 2013

Beautiful Early Bay in an Ovomaltine TV ad currently on air in Germany. Right hand steering with sliding door on the left. Campervan conversion with louvered windows in sliding door and opposite the sliding door (Westfalia? Not sure about the Early Bays). Judging from the accent, the YouTube link below may be the Swiss German version. Punch line: With Ovomaltine you cannot do it better, but longer…

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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!





New York Microbus

8 04 2012

Here are some photos of a bus a friend of mine spotted in 2010 in Manhattan – on one of those unusual car parking shelves that probably popped up because space is so precious in New York. A bit lost between all the modern limousines. Looks like a beautiful T2a. VeeDub emblem upside down. Two Westfalia-style roof rakes and a jalousie window. Only one wind screen wiper. I believe Volkswagen put the additional indicators (or reflectors?) on the front doors only on US models, not on any buses built for the German market.