Geelong Late Bay Camper

13 06 2014

1975 campervan spotted in May in Geelong, Australia. Roo bars back and front. Also a pop-up roof one sees a lot over there, but not sure which conversion (Sunliner, Sopru?). Nice original-looking color with 1970ies stripes on the side. Large roof rack bridging the pop-up roof, with awnings on both sides, and plastic tubes at front and rear for addional storage. Fan pull switch in the dashboard I did not know yet but have seen in many late bays during this visit. What a very cool and down-to-earth camper!

PS, @Zero-to-sixty: Gear shift scheme on this ash tray (and in all late bays on this Australia trip) without the N for Neutral. But all were T2b’s or T2a/b hybrids, no T2a’s. Greetings from Berlin!

PS2 (Jan 2016): It is a Sopru camper, not a Sunliner. See also this Sopru blog post.







2014 National VW Club Bug-In

21 04 2014

We are back to Australia for a couple of weeks, visiting family and friends in Geelong and Melbourne. From German spring to a still very warm and sunny Australian autumn. There are less and less VW buses on the road each time we come over, but you still see many more than in Germany. And last Saturday all my wishes came true and we found a VW festival with show and shine event right here in Geelong, at the water front. Lots of people from the VW Club of Western Australia. Just learnt from their web site that this was the National VW Club Bug-In, a Volkswagen meeting hosted by a VW club from a different state every year over the Easter weekend. Great buses, great weather, and fantastic to speak to fellow VW fans at the other end of the world! Below is a first set of snapshots, including a beautifully restored VW type 3. Will post on some of the buses in more detail soon!

Early bay window, first registered in 1973 in Geelong.

Early bay window, first registered in 1973 in Geelong

1974 Rat-look bay window.

1974 Rat-look bay window



Pre-1969 VW 1500 / type 3

Pre-1970 VW 1500 / type 3

1977 Sopru Campervan

1977 Sopru Campervan

Beetle parade

Beetle parade


Official Kombi Farewell Video

12 04 2014

This beautiful video is doing the rounds at the moment. Looks like part of an official farewell campaign from Volkswagen Do Brasil, and comes in a Spanish version as well. Also featured on the Viva Westfalia blog. When you look on YouTube there seems to be a whole series of personal farewell videos from Brasilian kombi drivers in the same Volkswagen Do Brasil format, like this one from a food van owner. Thanks to Markus for sending the link!

Geelong Brewery Single Cabin

1 04 2014

Here comes Milo – a single cabin truck from the new Geelong outstation of the Western Australian Little Creatures brewery. Many thanks to Jodi and Campbell for the beautiful photos! Milo is probably from pre-1960. The indicators at the front (introduced in 1960) look as if added later. The original semaphore openings next to the door handles have been re-used for additional side indicators. Someone also built a new rear bumper bar, and a metal rail to replace the side walls of the cargo bay. The color could be velvet green (L512). Little Creatures seems to have a theme going here: There is a red-and-white split-window single cabin on the title photo of their Melbourne Brewery web page. Same metal bars as cargo bay doors. Post-1960 model with bullet indicators. Cool idea – I like the beer already! We will be back to Geelong to visit friends and family in about a week, after two long years in Germany. We are looking forward to seeing you all again!





New Front Axle, Part II

14 03 2014

Yay! Taiga Lily is back from the Beetle Clinic and as good as new! The new front axle has been installed, and with it many worn out parts of the steering mechanism have been replaced. New ball joints (German: Traggelenke), a new drag link (Lenkschubstange), a new steering dampner (Lenkungs- daempfer), new shock absorbers (Stossdämpfer), new tie rods (Spurstangen), a new wheel bearing (Radlagersatz) on one side, and a new set of four needle bearings (Nadellagersatz) for the four torsion arms. Hope I translated that all correctly. Will add snapshots of the respective pages of a VW repair manual below, for those who want to look into the details. Also check out this informative blog post by ZeroToSixtyEventually on the steering system of late bay buses and its maintenance. Finally, the main brake cylinder was rebuilt from the old to the new front axle beam and some aged brake lines were replaced. As a result of this operation, a wobbly steering experience has changed into quite a solid feel. Nice! And she also got her new road worthy certificate (German: “TUEV”), so she is legal again for the next two years!










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!






Kombi and Cooking with Jamie!

22 02 2014

Over the years we, as a family, have fallen completely in love with Jamie Oliver’s cooking shows. Up to the point where now our two-and-a-half-year-old brings DrJ’s tablet and yells either “Peppa Pig!” or “Jamie, Jamie!”. Jamie in turn seems to have fallen in love with old kombis. Below is the link to the first part of a four-episode Youtube series, “Jamie Cooks Summer”. Throughout all four episodes, an orange-and-white Brazilian bay window campervan gives the beautiful background for summer camping cooking. Towards the end of part-1 and in part-3 a sage green late bay has some brief appearances.

In 2005 Jamie travelled Italy on a cooking pilgrimage and cooked everywhere with the locals. He did that trip in a beautiful blue-and-white early split window samba bus with a matching trailor, made from the lower rear end of a Bay window bus. When I stumbled over the book of this trip, Jamie’s Italy, I had to buy it, if only for the photo of this bus trailor combination. But it is actually also a beautifully written and illustrated cook book, and I have cooked his lasagne recipe many times.

Photo of one of the introduction pages of the cook book "Jamie's italy".

Photo of one of the introduction pages of the cook book “Jamie’s Italy”.

Jamie Oliver's cook book "Jamie's Italy" (Pinguin Books, 2005).

Jamie Oliver’s cook book “Jamie’s Italy” (Pinguin Books, 2005).

P.S.: It seems that various technical problems with the splittie on the long way through Italy and Europe broke his love for this kombi, but as a kombi enthusiast that sounds unlikely to me and I will ignore these rumors. Instead, I will add a link to a cool TopGear Youtube video where the Stig races Jamie’s splittie while Jamie tries to make a salad in the back (the part on the kombi starts at 3:30 min).

Geelong Rat-Look Single Cab

15 02 2014

Here comes a split-window pick up truck, spotted November 2013 in Geelong, Australia, by kombi correspondent Campbell. Still with semaphores instead of indicators, so pre-1960. Does not seem to have much in terms of rear lights at all. Just realized that I actually had seen this bus already in Dec 2011, also in Geelong, at that time with a registration that said it was from 1956. Here is the link to the old post. Seems the bus has changed hands since then. Now it comes with a club permit registration. And someone replaced the original wheels with shiny chrome ones. Looks like a lot of work to get it back to rust-free condition. But then the rat-look also is pretty cool. Thanks to Campbell for the photos!





The last bus finds a home

2 02 2014

Taiga Lily embroidered…

1 02 2014

I re-discovered this beautiful piece when we sorted our study in the christmas break. Got it as a present from DrJ who stitched it in about 2011, black thread on paper. It comes in our buses’ original paint job, Taigagruen (sage green) and white. For more stitch art of DrJ check out Stitchalicious and her Etsy shop.