The hippie movement of the 60s and 70s spread from the United States to the rest of the world and have one way or the other influenced many of the young people, being awakened from the monotony of life and from being controlled by authority. Those were the days of the anti-war protests, psychedelic rock and roll and spiritual awakenings of the youth. It was the birth of the Jesus movement, the flower power, and the Trips Festival. It was during this time that absolute freedom (if there really is such a thing) was celebrated and road trips, beach cruising and surfing became the new norm of what society perceives as cool.
Perhaps, no vehicle can be so much equated to the hippie move movement than the Volkswagen Bus. If you ask any baby boomer or even millennials that are so in to retro stuff what vehicle they would associate to the freedom loving generation of the 60s and 70s, The Volkswagen Bus would probably be the first thing that comes to mind.
The Volkswagen Bus was first conceptualized in 1946 after Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon saw the potential of a vehicle that could use a stiffened Volkswagen Type 1 (Beetle) pan so it could carry more load. He drew the design with inspirations from the 1920s Rumpler Tropfenwagen and 1930s Dymaxion car by Buckminster Fuller. However, with the factory so inundated by the post-war high demand production of the Beetle, it took another 3 years before the new Volkswagen vehicle designated as the Type 2 came in to production. In November 12, 1949, the first production Volkswagen Type 2 was produced, initially in 2 variants, the Kombi with two side windows and middle and rear seats, and the Commercial van. The Type 2 (T2) or second generation bus that we are featuring came out in the market in 1967 to replace the Type 2 (T1) and was in production until 1979 although there were some countries that continued producing it to as late as 2013.
Clark Neil Endaya Apuntar is the incumbent president and one of the founders of the Volkswagen Club Philippines Batangas Chapter a.k.a. BatVolks. He has owned this 1972 Volkswagen Microbus Deluxe since 2008 which he purchased from another Volkswagen enthusiast. And although the Microbus was in decent running shape, it lacks all the personal touches that Clark had in mind. It was a slow evolution to how the Microbus looks like right now as Clark took his time in transforming this once tired old van into what he had conceptualized. To keep the road-trippin’ freedom spirit of the 70s, this Microbus was built to make it not only road worthy for long drives, but with comfort in mind for its passengers. When Clark acquired the Microbus, it had its stock 2-3-3 seat specs, but the middle and rear seats were removed to be replaced by Westfalia rear seats that turns into a bed. Westfalia louvered windows were also added to block the sunshine during camping days. Buddy seats paired with a stove cabinet organizer was fitted to replace the stock middle seats. Clark kept the stock steering wheel, but a shorter EMPI trigger shifter was installed to replace the stock one. A stainless roof rack with narra slats was mounted not only to give the Microbus a retro look, it’s a functional add-on for a much needed space for camping gears.
Other than an electronic distributor to replace the old contact point, the aircooled 1600 dual port engine and its transmission were kept stock. An original Bosch 51 amp alternator takes care of the van’s electricals.
The Microbus was then resprayed to give new shine from its tired old Beryl green paint. All factory aluminum trims were replaced with stainless steel for better luster. Finally, the stock rims had to go in replacement of polished 5.5 inch Porsche 911 Fuchs style rims wrapped in 175/65 R 15 rubbers.
This Microbus is living according to what Clark exactly had in mind. It’s one dependable ride that he can drive anytime he wants and the photos from different places the van had been in to is a testament of its reliability.
With all the newer SUVs and minivans available in the market today that could easily do a few thousand kilometers a day carrying as much people as this Microbus without any issues or effort, nothing can be compared to the thrill of driving an old vehicle where every journey’s end is a celebrated victory that earns one a great deal of bragging rights. While the hippie days of the 60s and 70s is way behind us, its road-trippin’ spirit is re-lived every time this bus is driven to its next destination, and it didnn’t matter if it is just a chore around the corner or a drive to some new unvisited place somewhere a thousand kilometers away. I guess that’s how they are meant to be – To be driven hard the way it should.
Keep restoring those oldies, but be sure to keep them on the road. Happy Lumang Oto motoring folks!