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A specialist restorer sorted out the final body blending, as the vehicle had all the rusty panel sections replaced. Priming in epoxy, then painting in 2-pack white. Most people restoring a V-dub, go for soft two-tone colours. We needed to keep the scheme plain, to allow for sign writing, or wrapping.




The epitome of eco transport - though in fact quite heavy on the gas - there is nothing like an original German camper van, to make one think of flower power and the swinging 60s. It makes you want to get out the paint pots and decorate the van in vibrant petals, that would make Austin Powers proud.






Cutting our all of the rot. There is no point trying to patch up rust peppered panels. Visitors used to call the van the Pepper-Pot. Most members of the public never restore a vehicle, or pick up a welding torch in anger, thus could never imagine that a rusty VW can be brought back to new condition. Depending on how much time you have to lavish on your wagon.





The Cleaner Ocean Foundation (COF) has use of a 40 year old VW camper (custom modified for safer operation) including slightly wider alloy rims and tyres. This is a rare twin sliding door wagon, T2 bay window, that had one of those ugly steel lips, instead of just a bumper. That had to go. The T2 is a practical vehicle, able to carry an 8'x4' plywood sheet on the inside of the vehicle. With a roof rack, the camper becomes a surfing bus. You just need a surf board and wet suit. Then follow the other V-Dubs down to Cornwall.








WATER TEST TANK - Shown here in November 2022, Now separated by an additional moisture proof partition. This is the water basin that is used to trial scale model hulls, for sea-keeping and drag. Featuring wind making fans that are useful to test roll stability when large solar arrays are deployed. 


THE ROBOT LAB: The robotics laboratory roofed and dry with power and lighting to enable further development of scale models used for testing, without taking workshop space that is used for constructing full size components.




Imagine driving your VW camper, the sun shining, surf board strapped to the roof, window down, and the Mamas and Papas belting out California Dreamin' as the sign for Newquay appears just on the horizon. This is what life is all about. As the swell builds up in Cornwall, you will see processions of VW campers making their way down to the boarding Mecca. Assorted colours of vans - blue, green, yellow and the occasional custom painted masterpiece - pass one another on small country roads. Even the most die-hard of cynics can’t suppress a grin. Wishing they were part of the scene.






OLD & NEW - The Ideal 150 from SIP did our welder proud for over 20 years. Before that, he used an Oxford Bantam 180amp stick welder. The machine on the right is the all singing and dancing 450amp, 3-phase machine, with separate (top mounted) spool - and double pinch wheel drives, for continuous welding cycles. You will need decent welding equipment to restore 40 years old vehicles, and keep them in good condition.





The West Country welcomes the VW camper and surfers; they go hand in hand. The increase in numbers indicate a growing culture. Unlike larger campers, the saying ‘small is beautiful’ is absolutely spot on when it comes to the V-Dub bus. Fellow motorists tend to forgive the VW camper as it slowly chugs up a 20% hill in Devon or Cornwall. During the summer months the West Country is full of tourists, but it is mainly in the month of September that serious surfers and fans appear.


Our bus has a 1600 cc engine, with big (stainless steel) valve heads, larger oil pump and silent Bug-Pack exhausts. Hence, it gets a move on, and can tow another vehicle. Try that with a split-screen.






WASH & BRUSH UP - The air cooled 4 cylinder, boxer engine, was designed by Professor Ferdinand Porsche. This one is (again) unusual, because it has an alternator, rather than a dynamo as standard. New tin-ware was enameled in blue and fitted. We also fitted new big-valve cylinder heads, where the studs in the originals has sheared. Our mechanics have a lot of experience between them. Except on battery electric production cars. But, that is high on the agenda.







In September the British National Surf Championships takes place at Fistral beach, Newquay. Enthusiasts head down to the surf, hunting for that special wave which will set their blood rushing and their heart thumping. There is one particular wave known as the Cribbar or the ‘widow maker’; this wave is found just half a mile offshore from Newquay. Once a year, the sea and weather conditions produce a wave which can reach over 30ft. As Britain’s only legitimate big wave surfing spot, this small Cornish town has taken its place in UK surfing folklore – it may not be Hawaii, but you can feel that buzz.



The Volkswagen Type 2, known officially, depending on body type as the 'Transporter,' 'Kombi' and 'Microbus,' and informally as the Bus (US) or Camper (UK), is a panel van introduced in 1950 by German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model – following and initially deriving from Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1 (Beetle), it was given the factory designation Type 2.

As one of the forerunners of the modern cargo and passenger vans, the Type 2 gave rise to forward control competitors in the United States in the 1960s, including the Ford Econoline, the Dodge A100, and the Chevrolet Corvair 95 Corvan, the latter adopting the Type 2's rear-engine configuration. European competition included the 1960s FF layout Renault Estafette and the FR layout Ford Transit. The FF layout Citroën H Van though, pre-dated the VW by three years. As of January 2010, updated versions of the Type 2 remain in production in international markets— as a passenger van, as a cargo van, and as a pickup truck.

Like the Beetle, the van has received numerous nicknames worldwide, including the "microbus", "minibus", and, due to its popularity during the counterculture movement of the 1960s, "Hippie van".

Autocar magazine had announced the T2 was to cease production on December 31 2013, due to the introduction of more stringent safety regulations in Brazil.

The concept for the Type 2 is credited to Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon. (It has similarities in concept to the 1920s Rumpler Tropfenwagen and 1930s Dymaxion car by Buckminster Fuller, neither of which reached production.) Pon visited Wolfsburg in 1946, intending to purchase Type 1s for import to Holland, where he saw an improvised parts-mover and realized something better was possible using the stock Type 1 pan. He first sketched the van in a doodle dated April 23, 1947, proposing a payload of 690 kg (1,500 lb) and placing the driver at the very front. Production would have to wait, however, as the factory was at capacity producing the Type 1.

When capacity freed up a prototype known internally as the Type 29 was produced in a short three months. The stock Type 1 pan proved to be too weak so the prototype used a ladder chassis with unit body construction. Coincidentally the wheelbase was the same as the Type 1's. Engineers reused the reduction gear from the Type 81, enabling the 1.5 ton van to use a 25 hp (19 kW) flat four engine. 

The Type 2, along with the 1947 Citroën H Van, are among the first 'forward control' vans in which the driver was placed above the front road wheels. They started a trend in Europe, where the 1952 GM Bedford CA, 1959 Renault Estafette, 1960 BMC Morris J4, and 1960 Commer FC also used the concept. In the United States, the Corvair-based Chevrolet Corvan cargo van and Greenbrier passenger van went so far as to copy the Type 2's rear-engine layout, using the Corvair's horizontally opposed, air-cooled engine for power. Except for the Greenbrier and various 1950s–70s Fiat minivans, the Type 2 remained unique in being rear-engined. This was a disadvantage for the early "barndoor" Panel Vans, which could not easily be loaded from the rear due to the engine cover intruding on interior space, but generally advantageous in traction and interior noise.

The first generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 with the split windshield, informally called the Microbus, Splitscreen, or Splittie among modern fans, was produced from 8 March 1950 through the end of the 1967 model year. From 1950 to 1956, the T1 was built in Wolfsburg; from 1956, it was built at the completely new Transporter factory in Hanover. Like the Beetle, the first Transporters used the 1100 Volkswagen air-cooled engine, an 1,131 cc (69.0 cu in), DIN-rated 18 kW (24 PS; 24 bhp), air-cooled flat-four-cylinder 'boxer' engine mounted in the rear. This was upgraded to the 1200 – an 1,192 cc (72.7 cu in) 22 kW (30 PS; 30 bhp) in 1953.

In 1962, a heavy-duty Transporter was introduced as a factory option. It featured a cargo capacity of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) instead of the previous 750 kg (1,653 lb), smaller but wider 14" road wheels, and a 1.5 Le, 31 kW (42 PS; 42 bhp) DIN engine. This was so successful that only a year later, the 750 kg, 1.2 L Transporter was discontinued. The 1963 model year introduced the 1500 engine – 1,493 cc (91.1 cu in) as standard equipment to the US market at 38 kW (52 PS; 51 bhp) DIN with an 83 mm (3.27 in) bore, 69 mm (2.72 in) stroke, and 7.8:1 compression ratio. When the Beetle received the 1.5 L engine for the 1967 model year, its power was increased to 40 kW (54 PS; 54 bhp) DIN.






2 PACK - All nicely cocooned in a protective paint. The windscreens needed to be re-fitted with new rubbers and sealed. Poorly fitting and degraded window rubbers is one of the main causes for bodywork rusting through.





In late 1967, the second generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 (T2) was introduced. It was built in Germany until 1979. In Mexico, the Volkswagen Combi and Panel were produced from 1970 to 1994. Models before 1971 are often called the T2a (or "Early Bay"), while models after 1972 are called the T2b (or "Late Bay").

This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split front windshield, and was slightly larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor. Its common nicknames are Breadloaf and Bay-window, or Loaf and Bay for short. At 1.6 L and 35 kW (48 PS; 47 bhp) DIN, the engine was also slightly larger. The new model also did away with the swing axle rear suspension and transfer boxes previously used to raise ride height. Instead, half-shaft axles fitted with constant velocity joints raised ride height without the wild changes in camber of the Beetle-based swing axle suspension. The updated Bus transaxle is usually sought after by off-road racers using air-cooled Volkswagen components.

The T2b was introduced by way of gradual change over three years. The first models featured rounded bumpers incorporating a step for use when the door was open (replaced by indented bumpers without steps on later models), front doors that opened to 90° from the body, no lip on the front guards, and crescent air intakes in the D-pillars (later models after the Type 4 engine option was offered, have squared off intakes). They also had unique engine hatches, and up until 1971 front indicators set low on the nose rather than high on either side of the fresh air grille – giving rise to their nickname as "Low Lights".


The 1971 Type 2 featured a new, 1.6 L engine with dual intake ports on each cylinder head and was DIN-rated at 37 kW (50 PS; 50 bhp). An important change came with the introduction of front disc brakes and new road wheels with brake ventilation holes and flatter hubcaps. 1972's most prominent change was a bigger engine compartment to fit the larger 1.7- to 2.0-litre engines from the Volkswagen Type 4, and a redesigned rear end which eliminated the removable rear apron. The air inlets were also enlarged to accommodate the increased cooling air needs of the larger engines. We installed a tow-bar that (in-effect) gave us a removable rear apron.






SUMP EXTENSION - Add another litre of oil and more fin cooling, to your air cooled lump. The extra oil is ideal for Grand Tours. Staying cooler means less strain on the oil between changes. There is no oil filter on a VW engine. There is a centrifugal spin and wire gauze. So, it is important to clean the chamber and wire filter. We use thinners to be sure, to remove the grey sludge build up.




In 1971 the 1600cc Type 1 engine as used in the Beetle, was supplemented with the 1700cc Type 4 engine – as it was originally designed for the Type 4 (411 and 412) models. European vans kept the option of upright fan Type 1 1600 engine but the 1700 Type 4 became standard for US spec models.

In the Type 2, the Type 4 engine was an option for the 1972 model year onward. This engine was standard in models destined for the US and Canada. Only with the Type 4 engine did an automatic transmission become available for the first time in the 1973 model year. Both engines displaced 1.7 L, DIN-rated at 49 kW (67 PS; 66 bhp) with the manual transmission and 46 kW (63 PS; 62 bhp) with the automatic. The Type 4 engine was enlarged to 1.8 L and 50 kW (68 PS; 67 bhp) DIN for the 1974 model year and again to 2.0 L and 52 kW (71 PS; 70 bhp) DIN for the 1976 model year.


The 1978 2.0 L now featured hydraulic valve lifters, eliminating the need to periodically adjust the valve clearances as on earlier models. The 1975 and later U.S. model years received Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection as standard equipment; 1978 was the first year for electronic ignition, utilizing a hall effect sensor and digital controller, eliminating maintenance-requiring contact-breaker points. As with all Transporter engines, the focus in development was not on power, but on low-end torque. The Type 4 engines were considerably more robust and durable than the Type 1 engines, particularly in Transporter service.

The year 1971 also saw exterior revisions including relocated front turn indicators, squared off and set higher in the valance, above the headlights – 1972 saw square-profiled bumpers, which became standard until the end of the T2 in 1979. Crash safety improved with this change due to a compressible structure behind the front bumper. This meant that the T2b was capable of meeting US safety standards for passenger cars of the time, though not required of vans. The "VW" emblem on the front valance became slightly smaller.

Later model changes were primarily mechanical. By 1974, the T2 had gained its final shape. Very late in the T2's design life, during the late 1970s, the first prototypes of Type 2 vans with four-wheel drive (4WD) were built and tested. 









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