Sometimes you have great ideas. Sometimes you decide to buy a Kombi. The thought was that, since BLOWFLY specialises in vintage wines... why not promote and deliver these aged wines in an aged van—a 1972 1.6 litre Kombi?
The van looked cool in the driveway, but as one would expect with a 40 year old vehicle, there were a few loose screws and some flaws in the bodywork. The owner suggested the mobile Mr Mechanic's to get the vehicle registered quickly. Between fighting with his missus, trying to babysit the family pig and knocking himself out with his own tools... this 'mechanic' didn't make much progress with the Kombi. Tip number one: if you're trying to resurrect an old Kombi, take to an old Kombi professional. So we took it to Leon.
Leon did a good job of cleaning up the engine and drive train, and it turned out the old engine was actually in pretty good shape. Still, you can't register a rusty vehicle no matter how good the engine. So next stop was Bridgen's Restorations and the revelation that the paintwork had to go. Or at least the rust had to go, and the paintwork was in the way.
So some paintwork was removed... and rust appeared.
So more paint was removed... and more rust was found.
Until one day the rust was gone.
And the old Kombi was new again!
A few minor details still needed attention before registration could be secured—such as the missing passenger seat belt, stolen by an earlier prospective buyer (?!) But soon the Kombi was ready for her first job—wine delivery. The 1.6 is no zippy performer, but all wines were shifted safely and with minimum fuss. The clutch cable only snapped after the job was done... in the middle of rush hour traffic.
Next job: camping. A trip through Cunningham's Gap to explore the distance capability of the Kombi. And she performed admirably, although there might have been some bouts of frostbite in the cabin due to the absence of heating.
On the way back to Brisbane, however, a faint knock was becoming audible. Hard to tell when there is generally a fair bit of noise in the cabin. Upon closer inspection, the mechanic revealed that there was potentially an issue but it was hard to confirm without removing the engine. Since there was only a week left until the Good Food & Wine Show in Sydney, the decision was made to have it taken care of upon return.
So the Kombi eased gently down the Pacific Highway...
...until running into the massive east coast low around Coffs Harbour. From there it was heavy going straight into savage headwinds and bits of trees. It took a toll on the poor Kombi, and some pretty colours started issuing from under the engine bay.
The Kombi eventually limped into Sydney, and valiantly delivered wine and passengers to the Good Food & Wine Show at Olympic Park over the whole weekend. She was not destined to drive all the way back to Brisbane, though. Instead she caught a lift back atop a big truck.
Ah, so that's why the oil was leaking.
Thanks to some brilliant mechanic work by Peter at Custom Vee Dub, the Kombi was soon back to better than her best. She even has brakes—handy when descending the Toowoomba range. She then casually made the 1600km return trip to Coonabarabran to load up with bluebottle.
And while she may have no power steering, a sticky gear stick, and still lacks a radio, she carries us and our cargo safely wherever we need to go. We'll still be working on her appearances inside and out, but she will continue to crisscross town and country to deliver good people from bad wine. So if you happen to see her out on the roads, feel free to come and 'hi'. She answers to the name 'Vera'... the wine deliverance van.
She does need an extra passenger seat now, though.