Happy 40th Birthday, Taiga Lily!

3 06 2016

Forty years ago to the day, Taiga Lily started her life on the road! She was first registered on June 3, 1976 to her first owner in West-Berlin. And her M plate reveals that she already was delivered as a sage green and pastel white microbus which she still is today. It also says that she is a 1976 model, but was built already in November 1975 (“planned production date: 25. Nov. 1975”), at the time already for a customer in “Germany, West-Berlin”. Over all forty years her home base kept being Berlin, although she changed hands seven times in those 4 decades: After 2 years she was sold the first time. Owner No. 2 kept her for 21 years and sold her only in 1999. Owners 3 and 4 each kept her for only one year. After almost 27 years on the road, owner no. 5 de-registered her in May 2003. At some point between 2003 and 2010 she was bought by a friend (owner-6) who kept her off the road, took her apart and gave her a fresh paint job (in the original color scheme).

We finally bought her in July 2010, partly disassembled and with an engine in very bad condition, but with a mostly rust-free body. Which was already very rare at the time. It took more than a year until she was fully up and running again and passed her exam as a historic vehicle in Nov. 2011. Her mileage over her first 27 years is lost in time. When we bought her in 2010 the speedometer read 79810 km, but it turned out this was totally meaningless since the whole instrument unit is from April 1979, so is not the original one any more. In the 6 years we have her now, we added only 16.000 km, so she really has an easy life with us. And she spends half of the year in winter storage anyway. Hope you will stay with us for a very long time. Her is to you, Taiga Lily!

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PS: Fotos from last week when we started into a camping weekend. Nice random encounter with another T3 Joker campervan.

 





Sage Green Berlin Westfalia Camper

30 04 2016

We are back in Germany, so no more Australian Soprus or Sunliners. Westfalia is again the dominant camper van conversion, if you lucky to see a bay window bus on the road at all. Here is a particularly beautiful example, spotted last October in Berlin, when walking wonder-daughter home from Kindergarden. It comes with a Late Bay Westfalia fold-up roof with an additional roof rack on the top. FIAMMA Carry Bike bike rack on the rear door, same we have for our Taiga Lily. Beautiful fresh paint job in authentic 1970ies sage green (Taiga Grün, L63H). Advertising for “Bushaltestelle.berlin” (German for Bus Stop Berlin) – look at this, another VW bus specialist garage in Berlin! Beautiful green Westfalia plaid seat covers on all seats and benches. Original-looking Westfalia kitchen block. Left side with a louvered or jalousie window in the middle (looks old/original) and a sliding window in the rear (probably newer version, added later). I admit I am slightly biased when it comes to sage green kombis, but this is a fantastic bus!

PS: Small world, and small Berlin: Met the owner of this very same bus two years ago when we parked next to him at a local DIY market, for a sage green family meeting.

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Awakening!

24 04 2016

Brilliant spring day in Berlin and I finally got Taiga Lily out of her winter sleep! The engine started after a few attempts and then ran smoothly. It was good to finally drive a kombi again. Last October she was put away in a hurry and without a wash, so today I spent two hours getting last years dust off of her and there she is, all shiny again. Now she is ready for the bi-annual road worthy exam (TUEV). And then the summer can come!

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Out of the catacombs…

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… and all clean again.

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Spring time in Berlin.





Aireys Billboard Kombi

21 12 2015

Taiga Green late bay campervan used as eye-catcher for the restaurant “The Captain of Aireys” in Aireys Inlet, located between Angle Sea and Lorne on the Great Ocean Road. Rear roo bars look like from a Sopru camper, but the front bars are more massive than the Soprus I have seen so far. The pop-up roof also looks different. Jalousie window with only two tiles, opposite the sliding door. Haven’t seen one of those before. Plastic extensions on the rear air inlets for the engine to get more air funneled into the engine bay, for better cooling. Certainly caught my eye!

 

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Penguins, Wallabies and Koalas

24 11 2015

We spent three beautiful days on a trip to Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. We took the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, shortcutting Port Phillip Bay from its western to its eastern end. Saved us from driving all around Port Phillip Bay and through Melbourne traffic and gave the kids the added adventure of a boat trip. Main target was the Penguin Parade where every evening at sunset several hundred penguins come back from their daily fishing business and run up the beach to their nesting places. Apparently there were around 2000 penguins that evening. Awesome spectacle! A visit to the Koala Conservation Centre across the road from our caravan park turned out to be fantastic, too. The sighting of a swamp wallaby (near the penguin beach) and a couple of red-necked wallabies (at the Churchill Island Heritage Farm farm) completed this Australian wild life adventure. The penguin beach, the koala center and the heritage farm belong to the Phillip Island Nature Park. The sighting of a late bay kombi at the ferry on the way back made the kombi nerd in the family extra-happy.

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Father daughter bonding at beach in Cowes, Phillip Island.

Father daughter bonding at the beach in Cowes, Phillip Island.





Getting ready for the summer!

31 07 2015

In preparation for the summer trips to come Taiga Lily got kitted out: The bike rack and roof rack re-emerged from the cellar and went onto the van. With the spare wheel now on the roof, my beloved roof box with stickers from former camping trips does not fit there anymore. So this year I tried something new and fixed it to the bike rack on the rear. A first ride in Berlin showed that this added some annoying new noise to the cacophony that is traveling in such an old and very badly noise-insulated car. The box apparently reflects some engine noise back towards the car. But a day later, when the space behind the back bench was packed top to bottom with luggage, additional mattresses and bedding, the regular engine noise and the new vibration were all nicely quietened down.

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Fully packed, at a break on the Autobahn.

Fully packed, at a break on the Autobahn.





Taiga Lily’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame

27 06 2015

This weekend, all Volkswagen dealers in Berlin presented the new generation of the VW bus, the T6, to the public. To emphasize Volkswagen’s long history of building the bus, they organized that in each showroom an old kombi, T1 or T2, was present as well. And Taiga Lily was one of the chosen ones! So Thursday I had a long summer evening and night of washing, polishing and vacuum cleaning. Friday morning she went to the VW dealer in Berlin Tegel. I picked her up again this afternoon, together with our eldest daughter, and we had some good father-daughter bonding over kombis. Though our little one was most excited about the large box of chocolate kombis we were given at the very end. We came prepared – check out our kombi T-shirts! What an exciting weekeend!

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Getting all shiny and clean!

Getting all shiny and clean!

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