Q&A : Kombi Life

J4J3Hey Jake, What model is this beautiful beast?


It’s a 1963 Volkswagen Single Cab Kombi!


Where did it come from? 


Well, it’s quite a story. Apparently it was once the delivery truck for Australia’s largest Volkswagen/Audi supplier “Tooley Imports”. After that it went to a Mormon town out in Western NSW for a while and was then bought by a specialist Volkswagen restorer/customiser sometime in the 90’s. He then sold it to a chap who lived on the NSW South Coast and it sat on his property for a few years until my dad got wind of it and went and bought it for $1500.

After that dad started and finished most of the rust work on it in 2002 and then sent it to a mechanic to do the necessary mechanical work and get it ready for registration. But he never started and instead it sat for more than 10 years in the same spot on wheel blocks.

Fast forward to my 17th birthday and then what was the shell of the Kombi was gifted to me. Sounds like a good deal but I still had to get it on the road… haha.

It took me nearly 3 years to get it registered with the help of a lot of people.




Whats the attraction to Kombi’s? 


Everything! It’s such a versatile vehicle even though it’s 50+ years old. I can go camping in it, haul loads in the tray or just go for a cruise down the south coast.

I guess I also grew up around them so I was naturally attracted towards them. It’s not just about Kombi’s though. It’s also that feeling you get driving a vintage car.

There’s something about driving a car which only has 3 switches a speedometer and a fuel gauge. It’s simple. There’s nothing more to it and that’s what I love about it. I can jump in and there’s no alarms telling me that my door is slightly open or I’ve left my lights on. It’s all up to me to know the ins and outs of my car and I like that responsibility.

For me it’s not just about getting from A to B but more about the journey getting from A to B.


What have you done to it? Anything else left to do? 


I’ve done a lot to it.  Early on in the restoration I decided I wanted to make it an enjoyable car to drive because I knew I’d be doing some big journeys in it. So I went about collecting the necessary components to make it a comfortable and reliable vehicle to drive. This is a compressed list of what’s been done to it:

– Adjustable front beam with disc brakes

– 1600 twin port engine

– Highway geared gearbox

– Bigger rear drum brakes

– Independent Rear Suspension

– Larger capacity fuel tank

Nothing on the car is stock so this meant sourcing different parts and getting custom fabrication work done to the components and body. It took me more than a year to source the parts and restore them at the back of the house to be ready to put into the Kombi.

It then took a while to find the right guy to build Bert up. Because nothing is stock on it I couldn’t get an ordinary mechanic to put it together. I also wanted to help with the process so every Friday and any other day off I had I would be at the shed in Penrith helping out.

There’s always something to do on it! Currently I’m trying to get the original turquoise paint back as someone painted the whole car a pretty bad brown colour. But, not having a shed and working on the street is making it hard as it’s very weather dependent on when I can work on it.




Any other projects? 


Not at the moment. Although, I’m always on the lookout for something that I can fiddle with or restore. I’ve been contemplating getting an old 2 stroke dirt bike to fly around in the city on. I’m just waiting for the right one to come up!


Describe your style?


That’s hard. Haha. I’d say I’m someone who appreciates and prefers second hand and vintage items. I’ve always been into old things hence why I drive old cars and bikes. I’m also someone who prefers to make things rather than buying new.

Dream car? 


That’s a hard one! I’ve always admired and been into rally racing, especially vintage rallying. If I could pick one car it would have to be a rally spec Porsche 356. Kind of like the one that competed in the Peking-Paris Rally last year which was driven by Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha. I’ve always believed in using a car for its intended use. If I owned one it would be taken off the beaten track… a lot.J11 J12 J2