Amazing 1955 Splittie for Sale

20 08 2016

Very cool 1955 T1 split window bus for sale in the German Facebook group “VW Busfahrer T1 bis T6“. Thought I knew the photo. Turns out it is one of mine, from this older blog post. I had seen this brilliant bus 10 years ago at the 60-Years-Of-VW-Bus Festival in Hannover. If you are willing to part from > 30.000 British Pounds, this amazing bus could be yours! Below the original photo in all its beauty.

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Surf Coast Wedding Bus

17 11 2015

We went down to the coastal town of Lorne to catch up with friends and spend an early summer day on the beach. Lorne is a small town at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road, about 70 km south of Geelong. And look what a beautiful bus we saw on the highway: A bay window T2a/b hybrid kombi, set up as a wedding limousine! From the sticker in the rear window, it belongs to Coastal Kombi Weddings, so you can hire this beauty for the purpose. Following their web site, its name is Dormy, and the fold-up roof would fit to an earlier life as Dormobile campervan. Dormobile is a campervan conversion company in the UK which still exists and is known for their sideways opening fold-up roofs. The beige and white paint job looks perfect for weddings, bright, elegant and friendly. The interior also comes in bright colors (gray or beige) with two benches in the back facing each other. Fantastic for the job. What a beautiful idea to earn a living with a kombi!

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Great Ocean Road going into Lorne.

Great Ocean Road going into Lorne.

Beach and pier in Lorne.

Beach and pier in Lorne.





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.





More Flea Market Findings!

28 11 2014

Look what I bought myself! Found these three little buses a while ago on a flea market in Berlin. The blue one is an early bay window Dormobile Volkwagen camper from Matchbox (Series 23, © 1970, Made in England) with an English number plate. I guess there may once have been some kind of canvass attached to the fold up roof. The late bay window police bus says it is a Majorette No. 214 (“Fourgon VW, Made in France”, scale 1:60). Fourgon seems to be French for panel van. The other late bay window from the German Red Cross in Nuremberg is from Schuco (Made in Germany, scale 1:66, Model 817010) and proudly announces 60 PS and a top speed of 125 km/h. Love the scratches and how they turn out in these close-up photos. Original patina from decades of hard playing!

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The Berlin VW Bus Festival 2014!

23 08 2014

Last weekend Leon Dogwonder and I made it to the 2014 Berlin VW Bus Festival on an old airfield in Jueterbog, south of Berlin. Relaxed camping weekend in the bus, luckily less hot than last year, with lots of buses to check out and nice people to meet. In total about 450 buses, with the occasional late bay window between lots and lots of T3/T25s. The usual program, with people racing their buses and other vehicles on the old air field (1/8 mile), with a sand pit playground for the 4WD Syncro buses to test what they can handle, a show and shine competition and kiddie’s program. Great Weekend – hope you will enjoy the photos! Greetings to Jan, Kerstin, Flo, Heiko und Meike!

This samba  won "best van of the festival"

This samba won “best van of the festival”

1974 ex-Red Cross ambulance microbus turned campervan

1974 ex-Red Cross ambulance microbus turned campervan

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Another ex-ambulance van, this one from 1976

Another ex-ambulance van, this one from 1976

Nice and clean T3/T25 bus...

Nice and clean T3/T25 bus…

... and its VR6 Volkswagen 6-cylinder engine.

… and its VR6 Volkswagen 6-cylinder engine.

"Can't go fast - but everywhere"

“Can’t go fast – but everywhere”

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Spectators at the start of the Syncro Trial...

Spectators at the start of the Syncro Trial…

... and a syncro coming to the rescue of another one, stuck in the sand.

… and a syncro coming to the rescue of another one, stuck in the sand.

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About to present the results of an afternoon of hard crafting...

About to present the results of an afternoon of hard crafting…

And some of their beautiful products!

And some of their beautiful products!

Start of the 1/8 mile race, T3 vanagon against a Ford Mustang.

At the start line of the 1/8 mile race, T3 vanagon against a Ford Mustang.

My friend's 1992 T3 Bluestar, Leon Dogwonder and Taiga Lily

My friend’s 1992 T3 Bluestar, Leon Dogwonder and Taiga Lily

Leon guarding our Taiga Lily.

Leon guarding our Taiga Lily.

Leon allowed on the bed - a very special weekend.

Allowed on the bed – a very special weekend.





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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Kombis in the Movies: Rush

30 06 2014

I stumbled over this movie on the flight back from Australia in May: „Rush“ is about the rivalry between the Formula One drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt in the early and mid-seventies, culminating in Niki Lauda’s gruesome accident at the Nürburgring in 1976, and his come back after that. Most of my life I knew Niki Lauda only from his post-F1 times, as founder of an airline and pilot himself, and later as a F1 commentator. In that year of 1976, I proudly started primary school in August, and our bus Taiga Lily was born in May. The movie is actually pretty exciting, and the mini appearance of an early bay ambulance towards the end also made the kombi spotter happy. Looks like they got this detail quite right – the bus looks a lot like the real Red Cross kombi I saw last year in Berlin. The last of its kind, still in use at the Berlin Red Cross.

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Beautifying Taiga Lily

15 06 2014

Couple of details fixed in mid-May in our 1976 VW microbus Taiga Lily: Worn out inner door handle of the passenger door replaced with an original part found on Ebay (guess they are still being produced in Brazil). Heater tubing system under the dash board finally put back in (never got around to do that after buying the bus in 2010 and replacing a broken windscreen in 2011). Aged black plastic covers for the air vents on the dashboard replaced by new parts (from bus-ok.de, part numbers OK17099 and OK17086). And a pair of in-sets in the warm air channels through the dividing wall behind front seats finally put in. I had re-discovered these parts only after I had already assembled the air channels in 2012.

Worn out door handle.

Worn out door handle.

New original part.

New original part.

Original air vent cover (lower section) and new repro part.

Original air vent cover (lower section) and new repro part.

New air vent cover in place.

New air vent cover in place.

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Taiga Lily on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Taiga Lily on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

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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.

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