This used to be a 1966 21-window Volkswagen Type 2 bus. Abandoned somewhere in the Nevada desert, it was partially stripped and left to rust, then shot up by gun-toting desert wanderers looking for a bit of target practice. But a band of intrepid enthusiasts rescued it while succinctly answering the question, “who would want this ugly hunk of junk?” And that’s where this amazing story takes off.
Don’t cry for me, Deartháir.
Over 500 rounds pierced the already fragile tin walls of the bus before a member of TheSamba.com, legendary vintage VW forum, put it upon a trailer and drove it 100 miles home. Within about a week kombisutra had installed a front end, transaxle, steering box, steering wheel, and brakes. As the Kombi was missing “virtually everything,” a massive donation effort was started. Seats, windows, electrics, ignition locks, a semi-functioning interior, DMV bribes—parts streamed in from every corner of the country, sent by enthusiasts who probably just wanted to see how far they could take such an improbable machine into the realm of function. And eventually the answer was, as the amazing video below shows, all the way:
In the VW community there are all sorts of tales regarding drowned, buried, or war-torn Kombis liberated by insane dedicated enthusiasts for future preservation or tax deduction/spousal revenge. After all, you would expect these sorts of desert shenanigans to happen to a washing machine, a cabin or even a seaplane. But original VW buses still command a lot of money and are rare enough to preserve even (or especially) in the face of improbability, whether it’s down to devotion or sheer stubbornness. There’s something anarchistic—hell, something genuinely beautiful—about driving around in a van that’s got an open roof, no back or side windows, and enough bullet-induced perforations to make Sarah Palin feel underappreciated.
And if these were speed holes, this Kombi could win Le Mans.
Sources: [TheSamba.com, Just a Car Guy, The Greasy Lens]