Geelong Sleeping Beauty

17 05 2016

Here is a late bay window kombi we saw last November somewhere in suburbia in Geelong, Australia. It is a Sopru campervan which may have started its life in yellow and was then re-sprayed in light green. Sopru pop-up roof and Sopru roo bars at the front. Front wall panels and bench matrasses in the rear newly upholstered at some point. Furniture in there rear looks a bit self-built, but then I do not know the Sopru conversions in detail. Another customer of “V-Dubs Only“. Looks like put away and waiting for the next holiday season. Hope it has a lot of holiday trips ahead!

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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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New Muffler, New Tow-bar, New TUEV!

7 05 2016

Taiga Lily started the new season with some nice updates. Every two years every car in Germany has to pass a technical inspection with the Technical Surveillance Authority, or TÜV (Technischer Überwachungsverein). Always a time to get the car up to scratch, which this year involved a new muffler. The old one had several rust holes and started sounding like it last summer. Given that it was manufactured in 1989 (before the German re-unification, still stating “West Germany”!) it had served me and the previous owners well. With the new one came a new exhaust pipe, this time in stainless steel (not much more expensive but will hopefully stay longer in good shape).

Seeing that we plan to borrow a pop-up trailer caravan from a friend for part of this year’s summer vacation, I got a tow-bar installed! It’s a used one from Oris (Type E 55/3) and in very good shape. Manufactured in 1991 in Germany, it’s the heavy duty version that is registered to tow up to 1800 kg. Beetle Clinic added a new socket (13- instead of 7 pins) and attached it to the main frame with the full set of bolts so that the 1800 kg could indeed be towed: Three bolts up into the main frame of the car and two bolts horizontally through the frame, on each side (see photos below). The holes for the horizontal bolts appear to be present in the main frame only from 1977 onwards, so had to be drilled for our 1976 bus. The TÜV examiner was very happy with the installation which makes me happy as well. The tow-bar replaces the two original bumper holders and comes with a solid rectangular bar behind the bumper. This bar closes the gap between bumper and car when you look down on the bumper from above. Taiga Lily’s papers come already with a remark for a maximum tow weight, so the new tow-bar does not need to be added in her papers (Fahrzeugschein). Less administrative hassle. According to her papers she is allowed to pull only 1200 kg, not the 1800 kg the tow-bar would be capable of, but the trailer we are planning to use weighs only 650 kg, so all is good.

Me and wonder daughter used yesterday’s Father’s Day to get the Porta Potti and its box from the attic, kitted up and into the car. Good to have this option for emergencies when you travel with children. So here we are, ready for the summer!

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Our 1976 VW Bus Taiga Lily

 

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Now with new muffler and end pipe, …

 

 

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And a new tow-bar, …

 

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And new TÜV, till May 2018!

 

 

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A Subway / MuzzBuzz Coffee Van

9 01 2016

This kombi used to park at an intersection in Geelong on a corner shared by a Subway restaurant and Muzz Buzz, a drive-through coffee place. Interesting paintjob: Depending on the angle you look at it, it would look like a billboard for Subway or like a Muzz Buss coffee van (love the “Mobile Caffeine Response Unit”). Perhaps they served the coffee out of this van before the little coffee shop on the site was erected? I believe this was originally a Sopru camper. Suddenly I see Soprus everywhere. The pop-up roof looks like a Sopru, and the typical Sopru front roo bar has been chopped down to a front wheel support. The seats are newly upholstered in the Muzz Buzz colors. When I took these photos in April 2014, it was retired from active service, parked in a corner and had suffered from a break-in (window in driver’s door smashed and shattered over the front seats, fixed with a plexiglass). Now, 18 months later, it is gone. Hope it is on good hands and perhaps has started its next life.





Head Rests, Part III: Finally Sorted!

31 12 2015

Project “Getting-Head-Rests-Into Taiga-Lily” got finally completed this year. When we bought Taiga Lily in 2010, she came with her original vinyl-covered black front seats. The pattern is called basket weaves (“Korbflecht” in German), and the cross lines on the seat and the backrest mean they are from a “deluxe” or “L bus”. But they do not have headrests which I find a bit frightening. I started hunting on Ebay for seats with head rests, but black ones are rarely on offer. Last year I changed tactics and bought a brown passenger seat with a head rest which, together with an old brown driver’s seat from the Old Lady, formed a matching pair. Brown instead of black, but at least original VW kombi seats and both with the basket weaves patterns. This all went to pot when I wanted to install them and learnt that the driver’s seat (from an 1978 late bay) did not fit into the seat rails in Taiga Lily (a 1976 late bay). Turned out some time in mid-1976 Volkswagen had changed the rails in the car and on the seats. So the outcome was a brown passenger seat with a head rest and a black driver’s seat without. I later spent one afternoon trying to re-built the rails from the earlier driver’s seat to the later seat. But the ends of the rails are part of the the hinges that connect the seat to the backrest, and this connection is not identical between the two seat types. I was frightened I would end up with a “hybrid” seat that was not fully stable and may disintegrate in an accident. So I stopped, gave up with this line of attack and built it all back to the original condition.

This year I found a brown driver’s seat on Ebay that was explicitly advertised as fitting only to early bay window buses and to the earlier versions of late bays. Yes! Draw back was that the pattern was not basket weaves but some strange brown textile material. But I bought it, took the cover off and built it up again with the basket weaves cover from the driver’s seat from the Old lady.

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Before…

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… and after.

While at it, I also threw away the worn-out pads and replaced them with a new pad for the back rest (bought a while ago on Ebay, original VW part 211 881 775 G) and a new seat pad (repro purchased new from Bus-OK.de, OK60121). Turned out one of the wire springs of the seat was broken. I fixed it by stealing the corresponding spring from the seat of the Old Lady. So the original driver’s seat from the Old Lady is now in a bit of a sorrow state, stripped of its brown cover and lacking one wire of the springs in the seat area.

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Original black seat (left), newly purchased seat with early bay base (middle), seat with late bay base (from 1978 late bay, right).

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I noticed only at the end of re-assembly that this new seat is actually not from a T2a or T2b but probably from a T3 (explains the non-T2 brown textile cover and the plastic cover of one of the hinges), and  the previous owner had swapped the rails and sliding mechanism to those from an early late bay window seat. When pulled, the sliding mechanism squeezes a bit into the base plate as the corresponding opening in the base plate is missing (red circle in photo below). But well, it is working for the time being.

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Base plate and slider mechanism of an earlier late bay kombi.

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“Hybrid” seat with late bay (or T3) base plate and early bay slider. Missing indentation indicated in red.

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Base plate and sliders of a later T2b (and T3) kombi.

Will add some more photos below which show the different steps of the disassembly and reassembly of the seat. The covers for back rest and seat both have a 1-cm-wide cardboard rim sewn to the lower ends. This folds around a metal rim of the seat and back rest. Disassembly starts with carefully lifting this out with a flat screw driver.

 

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A Christmas kombi!

24 12 2015

If Santa drove a kombi, this could be it! Spotted two days ago in Melbourne, with beautiful new paint job in what is probably chianti red (L31H) and pastel white. Judging from the red paint coat on the wheels, inside the wheel houses and on the inside of the van, it probably started its life as an all-red kombi and the white top was added later. The paint job has been customized with a fine white-on-red line running around the car and “VW” written small and in cursive in orange-on-red at the front and back of the van, see photo below. Several details are non-stock, but nicely done: Front seats and back bench upholstered in a beautiful combination of red vinyl and red velour. Door panels and wall panels covered with the same material. Dash board resprayed in red instead of black. Chrome bumper in the back with a different shape than the original one.

Dating this kombi is interesting: Front indicators and rear air vents make it a late bay, so 1972 or younger. The indicator and windscreen wiper switches are of the older variety, from before 05/1974. The speedo is in miles per hour, updated later with a sticker to km/h.  Based on this educational video from 1974 on the conversion to the metric system in Australia, km/h was introduced to Australia on July 1, 1974. Chianti red as a color option was available only in 1971 and 1972. This should mean that this kombi is from between 1972 and mid-74, and most probably from 1972. Merry Xmas to everyone out there!

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South Australian Sopru Camper

14 12 2015

South Australian Sopru Campervan, spotted some weeks ago in Lorne, Victoria, with the evening sun in the background. Color may be Flipper Blue (CLR529). Pretty bad rust at the front mask and at the usual places, but hey, still cruising!

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