Wednesday, June 29, 2011

About Kombi’s

Now in a previous life, all I used to drive was a VW micro bus. My first on was a 1968 1200cc bus, which burst into tears when it saw even the slightest uphill gradient. So I bought a conversion kit from Monument spares in Pretoria West, where my friend Andy Payne worked at the time. I took the motor out, put on the new cylinders and stuck it all back. That solved the power problem, and it went like the clappers for about six months, before the motor blew up. Ahem, there is always payback for extra power.

All in all, I have owned five vans before.
So imagine my delight when we arrived at a slightly dodgy campsite deep in Germany’s hinterland, near a place north of Koblenz, to find a kind of Kombi jamboree, German style. I say German style because it was a quiet and ordered affair, no loud music or disgusting behavior usually associated with SA jamboree’s. Brats running around everywhere, which means that the parents are sober and well behaved. 
 Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (11)

This one, circa ‘67-ish was probably the nicest condition of them all. This was called a Fleetline Deluxe in SA at the time.

Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (7)
Another one of the same year, also well turned out.Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (3)

Also 67-ish.

Meevis-Family-(32)

This is an old picture I dug out showing mother, sis and I camping in the Bulawayo camp site in Zimbabwe ( Rhodesia) in the late 60’s. My father was at the time, far ahead of the curve when it came to camping vehicles. He’d bought the 1500cc Kombi brand new and fitted it out with a double bed, two beds in the front, a hot water system,water tanks in the bottom fold out kitchen with gas stove and a refrigerator. We went all over Zim and Mozambique as a family in that van.

Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (21)

This one is, except for the colour, the same model as my first one. Circa ‘62—ish. The ‘nipple’ indicator lights indicate the model.Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (26)

Cute as a button. But quite frankly, my time of owning one of these is finished. Nostalgia notwithstanding, they underpowered, old and slow. I lay under my Syncro more than I lay in my bed, working on her royal Madame. But I asked one of the guys and he said parts are still freely available on the internet.Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (24)

Some people mod their busses extensively.Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (25)

Nice. Check the medical kit on the door. I think I saw his wife and she was rather large! ---juuuust kidding…Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (30)

Nicely modded too, although you can imagine that 1600cc motor laboring to push this through the atmosphere.Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (16)

This one was standard on the outside with a modified flat six as the power plant. I imagine she will fly like the wind. Westfalia produced these Camper models in SA too and Daan Jacobs modified them by dropping a V6 Ford motor in them. A buddy of mine had one and it could do 180 kph easily. It was rather bouncy at that speed, but it still was impressive…..

Combis at Baderblick nera Koblenz (22)

And then there is always the Frankenfurter of any campsite…………………………….From Munchen to Stutguard to Kleinenzhof in Bad Wildbad (4)

This is the modern camper available here and a neat package it is too. Screw all the nostalgia. These sell for about 40.000-60,000 euro, so they not cheap. Sweet though. And there are a lot around, especially here in Germany. There bigger ones too ( I am going to do a post on them still), but nothing like I have seen in the States. Some of those thing are huge there. Wouldn’t work here though. The streets are to narrow. The streets are fucking narrow here
But then, neither are the old busses cheap either. The yellow one would sell for about 25,000 and the red ones for about 18,000. For a 40+ years old bus ? ----Stiff, man.

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