VW Type 2 Restoration
In many countries, VW vans and pick-ups are lovingly restored to their original state, and in such a way that a Car Show easily can be won with it. Always keep in mind that the restoration of a Volkswagen Microbus is not the cheapest hobby a man can choose, but it is economically justified in compare to the price of a new commercial vehicle. Many people experience a joyous feeling of nostalgia when seated in a classic Volkswagen Mini Van that's because of it's friendly character. The VW Bus became part of the family and relatives, how worn, boring or recalcitrant, this car should be cherished.
Restoring a VW Bus to it's original state is much more complicated than restoring a Beetle. Because those Volkswagen Cargo Vans where nothing more than commercial vehicles designed for daily use, and used to transport people and goods from A to B. Most of those buses have had a hard life. Because of that most buses ended up on the scrapyard, especially the pick-up version, because they usually were abused for the transportation of heavy construction equipment and after years of faithful service, they have been completely worn off.
Now the first VW buses getting half a century old, they are becoming increasingly rare, and so are the parts needed for restoration. Some parts are interchangeable with that of the VW Beetle, and therefore usually available. Nowadays you can't just go to a Volkswagen specialist to buy six-volt batteries, also the backseat for a Volkswagen Bus is increasingly difficult to obtain. There are many collectors of the Splittie around the world who have enough parts available to even rebuild the earliest VW Type 2 T1 Bus, but the rarest elements are certainly not cheap, and sometimes not even for a generous amounts of money willing to sell it to you.
With increasing number of Splitscreen Buses disappearing from the market along with the increasing pace of VW enthusiasts, annual auto shows have become the best place to buy spare-parts, sometimes you even find rare parts for a mild price. Finding a particular part could take years, but when you join a Volkswagen Club, it can significantly reduced the time, because the members are willing to help you with your search. The restorers of air cooled Volkswagens, however, have generally less to complain about the availability of parts in compare to restorers of other classic cars.
The Beetle was, until recently, still being in production in Mexico. Especially for the Volkswagen Vans after 1967 (12 volts), mechanical components are still plenty available. That is very handy and helps you a lot with the VW Type 2 Restoration process. There are many specialists imitation parts of good quality produced, even the rare trim. All panels and parts of the frame are still available and manufactured to the highest standards. The disadvantage is that these components are not originally from Volkswagen, each component replaced by an imitation part is compromises the originality of your VW Microbus T1.In many cases however, you have no choice, because metal panels simply sinking fast. To preserve the originality of the car, which should be the right approach in every restoration process, requires that you always should strive to use original parts.
Replacing a defective original Bosh-dynamo is not necessary because those can easily be revised. If your car is in daily use, it's recommended to build a stockpile of parts. The SDS-Michelin radial tires witch were mounted on many Vans, should be replaced as soon as possible. For practical reasons it is worth to change the headlights of the original Van with halogen headlights. Some owners already have been fully converted their bus from 6 to 12 volts, but before you are going to undertake such a major task, it requires thorough consideration. Another important factor arriving restorers should follow, is the size of the bus. The Type 2, as labeled by the factory, in relation to a Classic Volkswagen Beetle, is a huge vehicle. The preparation for painting a Van with high roof is already a huge task and requires considerable effort and time. There are no time-saving shortcuts at this point, whatever your budget is.
Is a classic VW Bus in original paint with the original interior and original engine an original VW Type 2 Van? It is in many ways frustrating that there were no set of rules for the technical specifications of the VW Bus, in particular for the “Transporter”. Mechanical changes were broadly in line with that of the Beetle, although not all changes were made to the Van and often extra decorative strips were affixed. You have to know that from August 1958, at the annual conclusion of the plant, the mechanical changes were announced for the next production year. Previously, adjustments were made at random intervals, such as the substantial package of changes from 1 march 1955. Usually at the beginning of each production year an intermediate model was built, this was done with the remaining parts of the previous year.
In addition, we also have to deal with different specifications for different markets. As an example I will mention the big bumpers with shock-rail from September 1958 which were specially made for the American versions, but later were found on European models to, many found this bumper looking much better than the simple standard bumper. Sometimes there where made mistakes, and some Vans ended up on the wrong market. Everybody know the stories of drunken stevedores who shipped a whole bunch of left driven cars to England, those days it was not rare when such thing happened. Sometimes the technical specification may differ from the one you expect to find. As a rule you can say that a VW Bus before August 1966 didn't have a 12 volt electrical system standard, though these where available at extra cost since 1962, as well as for the Beetle. From the foregoing, we can conclude that it's not an easy task to restore a Volkswagen Bus to its original state.