Hey Morley: I truly understand your observations regarding the Kombi Van. Yes they have the aerodynamics of a shipping container, and not enough grunt to pull your hat off, but they have this contagious appeal that is hard to describe unless you have owned one.
All vehicles overtake you in a Kombi, but you get used to that. Many years ago my girlfriend and I got caught in a traffic jam northbound on the Gold Coast Highway in our Kombi. With traffic only moving inches at a time, but mostly at a dead stop, drivers in other cars were getting hot and bothered, some had their bonnets up and radiators steaming due to overheating with motors idling on the hot day. My girlfriend simply strolled between the front seats to the middle of the Kombi and made me a coffee from the 12 volt jug. And we sat there watching a portable TV til the traffic moved on!
Another time we had a regulator dying and lights failing in the Kombi on the way home from the Sunshine Coast at night, so we camped in it, comfortably, by the lake near Lakeside, intending to go to the Lakeside circuit 500 metres away the next morning. Next morning I clutch started the Kombi and when my friends arrived at Lakeside they were stunned to find us already there, fresh as daisies, with my girlfriend cooking bacon and eggs on the camper stove, close to the racing circuit in a prime spectator spot. (The regulator was replaced the next day by an auto sparky with a Holden part).
The van also transported all my music equipment (amps, speaker boxes, guitars etc) when I had gigs with the band.
Itís hard to describe the love I have for Kombis, having owned two of them and wishing I had one now, but just ask any ĎKombi Konvertí and with eyes glazed they will attempt to explain the joys, having been seduced by the German bedroom on wheels.
Hope I have helped you understand this phenomenon Morley. Even though I drive a 50-year old American V8 now, my love affair with Kombis will stay with me forever!
HEY GEOFF, I know I must have sounded harsh when I gave the whole Kombi thing its pedigree a couple of issues ago, but I have a confession te make: In a Kombi Konvert myself. I've owned two of them myself in the last 15 years; one a
rolling-shell Splitty that I sold to fund my current hillclimb project; and the second one, a bay-window Westfalia camper that I sold only last week. Sob!
The Splitty, Iíll admit, I never really had much of a relationship with because it was never a running, driving car while I owned it. But the bay-window I bought about 10 years ago and drove it everywhere, living in it at the beach, in matesí backyards or on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River (and others) when it suited me.
And like you, I camped in the car-park at race circuits when I was spectating or borrowing Torrenís hillclimb Beetle to give myself a scare.
Donít know how many kliks I did in it in that old bus in a decade, but it was plenty, and every one was an adventure. But not in a bad way. In fact, it never let me down and the only running repair I ever had to do was to once keep topping the oil up every 100km or so because a rocker-cover gasket had failed. Yes, I should have been carrying a spare but I wasnít.
So believe me when I say I totally get Kombis and, for all their many faults, I love them dearly. And Iíd be lying if I denied that I took a long look over my shoulder as I walked away from the old girl the final time, having just delivered it to its new owner.
The one thing I havenít changed my mind about, however, is the stupid money people are paying for these things. Again, at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite (because Iíve just become the beneficiary of same) I just donít understand how the market has arrived at the current going rate for a Kombi.
I guess it must be because owning a Kombi is more than just owning a car: It teaches you a new way of looking at things. I swear, when I drove that Kombi, Iíd pretty much instantly slide into a Kombi frame of mind. If I was driving anything else, the dodderer in front of me on double unbroken lines would drive me insane. In the Kombi, I was happy to just sit there, knowing that sooner or later, the hat-wearer in front of me would either run out of petrol or die of old age and Iíd be past and on my way.
And I donít suppose you can put a price on life lessons like those.