1972 Australian Post Delivery Van

2 04 2017

This is something like one of those famous „barn findings“: A 1972 Volkswagen panel van that started out as delivery van for the Australian Postal service, at that time (and until 1975) still called the Post Master General’s Department or PMG. In 1975 it had an accident, was put aside and forgotten. When I saw the van at a VW garage in Geelong in December 2015, the owner had bought it still with the accident marks (rear right corner bumped in), but otherwise in very original (and very dusty) condition, and the plan was to keep it original as well. The damage to the rear right corner was fixed already. A different engine was built in as a temporary fix (not sure if the original engine was lost or beyond repair). The van was already registered and roadworthy, with a “Victoria club permit” for classic cars. The speedometer showed 35.935 miles which may really have been the true mileage, seeing that the van was only on the road between 1972 to 1975. It also showed hardly any serious rust, and what rust there was looked like surface rust rather than a deeper problem, e.g. on the roof in the rear right.

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This kombi is one of the “T2ab hybrid” buses from 1971/72 with a mix of features from both of the early bay window T2a buses (indicators on the front still down, front bumper still of the rounder type and end serving as door steps) and the late bay window T2b buses (more rectangular air intakes on the sides in the rear, rectangular and not oval back lights). Not sure if the T2b hub cups here are original, thought that the T2ab buses still came with the cups from the early bay buses (see e.g. this early bay van) . The letters “PMG” for Post Master General on the front doors were probably officially removed when the van was taken out of service, but they are still faintly visible on the front doors.

Some interesting details: Aluminum-coated insulation mats on the walls in the rear. Wonder if this was original at the time? Perhaps for the Australian market with the local hotter temperatures? Nice and probably also original feature: Little plate with “Accident free driving is our aim”, white on postal-red background, in the center of the dashboard. Otherwise no frills, probably typical for vans bought for the public service: Glove box without lid, no radio and the slot still closed with original cover. Small triangle windows in the front doors cannot be opened. In Germany, at least for the late bay window busses, such minimally equipped panel vans came with the outer rear view mirrors and the wheels and hub cups sprayed in the same color as the car (instead of chrome or silver color coat).





Early Bay Brewery Van

1 03 2014

Stumbled over this kombi a few days ago here in Berlin. Interesting background story: The “Wulle Bier” brewery started in the 1860ies in Stuttgart in South Germany and stayed independent till the 1970ies (more background, though only in German, in this Wikipedia entry). In the sixties and seventies they apparently used Volkswagen panel vans to deliver their beer to the pubs. Now the brand has been reanimated and they pick up the kombi delivery tradtion – they bought a fleet of bay window panel vans and printed their 1970ies slogan “Wir wollen Wulle” (We want Wulle) on the sides. According to a type plate on the inside of the driver’s door, this one started its life in 1970 as a fire truck, made by fire truck maker Albert Ziegler AG. So the red paint job is probably the original one. Very nice PR move of this brewery – I immediately like the beer!

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Andorra Split-Window Fire Truck

1 09 2013

This beautiful 1960-ies T1 panel van was parked in front of the fire station in Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra at the French-Spanish border. The label on the door advertises the 50-year anniversary (1961-2011) of the “Bombers d’Andorra”, the fire fighters from Andorra. I guess the van may even be from 1961, so it may be in service for 52 years now. Just saw that it even has its own entry a fire fighting vehicles registry where it is listed as retired. Thanks to kombi correspondent Matti for these photos!

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1975 Fire Truck

12 05 2013

Passed this van today and had to stop to take a closer look. A late bay panel van that seemed to have been used by the fire brigade in the North German small town of Moormerland, close to the Dutch border. The English Wikipedia link is pretty minimalistic, more on this town in the German entry). The bus comes with the 1600 cc 50 h.p. engine and sliding doors on both sides. Looks like work in progress, or a rat look in the making: Rust already removed and some major welding works done, rock and roll bed installed in the back, but body not yet re-sprayed. The bus is now registered in the Netherlands. Haven’t seen a Dutch registration with white numbers yet, but learnt that it is reserved for classic cars, older than 1978. Seems she has found a new owner who will hopefully help her survive the next few decades.

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Hanomag Kurier Campervan

23 09 2012

OK, it’s not a Volkswagen bus. But it is pretty cool, and it’s a campervan. I saw this van some six weeks ago in Berlin. It is a Hanomag Kurier, a light truck that was built between 1958 and 1967 and could be ordered in all kinds of variants, from pick-up truck via panel van to dump truck and semitrailer tractor. This one looks like a panel van which was later converted to a campervan. The quite impressive panorama front screen was a feature of the Kurier II produced between 1961 and 1967. There is a nice collection of the different Kurier variants on this Hanomag Kurier web page which also provides a lot more technical and historical details.





Berlin Ice Cream Van

25 08 2012

A T2b-based ice cream van conversion. The photos were taken on a somewhat rainy Berlin summer afternoon some two weeks ago, at one of the beach bars at the Spree river banks in Berlin Mitte. Looks like the basis is the high-rooftop type of van that was also used by the German Postal Service at the time, here not in postal yellow with a white high-roof but in the Italian tricolor colors. Big bell at the front to announce the ice man has arrived. Sticker on the back (“Berlin Bulli Eis”) suggests this bus belongs to Hippiebus-berlin.de at ClassicDepot, formerly known as Berlin Bulli.de, the local Volkswagen bus rental company. They offer 14 different T2b Westfalia campervans for hire, all in orange and white (see also previous post). Looks like this ice cream van is still used for its original purpose – great!





Roller Derby Meets VW Bus…

18 04 2012

This is what happens when you mix Roller Derby with a hot rod kombi… The first photo is currently doing the rounds amongst Roller Derby fans on facebook. It’s an art work by Ken Keirns who discusses it on toysrevil.blogspot.de.

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