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Tigger's Haus....

'cause the right vehicle can get you to where you want to be....

I never thought much about vans until we spent 1 1/2 months in a camper in New Zealand and, while the one we had there was less than ideal, it opened our eyes to the options that something like that gave you for adventure travel...

I've had Tigger, the campervan, for about 14 years now, and it didn't take long at all for her to become a core part of our activities, she became our "mobile weekender", as my ex so aptly put it. Tigger was my first return to VWs after nearly 20 years (I had a '61 beetle in my early 20s), and the bug (pardon the pun) bit pretty quick, within a few months or so, we were off in her EVERY weekend, and the idea of NOT having a Type 2 became a truly loathesome thought.

THEN, when talking to one of the the kids in a friend's shop about Kombis (he was hoping to get a Crew Cab Splittie and do it up, ended up with a T2a bus) in the process of discussing HIS plans for doing up Crew Cabs, I remembered how much I've wanted a Crew Cab as well (but a Bay, not a Splittie), so I started looking for one with decent bodywork to do up as a Tonka Truck, and replace the car (daily driver) with, but that didn't happen.

However, there IS the Yeti project.... and the REAL pipedream.


Tigger - the Mobile Weekender

On a trip to New Zealand, I struggled with a High Roof Toyota Hi-Ace Campervan for 6 weeks, trying to keep it going straight in high winds, and trying to avoid ending up in a ditch when we pulled off the road once (at about 20 KPH), and the rotten thing just kept sliding towards the ditch beside the road, it eventually stopped with the passenger side front tyre on the edge of the ditch, NOT fun, I can assure you. The van was also badly laid out, in that you had to go out the side door, and in the back door if the bed was down & you wanted to cook, but for all its (many, many) faults, it did open our eyes to the alternatives for travel.

After we returned to Australia, I kept my eye out for a suitable campervan, and finally picked up Tigger, an orange 1974 Volkswagon Poptop Campmobile (with the free standing annex, rack, stone guards etc which we haven't used so far) It was a bit of a sad moment for the family I bought her off, actually, she'd been in the family from new, the guy who sold it to me had driven her home from the dealer for his father (as a teenager) and now his teenaged daughters were having trouble saying goodbye, obviously a LOT of memories for them (hey, I've only had her for 5 years and I'VE already got a lot of memories attached to her, I (briefly!!!) thought of selling her when my ex left, but when I thought about it, it didn't take long to decide that, if anything was going, it would be the car, not Tigger. The poor old thing was a bit tired when I got her, and most of her mechanicals have been replaced, but she goes quite well (on and off-road), has just about all the comforts of home (6'6" of headroom with the top up, and you can walk around, get to the stove, fridge & everything else with the bed down), and will happily take two people, two bikes & whatever other bushwalking & camping gear anywhere you'd like to go. In one trip through NSW, Victoria & Tasmania, she did over 3000 miles in 5 weeks, hardly missing a beat.


I realise that campervans are an abomination to many purists in the walking & cycling arenas, but when time & money are both limited, a suitable one CAN give you more options than any other transport medium, anyway, it's horses for courses, some love them, some loathe them.

Tigger's Stats

Model: 1974 RHD Volkswagon (Sopru) PopTop Campmobile (built on a Model 234 Kombi base).

Colour: Bright Orange (L20B/E1) (to be redone soon)

Engine: Originally dual carb 1800 Type IV, now, dual carb 2L Type IV with oversized Porsche Valves (FI back on soon, hopefully).


Transaxle: 1974 1800 Type 2

Steering: Stock 1974 Type 2

Brakes: 1974 Type 2 Disk/Drum

Suspension: Stock 1974 Type 2

Wheels: 15x6JJ-ET26 gold alloy Performance 10 spoke mags

Tyres: BF Goodrich M+S Touring T/A 205/70R15 95S


Bars: Homemade but functional Bullbar/spare tyre mount up front, tow bar on rear.

Cockpit: Sports Seats, good lap/sash seatbelts, tacho added to dash.

Sound System: Removable Face Radio/Cassette, with 6 CD Stacker and four speakers (two in cockpit, two in shelf above the bed in the rear).

Alarm: Remote keyed alarm, incorporating central door locking, and an ignition immobiliser.

Cabin (rear): Full camper interior, rear seat pulls up for a double bed in rear, pull out double bed in the PopTop, 3 way fridge, two burner stove, full cupboards to window height down driver's (Right Hand) side ( wardrobe, sink and water tank removed by original owner, and cupboards recovered. Both the idea and the execution were quite good, there is much more space, and they're still good 20 years later) Ventilation is handled by opening roof hatch, two pane wind out windows opposite the sliding door, and opening vent windows in the sliding door, and rear side window on the other side.

Extras: Moulded Plastic cooling scoops on rear vents to lower engine bay temperatures, and Moulded Plastic tray added below dash for extra storage (both from VVDS).

On the wish list for Tigger are;

A trip to the panel beaters to get the couple of minor scrapes fixed, and the entire van sprayed before rust starts (she has no rust at the moment).

Re-install Fuel Injection. (Story behind this, the 1800 in her when I bought her was a bit tired, I got Vintage VeeDub Supplies (VVDS) to fit a very nice dual throttle body Fuel Injection system. The problem was that, while the power was there, milage was only 14 MPG. After taking her back a few times, they stripped the motor right down, and found that it was totally worn inside (even though it had been rebuilt three years before by another VW specialty shop, (obviously with reconditioned parts). VVDS looked after me, took the Fuel Injection back off, and rebuilt the motor as a strong 2L twin carb engine. WHEN money is available, I'd like to get the Fuel Injection back on, it'd give her a bit more pulling power, AND better economy.)

Tidy up the interior.

Project Yeti - the Abominable ShowVan (Faux Brasilia Deluxe Double Door Long Bed)

Since I found out about the 80's? Brasilia Busses, the design has appealed to me, as it's pretty much how I'd like to modify a Bay Window. I can't afford, store, or use, more than two Type 2's, and I still want a Double Cab, but..... now I have the Double Cab AND a Single Cab suitable for the project (I have a '75 DC, AND a '72 SC now), and I've got the early Deluxe (15 Window) rear, the fake Brasilia Deluxe Double Door Long Bed project is ON (Take a late model Double Cab, graft on a Single Cab bed and Pre '64 Deluxe rear corner windows & hatch, along with the rear door of a RHD double Cab, reversed as a suicide door, lower it (maybe), with tinted windows etc. With the combination of late model mechanicals (engine, tranny, brakes, suspension) and cab, the retro style of the early Deluxes, Double Doors in the rear for easier access, and the longer Single Cab bed AND "Treasure Chest" for carrying gear, it should make a great machine!)

To date, the project has cost less than $2500 in total, I realise that I haven't started the actual construction side as yet, but I DO have the majority of the parts I need (including the VERY hard to find 15 window corners & hatch), so once I have the current money pit (house) done, and have ready funds again, it's off to the engineers to sort out the engineering requirements I'm going to have to meet to get the creation(s) registered, once they're finished, THEN I can start work.

So, + + =

Of course, the "leftovers" can be interesting, too, I'm very tempted to try and build a Shorty runabout ( "Yak"? After all, it fits in quite well with "Yeti" , dunnit? ;^) from the SC Cab & DC Bed, as well as the main stretch truck from the DC Cab & SC Bed. VERY tempting idea, and it could be quite viable as a town runabout. ;^) Further down the track, the plans ALSO call for a removable pop-top canopy for the rear (over the tray), so that the truck can be used as a camper, removing the need to keep a separate camper.

I realise that the purists will hate even the concept of what I want to try here, and I'd never try it with a trucks that were reasonably restorable normally (there just aren't enough of them to countenance hacking up decent ones to this degree), but grabbing them (just) before they go to the crusher, and getting parts from other Type 2s that have ALREADY been trashed is a different thing (in my book, anyway). Anyway, IF I get her finished, I'm afraid that I'll be looking at things on the basis of "If you don't like it, don't look at it, 'kay?" This is actually more what I wanted when I originally started planning the double cab, anyway, get a REASONABLE starting point, and build it up from scratch. I was steered away from that idea by the VW experts, who pointed out how much work and trouble would be involved (even though the original plan was FAR more restrained, AND the intended starting point was rather more "reasonable" ;^), but this is more what I want. Besides which, this is all I can afford now. Question is, can I develop the skills I need to do the project? One way to find out, I suppose, I CAN call on friends who have the skills, but I'd rather do it myself if I can.

I thought that the '75 Double Cab was TOO much of a project for a beginner, but I don't have a choice now, due to the hidden problems in the '79. So that's the plan, get the parts, and the (few) better panels from the '79, cut the '75 DC & '72 SC in two, and weld the SC bed onto the '75 with suitable reinforcing frames, then I can remove the rear of the cab, form the panels to fit and weld the rear hatch surround (and corner windows) off a 15 window Splittie in there (with some tubing framework for reinforcement, which should strengthen the cab). The DCs are actually gone most at the spots that I want to modify/replace (is someone trying to tell me something?), in that I want to replace the rear corners of the cab, rear windscreen & panels with the 15/23 window ones (these areas are pretty much rusted out), and remove the Right Hand Rear window (which is also a serious rust spot) & fit the Rear door from another Double Cab (RHD, Model 268 (reversed)). While the '75 DC's bodywork is pretty bad, it's complete, side & rear dropgates (rusty, but there), rear seat pedestal, front & rear seats (rough, but there), all doors etc. The '79 DC INITIALLY looked like better bet to start on, but it was actually TOTALLY rusted out underneath (looked like he'd been driving it on the beach in salt water), so it's been stripped & had the best bits chopped off, the remains are ready for the scrap yard. The '72 SC bed that I want to graft on is far better than EITHER of the DC beds. Hopefully, between the three I have enough to build something out of.

Stop Press: I have most of the 15 window parts I need, after all, thanks to Rob King from Melbourne. Rob brought up the (fixable) corner window frames & glass, and a big window hatch to go with them (w/o glass) when he came up for the show at Easter. The original plan was to weld them together to form the requisite cab rear, but I've bent to pressure to leave the rear hatch as an opening hatch, so I need to find a suitable hatch surround (looking at the engine hatch surround on the '79 when I cut it up, I think that's my answer, the right size & it APPEARS to be the right structure, too) & rear roof section ( Bay SC & DC cabs have a curved roof line across the rear, whereas I need a straight line to mount the early hatch, so I need to graft the rear roof section off a van in to get that) to make the 5 door DC work. Then, IF the rear door area off the '79 DC can be welded in as a suicide door on the driver's side, and the '72 Single Cab Bed can be grafted on properly, then the Yeti Project will have been brought to fruition! There are still a few other points to be sorted out, relocating the side dropgate latches (need to check the location & alignment, but thinking of mounting the latches on the front of the bed facing panel (reversed), thus leaving the rear corner windows clear), what to do with the modified roof line (I expect that I'll have to graft a section of a bus roof in, as noted above), whether it's possible to re-locate & use the late DC cool air intakes on the modified truck, etc. All in all, while not trivial, the issues do not seem insurmountable, and I'll have the truck I want. ;^)

Yeti's Stats

Original Model: 1975 RHD Volkswagon Double Cab Utility (Model 268).

Cab: 1975 RHD Volkswagon Double Cab.

Bed: 1972 Volkswagon Single Cab.

Original Colour: White over Bright Orange, planning on Black.

Engine: 1979 2L dual carb Type IV.

Transaxle: 1979 Type 2 091

Steering: Stock 1975 Type 2

Brakes: 1975 Type 2 Disk/Drum

Suspension: Stock 1975 Type 2 now, planning on Indian Automotive's lowered adjustable beam & rear end, and heavy sway bars front & rear (maybe).

Wheels: 1995 Audi A4 15x6J-ET45 10 spokes.

Tyres: None at moment, planning on 205/70/15, like I'm using on Tigger.

Interior: Rough, stock 1975/79 DC for now, planning on extensive mods.

On the drawing board for Yeti are;

Rear end (Bed, sides, dropgates) from my 1972 Single Cab Utility (Model 264)

Rear hatch and rear quarter windows from a 1963 15 Window Deluxe Splitty.

Rear door setup from my 1979 RHD (Model 268) DC, reversed as a suicide door on the driver's side.

Rear Wheel openings raised to match front wheel openings, to clear big tyres.

The full lowered (maybe) adjustable suspension kit from Indian Autos, and heavy sway bars front & rear.

An all Black colour scheme.

A set of '76 Deluxe opening front door quarter windows.

Another under dash tray (if Boris @ VVDS will get more made).

Sports seats (like Tigger's), or good seats out of a late model car (for the driver's seat, at least).

Carpet throughout & reupholster the seats.

Sound System and alarm setups similar to Tigger's.

Bumper Bars: '68-'72 T2a Rear Bumper, and Brasilia Front Bumper (whatever it is).

On the WISH LIST for Yeti are;

2nd "Treasure Chest" door for full access to the "Treasure Chest" under the SC bed.

VW 2.5L TDI R5 Touareg motor with B&B Level 2 kit (169 KW, 490 NM torque).

Gene Berg 5 speed conversion on 091 transaxle, custom gears and LSD diff.

"Off Road" Touareg air spring Suspension, suspension height could be lowered around town, but jacked up for off-road excursions.

Full Suicide door treatment for the rear doors.

Wind up/power windows for the rear doors.

Early Deluxe Sunroof/Skylights?

Integrated Air Conditioning system (if a suitable system can be found and/or converted).

Removable pop-top canopy with fibreglass/windowed sides, to allow camping in the rear.

Convertable Sideloader modifications to passenger side body & bed in front to allow better camper setup, as well as low loader for heavy/tall cargo. Plans (IE: pipedreams ;^) include a sideloader ramp (though a ramp may be harder to keep in decent shape than the old Tieflader (roadworks) single opening door) to the "beltline" on the passenger side for loading gear, closure by locking bolts through close fit "U" channels to allow the ramp to act as side rail of frame. Gusseted "U" braces across the floor, with diagonal cross braces front & rear to retain torsional rigidity, removable/folding bed section above "treasure chest" (or "floor" now), which is bolted in to retain integrity when installed (this would be a modification of the original Tieflader folding bed sections, as I'm planning to add pivoting plates at the folding joints that could be unbolted at one end, swung to span the joints, and then re-bolted, and bolt the "free" end in, hence forming rigid beam joints). When the poptop canopy is fitted, the "beltline" level ramp would be replaced with Split Window double cargo doors, the door frame bolting in for torsional rigidity (in place of side rail fitting). Therefore, when it was being used as a camper, the first 4' would have the poptop camper's full 6 1/2' of headroom (prime appeal of the campers), and the removable fridge/stove could be located in the standard spot. Added bonus would be the ability to use the inside of the opening cargo doors as cupboard/shelf space.

Type 4 Synchro front end (MNO), hooked up to electric drive ( ala Otmar's Hybrid Stretch Vanagon, nice guy, BTW, very willing to answer queries and offer assistance in regard to Stretch VW questions.)

Solar panel roof to power electric motor & accessories ( less reason to run rear mount TDI motor ).

Yak - The Sporty Shorty

Of course, IF I can build the stretch, and IF I do the cuts clean, I'll have just about another full truck in pieces as well, so why not try to build two out of three, instead of one out of three? Thing is, I can't "jump" into doing the Yeti project up front, anyway (due to financial constraints), which means that (with car space for two, maybe, and only one if I'm working on them) I've gotta store the trucks on the street AND register at least one as a "proper" truck in the meantime, soooo, I've got the '79 2L drive train for the DC, and I've got the 1600 transmission back for the '72, so I "just" need to get a running 1600 engine for the SC, and I can move it around OK (hopefully staying ahead of problems with council etc) (OK, there ARE a few other "minor" points to be addressed, like fixing (probably riveting) plates over the holes where the metal's been cut away for rust work, getting bumpers to put back on it so it looks "sort of" respectable, etc, but they're not too major ). Anyway, I'll have a front & rear for the bodywork, AND a drive train. It'll be quite a bit of work, but it seems worth a try to build up the "offcuts" as a little Shorty SC runabout.

Hopefully + =

Plan for the "leftovers", then, build a Shorty runabout from the SC Cab & DC Bed, as well as the main stretch truck from the DC Cab & SC Bed, it should be quite viable as a town runabout. ;^) Further down the track, wouldn't mind building a 'glass canopy for the bed, so that the "little" truck can be used as a camper, too.

Once again, the purists will hate the very idea of what I'm planning ( hey, two abominations in one family! ;^), but that's their problem, the SC cab & DC bed are going to be pretty damn marginal anyway, the floor & wheelwell are gone in the SC cab, and I was going to give up on the DC bed (though I won't be able to if I'm going to try & register it as a "proper" DC first, then swap the good bits into it & sell something else), but if I've gotta fix them up, I may as well try to get it fixed up properly. ( Anyway, I think it'd be cute ( sorry, "Keewwwlll" ;^) to have a stretch AND a shorty, both ends of the spectrum, as it were!

So, obviously, when I cut the '75 DC & '72 SC in two, and weld the SC bed onto the '75 with suitable reinforcing frames, I'll ALSO weld the DC bed onto the '72 (with suitable reinforcing frames), raise the rear wheel arches to the same level as the front, etc, etc,

Yak's Stats

Model: 1972 RHD Volkswagon Single Cab Utility (Model 264).

Cab: 1972 RHD Volkswagon Single Cab.

Bed: 1975 Volkswagon Double Cab.

Original Colour: Blue, planning on Black.

Engine: 197? 1600 Single Port Type I.

Transaxle: 1972 Type 2 1600

Steering: Stock 1972 Type 2

Brakes: 1972 Type 2 Disk/Drum

Suspension: Stock 1972 Type 2 now, planning on Indian Automotive's lowered adjustable beam & rear end, heavy sway bars front & rear (maybe).

Wheels: 15x6JJ ET 26 gold alloy Performance 10 spoke mags

Tyres: None at moment, planning on 225/55/15, or 235/55/15.

Alt Wheels: Black 8.5Jx18H2-ET20 5 spoke Antera mags.

Alt Tyres: None at moment, planning on 235/35/18, or 285/30/18.

Interior: Rough, stock 1972 SC for now, planning on extensive mods.

On the drawing board for Yak are;

Rear end (Bed, sides, dropgates) from my 1975 Double Cab Utility (Model 268)

Hatch set into the bed, to access the space under the bed, but that'll probably be done earlier as part of fixing the rust patches in that part of the bed.

A set of wooden open slat dropgates, using the hinges & latches salvaged from the '79's rusted out gates, nicely retro & light ;^)

Rear Wheel openings raised to match front wheel openings, to clear big tyres.

The full lowered adjustable suspension kit from Indian Autos, and heavy sway bars front & rear.

An all Black colour scheme.

A set of '76 Deluxe opening front door quarter windows.

Another under dash tray (if Boris @ VVDS will get more made).

Sports seats (like Tigger's), or good seats out of a late model car (for the driver's seat, at least).

Carpet throughout & reupholster the seats.

Sound System and alarm setups similar to Tigger's.

Bumper Bars: '68-'72 T2a Rear Bumper, and '72 T2a Front Bumper.

On the WISH LIST for Yak are;

Subaru B4 2L motor, maybe without the sequential twin turbos (she'd still go quite well;^)

Integrated Air Conditioning system (if a suitable system can be found and/or converted).

Custom canopy with fibreglass/windowed sides, to allow camping in the rear etc.

For the Hopeless Dub Dreamer - Type 166 Schwimmwagen

Now I KNOW it's a useless wish list, but IF I were to want ANOTHER VW (after I get the Project Yeti finished, of course!), this is the one I'm lusting after (well duh, every other VW nut is as well, I realise, but it's gotta be the ultimate VW special model.)

Yak & Yeti would have enough performance for me (If I won Lotto & could REALLY think about a Type 166, Yeti would have a the twin turbo Subaru HL6 motor, and a custom 5 speed under her to get her motivated, and Yak would have a B4 motor & 5 speed ;^), so a refurbished Type 166 would be the perfect little off-road buggy, 4WD, amphibious, cute, it'd round the collection out well, no? Haul it behind the Type 2s with a custom hitch (like they use behind RVs in the States) on the longer trips. Then when you pull in, you just unhook the hitch and go play, sounds good to me. Interestingly enough, it wouldn't even be the only Type 166 in Sydney, searching for info on the Schwimmwagens turned up a reference to a local one already! ;^)

ACTUALLY, as I'm more after usable Schwimmwagen functionality than an authentic restoration that you'd worry about scratching, I'd be more happy with a replica. There was a rumour doing the rounds 12-18 months ago about someone building a replica Schwimmwagen in fibreglass, that'd do me just fine. I imagine that it shouldn't be too hard to configure the "chassis" to use Syncro (wasser boxer) mechanicals for the 4WD, suspension, and brakes (far more available and reliable than the originals). The propellor drive would be the biggest problem, but a belt drive & electric clutch could provide that. It would be a buggy, not a "real" Schwimmwagen, but that wouldn't worry me, and I'd be willing to bet that others would look at it the same way. As a side benefit, it'd have better performance, handling and braking than the original on land, and perhaps even on water, too, as the fibreglass hull should be lighter, the motor would be more powerful, and recent developments in hull form & propellor design could improve the water performance a litle, too. I, for one, would be QUITE happy to have a "Syncro Schwimmwagen" for a runabout & off-road buggy.

NB. Links to other sites from this page should not be construed as an endorsement of these sites, they're an indication that, in my opinion, there is content of great interest in these sites, no more.

Indian Automotive
Save The Bays.org
Mike Visket's Busnames Page
VW Baywindow Trucks
Ozdak - Informal Oz VW Interest Group
Andy's Bus Page
Baja Buses
The Westfalia Owners Web Site
International Schwimmwagen Site
Tyre Size Calculator

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