Who would have thought that the funky, quirky VW microbus would
become a red-hot collectable? This 1979 Volkswagen bus takes a
little different path with a California-style custom makeover that
includes a few performance upgrades, an awesome custom look, and a
rolling movie theater within. Just imagine hitting the cruise
nights with this neat little bus!
Traditional busses are everywhere, but if you want to really stand out, building a custom bus is the only way to go. This is a cargo van, not a transporter, so it lends itself perfectly to the two-tone look, since you don't have to worry about windows. The burgundy metallic paint has a lot of metallic and pearl in it, so it really glows in the sunlight, and even in our studio you can see that the sheetmetal is incredibly straight and smooth. The black strip along the window line adds length and further differentiates this Vee-Dub from its siblings. A few body-colored trim bits such as the simple steel bumpers make it seem sleek (as sleek as a box on wheels can look, anyway) but the big chrome VW emblem on the nose is recognized around the world. There's clearly a lot of money tied up in this build, and while it's not perfect, it does make a statement that is hard to resist.
Inside, there are a host of changes and you'll see why the panel truck was ideal for this build. The front seats are the usual wide buckets now wrapped in comfortable two-tone gray vinyl. Slide behind the big, leather-wrapped steering wheel and you'll see the original instruments, which pretty much amount to speed and fuel level, just like in the Beetle. However, with the upgraded engine and a 4-speed manual transmission, it's pretty peppy around town. Neatly fitted black carpets throughout help control noise and heat and are a big step up from the original rubber mats, and the custom door panels add a little flash, too. Open the rear sliding door and you'll see why using a panel van was important. There's a standard bench seat, of course, and it's upholstered to match the front seat, but everything else is black. Hit a button and a flat-screen TV rises out of a special housing behind the front seat, giving you long-range entertainment, including a Sony PS3. It's dark and quiet back there, like a movie theater, and it's easy to imagine hitting the road with the whole gang in this one. There's still plenty of storage behind the seat, and it's all quite nicely finished so it'll draw a lot of attention at shows.
The engine is a strong-running 1774cc flat-four with a pair of EMPI carburetors and a few other horsepower tricks that really wake it up. It's neatly detailed and painted to match the bodywork, so don't be afraid to show it off. That giant alternator powers two batteries, and it offers 110 volts to power the entertainment system as well. The 4-speed manual transmission shifts about how you'd expect a VW to shift, a little vague but you'll get the hang of it, and the suspension is augmented with air bags so you can fine-tune the ride height. Disc brakes have been fitted up front and there's a great-sounding exhaust out back that has a bit of aggression but loses none of that traditional VW soundtrack. Reproduction 17-inch Fuchs alloys look like they belong on an early Porsche 911, and they're wrapped in reasonably fat 205/50/17 Yokohama radials.
This is the coolest thing you've never seen before, and just imagine the crowd it'll attract everywhere it goes. Fun to drive and nicely finished, this VW is a great combination of practical and fun. Call today!