Split-window camper

3 04 2018

And another split-window T1 kombi, this time a camper, photographed in October 2015. You don’t see splitties on the road much at all any more in Germany. So I was super happy when this one parked right in front of our day care in our suburb in Berlin when I dropped off the little one. Looks like this bus started as a closed panel van (upper air intakes in the rear) and was later rebuilt into a camper, including fold-up roof and five louvered windows in the rear. Based on the T2-like rear lid (introduced in 1964), this one should be from between 1964 and 1967. The fold-up roof could be from Dormobile, folding up along the side of the van and not at its front or back as the Westfalia roofs do. You can find another beautiful Dormobile kombi here and the hinges look indeed similar. It has also become rare to see such a splitty with all the scratches and dints of 50 years on the road and not yet fully restored. Nice!



1969 US Westfalia Camper with an East German History

30 08 2016


Here is another beautiful van from the Berlin Bus Festival 2016. It is an early bay window (or T2a) Westfalia campervan from 1969. I learnt a bit about its history when I had a chat with the owner, a friendly elderly gentleman. The bus was originally built for the US market and also exported to the US. From the paper work he found in the bus, he thinks it was brought to Germany in 1972 by a student from the US who used it to tour Europe. It probably broke down in East Germany – I guess not necessarily a standard tourist destination for an American tourist in the seventies, as you had to apply for visas etc. to get behind the iron curtain. The bus then stayed in East Germany, changed hands three times in the seventies or early 80ies until in 1982 the current owner bought it in East Berlin. He said it was quite run down at that time and needed a lot of repair, which was hard work, with very limited access to spare parts from West Germany. Seven years later the wall came down, and another 27 years later he still owns the bus and proudly keeps it running. What an amazing history!

A couple of interesting details: A sticker in the driver’s door indicates the bus was once maintained by Herb’s Garage in Newark, Delaware, southwest of Philadelphia. The label on the electricity inlet is in English (and expects 110 V instead of 240V) and the speedometer is in MPH instead of km/h, but interestingly the reminder on the steering wheel attachment, below the speedo, is in German (“Fahren nur mit verriegelter Schiebetür” / “Drive only when sliding door is locked”). The original middlewave/MW radio is still in its place in the dashboard. A more useful FM radio is installed below the dashboard. Stick-on headrest for the driver – I actually remember those from a Lada when we were visiting friends in East Germany in the 1980ies! The back indicators looked unusual. Turns out they are made in GDR (label “DDR Ruhla”) and in fact are the front indicators of a late model Trabant, the prototypical East German car. The additional rear fog and reverse lights may also be of East German origin, then.



Bay Window Meeting

27 10 2015

Nice encounter on an autobahn rest place last August close to Leipzig: Early Bay window bus pulling up next to Taiga Lily. It is actually one of the hybrid buses from the transition phase between early and late bay, so from about 1971/1972: front still from the first generation (indicators down and front bumper ending in door steps), but the back already with the air intakes of the late bay (would be more crescent shaped for the pure early bays). I saw the silver T5 on the left only now when I prepared the photos. Would have been nice to take that one into the photo as well. Sorry to all T5 owners for my ignorance!



Kombi and a Grand Design

8 09 2015

Best of both worlds: Cool house building project and an Early Bay Window VW bus popping up in the middle of this Grand Designs episode (Season 14 Episode 5 London). Over the last couple of years we have fallen deeply in love with Kevin McCloud and his Grand Designs. Cool artist couple in this episode with a good taste in cars: Nice surprise to see their early bay window around minute 28 (and another late bay popping up in the backround). Louvered window on one side and perhaps some campervan conversion/bed construction going on in the back where the doggy travels behind the driver. Walk way to the back looks a lot like Taiga Lily’s, with air out lets on both sides of the walls behind the front seats, but a handle only on the sliding door side. Passenger seat not original but safer (with a head rest), driver seat more original but without.




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…


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.