By on January 27, 2013

Keeping with the Deutsche theme, this one seemed like a reasonable segue from the M-B 250 SE featured last week.

This ‘60’s era Type 2 Delivery Van (Panel Van, if you prefer) is obviously in a more derelict condition than the SE, but, once again, the owner has chosen to “Pimp His Ride” through his choice of wheels.


I’d heard that this was a somewhat popular mod on these old vans, with the Porsche 944 Turbo being the donor vehicle of choice. Not a cheap option, but certainly less expensive than sourcing a 911, which quite possibly may have been the donor for this example. If I’m not mistaken, I believe the wheels are 911 units, although there were some later 944 Turbo options that had a wheel resembling this design.

At any rate, with such swaps, the devil is certainly in the details, and since I’m not much of a Satanist, I’ll leave all of that to those dedicated to the Dark Side of Needless Complexity. Comments?

The juxtaposition of quasi-racecar stopping power attached to a vehicle that—short of extreme powerplant mods—could typically only attain speeds in excess of 100MPH in freefall, is certainly an extreme proposal, though. Definite kudos to the owner/perpetrator regarding the vision required for the creation of this particular example, for sure!

Considering the general outside condition of this Van, it would be a defensible position to decide to leave it like it is—the perforated rust and patchwork quilt of replacement panels making a rather cohesive artistic statement itself.

Another bodaciously unique entry into the hallowed halls of the Bodaciously Beaten!

Phil has written features and columns for a number of automotive periodicals and web-based information companies. He has run a successful Auto Repair Business in the past for many years (See “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” on this ttac site). He can be contacted through this very site, or

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23 Comments on “BODACIOUS BEATERS and road-going derelicts: DELIVERY 911...”

  • avatar

    Am I the only one thinking lipstick on a pig? These had NO redeeming qualities. Even nostalgia fails to make me give these a pass. I drove one from Mankato to Couer d”Alene in 1968 and even the old two-stoke SAAB was a supercar in comparison. This should be VW’s deadly sin. My hat’s off to his mechanical ingenuity, however.

  • avatar

    So has it had a “heart transplant” or is it just fancy wheels on an old bus?

    • 0 avatar

      Good question. Surely the man who installs slotted discs on a Kombi variant would go at least the 912 engine of a similar vintage. Even so equipped this reminds me of multiple carbs on low compression engines. But I’ve been trying to keep a cork-clutch Hudson on the road for 40 years so I’m not the sharpest tool, either.

  • avatar

    Well ;

    Until recently I was a die hard air cooled nutball so I drove my 1968 # 211 Parcel Delivery all over America with a stock 1600 dual port engine and I thought it fine as I don’t mind tooling along @ 65 MPH all day long .

    Truth be told , VW made these as In Town delivery vans , when you’re out on the open road , a cross wind can flip them easily . not to mention driving in cross winds is somewhat like flying an old Piper Cub aircraft

    The ignorant kiddies who think rust is cool (” patina ! “) are foolish to the extreme as one I knew found out the hard way ~ the ’57 # 211 I got running for him had the same rust issue and him being a body & fender man , I’d warned him how dangerous it was but he’s also an 18 Y.O. Mexican in L.A. so he thought it cool right until the stupid lady turned left in front of him in San Fer and chopped his leg off at the knee when the front end simply collapsed instead if buckling in as it would have if not rusted .

    Live & learn I guess .

    BTW : this particular van is a one ton , 1960 & older were all 3/4 ton .

  • avatar

    Reads to me.. somebody who just knows brakes & wheels.

    You think of the land of the autobahn and then they produced snails like this for the masses and export to the US…

    • 0 avatar

      Due to the chicken tax, very few cargo vans were exported to the US making these examples more collectible. The Kombi version was used to get around the tax, as is done with the Ford Transit Connect today. As was stated above, these were in-town delivery vehicles, not Autobahn cruisers.

  • avatar

    I had a 1956 model and the six volt system was the major drawback for me. I was in Panama so the speeds were ok for this. I actually like them but not so much as I do the beetle. Have owned several beetles and the later ones would do ok on the freeway.

  • avatar

    As the owner of 1971 Type 2 Weekender – I know the work that went into lowering the suspension, plus plus the upgrades to the brakes and wheels. I would suspect that one would find a re-geared transmission and larger than stock displacement Type 1 engine with dual carbs lurking underneath as well.

    As an American, I believe the an owner of a 1964 Concours d’elegance Cadillac Eldorado has the legal right to rigg 22’inch wheels onto his or her ride. Likewise, with the decision to lower this mid-sixties split window Type 2. The problem with doing both is that while the mods may be the popular fad now, the stock look never goes out of style.

    To each his own.

  • avatar

    FWIW, those rims were standard fitment on Boxsters and base-suspension 996s. The 944 Turbo was out of production by the time Porsche made that wheel style. The brake calipers are also not from any Porsche 944. Maybe a 924 was the donor for them?

    It’s a nifty looking ride, to be sure, and emblematic of a certain SoCal lifestyle. Having driven VW vans of this era, though, I know the appeal is only aesthetic. The vague steering, wet-mop gearshift, and pokey acceleration make for a scary driving experience. American vans of the era feel modern and connected by comparison.

    • 0 avatar

      They sure look to be early 944NA calipers, at least according to the drawing in PET that I looked at and the picture from my parts distributor. But I haven’t done anything but big reds and big blacks for decades, so I may be very wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      American vans of the era, like mine and Murilee’s A-100’s? I dont think so. Acceleration may be less pokey, but the crude suspension and sloppy build quality make the experience just as bad.

  • avatar

    I can’t believe that I drove my family in VW buses, first a ’67 split window and then a slightly hi-po’d ’72 that I built. Not much in the way of passive safety.

    Took the ’72 all over the Upper Peninsula. Driving over the Mackinaw Bridge in windy conditions was a white knuckle experience for sure.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Not sure if I ever drove one but a friend had a sixties truck version and knew a girl who had an early sixties version , the one with all the windows , back in the late seventies, and a remember some smoke haze filled trip from Austin to Galveston and back in it . Between my sister’s ex husband and his brother and wife they owned 3 early seventies Campmobiles in the late seventies , one in white , one in a mustard color and one in a lime green that I rode in going up to their place in east Texas . I always found being a passenger in all these terrifying and nausea inducing , even though I had no similar problems with the various VW bugs , Type 3s , etc.that I owned or drove back then or even other similar death traps , like a buddy’s early sixties Econoline that had no more frontal crush space but somehow seemed much safer than even the much later VW buses .

  • avatar

    Considering you can drop a Scooby 2.2 in there without major issues and you can get these motors for less than $300, that van could get hopped up failry cheap. The brakes could just be step 1

    • 0 avatar

      “without major issues ”

      Now that’s a stretch. For starters, you would have to completely re-engineer a cooling system from scratch.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s several ways to skin that cat. If you use the google, you will find it’s been done many times, and detailed step-by-steps are plentiful.

        It’ll take about 8-10 hours of fab time for the cooling system.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen about a dozen of these over the years with various levels of 911-Turbodom stuffed under that ugly carcass.

    It seems every 911 guy with some mechanical creativity has built a microbus-panzerwagen. I drove a buddies water-cooled AWD Turbo which was a hoot, and the body was left as deliberately rough as the one above.

    As W Christian noted, scoobies for transplant are a dime a dozen , so that seems to be the next wave…

  • avatar

    Brings back memories. In the early 70s I drove my then father in law’s 1962 VW Type 2 Kombi (the 4 door pickup version) with a load of furniture from New England to DC in the winter down I-95. I was a former Army helicopter pilot so I thought I could control any machine. Wrong! The damned thing wandered all over the road in spite of my “smooth” control touch. Crossing the bridge over the Delaware River was horrific due to high winds that day. We were actually up on two wheels at one time. When we made it home alive (barely) I called my father in law and told him there was no way in Hell I was going to drive it back.

    In retrospect, I should have bought from him and kept it. Quite collectible these days.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I traded two 1970s for a kitchen remodel job. I definitely got the better end of that deal. One of them had a 2300 cc Gene Berg, Scat crank and exhaust with dual webers.

    Replaced them with two Ford Pathfinder vans.

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