Bay Window Get-Together

14 05 2016

Two bay window buses on a sunny summer day last December in Geelong, Australia. The green one is in overall better condition. It is from 1978 and comes with a CJ engine (2L, 70 h.p.) and an automatic gear box. The red one, with some severe rust, is from 1974 and comes with an AP engine (1.8 L). Looked like the home of a Volkswagen lover, with a more modern VW Golf in the drive-way. Stickers advertising for “V-Dubs Only – VW Air Cooled specialist” on the rear window. I was spotting these stickers on several buses during this visit- perhaps a new player in the field of Classic Volkswagen workshops in the Geelong area? They don’t seem to have a web site, but this facebook page. Will add the address to the list of VW garages to the list in the section above.

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Awesome 1969 Early Bay Westfalia Camper

21 03 2015

Spotted this truly beautiful Early Bay Camper at last year’s Berlin Bus Festival. It is from 1969. The Westfalia badge quotes the “Year of Manufacturer” as 1970 which will then be the year of conversion. The color is probably light grey (I345). The van lived most of its life in California and was re-imported and then restored in Germany only recently. Speedo with “MPH” instead of “Km/h” and “Emergency” on the hazard light pull switch and yellow and red reflectors on the sides of the van as details for the US-American market. Beautiful original wooden campervan interior. Interesting exhaust pipe construction to funnel the exhaust fumes of the gas fridge out through the ceiling. 1600 ccm B5 engine with 47 horse power. Looks a bit unusual that the spare tire is in the rear and reduces the bed space. Would have expected it to be at the front of the car. But hey, might be original as well.
The bus is now the pride of a fleet of about 3 kombis of “Old Berlin Bulli”, a new VW bus rental company in Berlin. They offer kombis with chauffeur service for city tours, weddings and film sets. Some more technical details on this campervan (“Mr. Alvah”) here on their web site. The slightly bumpy company name probably stems from Volkswagen’s strategy to come after you if you use “Bulli” in your company name. In Germany “Bulli” is the well-known and very positive nick name for the VW kombi. Volkswagen purchased the rights to this name only in 2007 and since then enforces that only VW is allowed to use it. As I understand, you have to add something like “Old” or “Classic” to your Bulli-related company name to get the official approval of VW. This seems what these guys have done as there is a little “Officially licensed by Volkswagen” note on the footer of all their web sites. Anyway, nice to see some kombi/bulli lovers have found a way to make a living of the kombi. And cool that they keep this beautiful bus in good shape and on the road!

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Holiday at the Baltic Sea

17 11 2014

We spent our autumn vacation in early September on a camp site in Born on the Darss, at the Baltic Sea. We did not stay in the kombi but booked a mobile home. Just that bit of extra space that makes life with a three-year-old more relaxing. And our wonder-daughter did turn three while we were there! Big changes happening in her life at the moment. Potti training completed, and the dummy fairy took away the last dummies/pacifiers. Our little one all of a sudden turned into a big girl! Pony riding on a local horse farm in Born also unleashed the full-blown horse fascination that young girls seem to develop at some point. One of her current plans for the future is to become a “rider of all horses”.

PS: A bit of a worry two days before the end of our holiday. Taiga Lily’s engine stopped running while we cruised through a neighboring village. Good that we did not use the car as campervan – a friendly mechanic from the ADAC (the German automobile club) arrived 45 min later and tracked it down to the ignition distributor, but did not get it running again that evening. He towed Taiga Lily to a garage in our village. Turned out the contact-breaker point in the distributor was faulty and had to be replaced.

Campsite in Born on the Darss.

Campsite in Born on the Darss.

Beach close to Prerow  on the Darss.

Beach close to Prerow on the Darss.

Beach close to Ahrenshoop.

Beach close to Ahrenshoop.

Taiga Lily getting a lift to the local garage.

Taiga Lily getting a lift to the local garage.

The broken part, contact-breaker point  (German Unterbrecherkontakt).

The perpetrator: Contact-breaker point (German Unterbrecherkontakt).





Rock and Roll Bed, Part 7: All Done!

9 09 2014

Just a year after the bench cushions, I finally made the cover for the mattress above the engine bay. Got it now done because DrJ gave me a weekend-course on her sewing machine as this year’s birthday present (many thanks, my love!). The long zipper that runs around one-and-a-half sides of the final piece made it all a bit more complicated than I had expected. Same beautiful plaid material from bus-ok.de as used for the bench. I gave up on getting the pattern of this last piece aligned with the pattern of the two bench mattress pieces. But I am still very happy with the final product. So that’s it, rock and roll bench/bed, finally done and dusted!

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Pull Switch Mania!

11 08 2014

Got a bit taken away with my Ebay purchases lately. Plus I have fallen for these beautiful Volkswagen pull switches. First a new main light switch, then a new hazard light switch, both somewhat justified because my original ones are a bit worn out. Then this amazing set came along, with some switches I wasn’t even aware they existed. Seems like someone took a bay window bus apart and sold it in pieces. Have to see whether I can install the windscreen wish wash switch instead of the aftermarket one I am using at the moment (for an electric pump I added under the water tank). Also I just learnt from the guys at Beetle Clinic that the fan switch was part of an optional equipment in the seventies – apparently it came with two fans in the fresh air channels under the dashboard. So many switches, so little time…

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Summer Camping Weekend

8 08 2014

Berlin is famous for the many lakes in its backlands, and on a beautiful summer weekend in July we packed our camping gear and headed north, with the general aim of Bernsteinsee (lake amber) in the Schorfheide nature reserve. Realized again we should do this much more often – just 1-2 hours out of Berlin and one is out of the big city and quickly in holiday mode. We ended up on a campsite on Ruehlesee, just next to Bernsteinsee: Beautiful low-key campsite in a pine tree forest with its own lake. The backlands of Berlin all belong to former East Germany, and 24 years after re-unification it seems the camp sites are often still run in a different way to West Germany: Lots of space, landscape mostly left untouched, everything a bit low key, but the necessary facilities in place and very friendly and unpretentious people. This one comes with its own diving school, and a cable waterski facility on an adjacent second lake – not really our thing, but amusing to watch for a while. In addition to their German web site I found this English site, both also a bit out-dated.
Thanks to Wikipedia I’ve just learnt that parts of the Schorfheide nature reserve are actually a UNESCO listed world heritage: Protected since 2011 as one of the last surviving ancient beech forests that probably covered most of middle Europe some long time ago. It is also home to the lesser spotted eagle, which we actually saw when we meandered through the forests on the way back to Berlin!

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1973 Geelong Early Bay Camper

28 06 2014

I saw this beauty at the National VW Bug-In at Geelong this April. It was delivered as a new car to Geelong in 1973 and is still in the hands of the first owner. How cool is that? The complete history of the car in one hand – no previous owner to blame if something is somewhat wrong. Not that anything is wrong with this car. The owner had it restored recently and it now beams as if it has just come from the production line. Perfect in every detail. Minimalistic campervan conversion with bed-bench-combination (very neatly re-upholstered) and a kitchen block with sink and fridge behind the driver’s cabin. Interesting installation of the 220V-inlet, hidden on the left side within the engine bay, avoids cutting any extra holes into the body of the car. Super-clean engine bay and engine itself (AP motor). Dashboard with a series of additional instruments below the radio. Some kind of non-original exhaust system. The color could be Sierra Yellow (L11H). The bus is actually an early bay/late bay (T2a/T2b) hybrid, with the front mask and the bumper bars still from the early bays and the rear air intakes and rear lights already from the late bay window version. I understood these models came from the transition period around 1971-1972. But that would probably also fit with delivery of this car to Australia in 1973. What a wonderful bus!

Added July 1st, 2014: I wasn’t at all aware of this, but VW buses of Australia actually feature some original colors which have never been used by Volkswagen in Germany or Europe. You can find a list of a these colors and their paint codes at this page of the Australian Club VeeDuv. Bottomline is that the color of this bus is not Sierra Yellow but probably Mustard (Dulux colour code 13974). Thanks to Greg for pointing this out in the comment below!

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