This is a vehicle that’s so cute you almost want to hug it. It has toylike proportions, but is actually a very practical vehicle. It’s obviously been lowered, something pretty common with Type 2 enthusiasts.
Though I like VW Buses, and even have owned a couple, I’m not an expert on the topic. Since this split-window pickup didn’t have a card in the window, I can’t tell you what year it is. They stopped making split-windows in 1967 so let’s just say it’s old. Old, and very cool. The beds and tailgate are a different color so I’m guessing those aren’t original to the truck, which was probably used as a flat bed, something the VW pickup could do that conventional pickups could not.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead played a series of farewell concerts at Chicago’s Soldier Field. That such an oddball band could achieve enough success to still fill a stadium 50 years after their founding, well, as they say, only in America. To Celebrate the Grateful Dead and my fellow Deadheads, we’re going to run a few posts on the Volkswagen Type 2, a vehicle so closely associated with Grateful Dead and their fans that when Jerry Garcia died, VW of America ran memorial ads with a drawing of a crying split-window VW Bus. Like the Dead and the Deadheads, we’re oddballs, so instead of featuring psychedelically painted Sambas, we’ll have a series of posts on air-cooled VW pickups. Actually, by the time the Dead started playing in the band in 1965, sales of VW pickup trucks had dropped by over 2/3rd, due to the so-called Chicken Tax enacted in early 1964, putting a 25% tariff on commercial trucks, in response to German and French tariffs on American chickens.
The 1962 single cab pickup was, like the rest of the VW pickups we’ll be featuring, photographed at the annual Vintage Volkswagen Show in Ypsilanti. The gallery at the top of the post is from last year’s show, the one below and the rest of the photos in this series were taken at this year’s show.
David Peterson was an aviation engineer who had worked for Boeing and other aircraft makers. He also was an avid fisherman and camper – which presented him with a dilemma: tow his travel trailer and go camping or tow his boat and go fishing. He couldn’t tow both, so he started to design a self-contained motorhome so he could tow his boat with his travel trailer, so to speak. When Chevrolet introduced the Corvair in 1959, he realized that the compact and low powertrain was ideal for his project, if a bit underpowered. Using the Corvair six under the rear end wouldn’t intrude into interior space and would also allow for a flat floor. Peterson designed a monocoque body along the lines of aircraft construction, with aluminum spars reinforced by load bearing exterior aluminum panels. The front and rear ends were molded from GFRP. In time, Peterson licensed what became known as the Ultra Van and about 330 Corvair powered motor homes were made. Production ended in 1970 in part because GM stopped making the Corvair and it’s unique powertrain, and also because Winnebago started mass producing truck chassis based RVs that were much cheaper than the Ultra Van. About 200 Ultra Vans still exist.
After a relatively cold spring and wet June, we’re finally getting some decent summer weather here in the Detroit area. To celebrate, here are some vintage travel trailers and motor homes that were a featured class at the Packard Proving Grounds’ Cars R Stars show in 2013.
A while back, Toyota loaned me a Tundra CrewMax 4X4 pickup in Platinum trim. You can read my review of the big truck over at the The Truth About Cars and enjoy the full gallery of photos here.
The producers of The Dukes of Hazzard television show went through over 300 1969 Dodge Chargers over the course of the series. Many of the stunt cars, like the ones used for the series’ famous car jumps, were one and done, used for a single stunt or scene, and then too damaged to be repaired, That explains why they used hundreds. This particular car, owned by a Detroit area MOPAR enthusiast, is an authentic General Lee. However it was not abused. That’s because it’s the “hero car”, the car used when filming scenes with the actors. It’s been autographed by just about everyone in the cast and crew of the show and wears GENLEE1 license plates.
We’ve featured this authentic Monkeemobile from the 1960s television show before. Local collector Mel Gutherie bought it at auction from George Barris, who had acquired the Dean Jeffries built car, and restored it in a restomod fashion. It’s the second of two cars that Jeffries built for The Monkees’ producer, Bert Schneider and though it was intended to be used primarily as a show car for personal appearances with the band and at car shows, it ended up being used on the show in the second season. Gutherie brought it to the Ford Product Development Center employees’ car show last summer, sitting next to an authentic Dukes of Hazzard “General Lee” Dodge Charger.
For someone that’s not particularly into comic books or action heroes, it appears that I’ve written about the Batmobile a few times, here, at The Truth About Cars and over at Hemmings. Marty Densch has also touched on the subject a couple of times here at Cars In Depth. We’ve even done a post about the Bat Cycle and Robin’s Bat Kart. TV and movie vehicles are popular and I guess you can’t ignore what’s popular. Continue reading
In the previous post I mentioned how the new Ford GT was a big hit at the NAIAS in Detroit. A month later, the GT was almost as big a hit at the Chicago auto show. How did Ford do that? By bringing a different GT.
Start the YouTube 3D video player. Click on the settings icon in the menu bar to select 2D or your choice of stereo 3D formats
The Detroit car was in blue, to match the Shelby GT350 Mustang Ford was also introducing then. For the Chicago show they brought an almost sinister looking GT in a color that some have described as silver but I think it’s closer to a pewter grey. Whatever you call the color, the GT looks great in it.