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30th March, 2012

Restoring old Volkswagen "Kombis" has become a successful venture for the Hannover-based works restoration team. The Volkswagen-owned business joins numerous other "works" restorers working with oldies but goodies. In this case, the "works" team base their activities on the restoration of the popular Transporter models, which includes vans, utes and the "bus" across numerous "generations".

At Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles the legendary VW Bus (known as "Bulli" in Germany) has its own department dedicated to preserving its heritage known as Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers. Formed in 2007, the team has expanded fast over the five intervening years. Not only have the experts purchased and restored about 100 vehicles – now they are offering the restoration of historic Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ex works for private customers, inclusive of detailed documentation.

For this purpose, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers moved to a new building in Hannover at the beginning of this year. An area of approximately 7,000 square metres not only accommodates the historical treasures, but also houses a machine park which includes everything from a sheet metal bending bench, lathes and milling machines to its own paint shop. The department now has a staff of 13, from mechanics to a technology historian and an event planner.

Owners of a historic Volkswagen Commercial vehicle can now have it restored here. No matter whether a full or partial restoration is required, or a Bus is simply to be made roadworthy, the "Bulli" workshop team will undertake any assignment. Paint renovation or an inspection is also possible. The staff talk through all personal restoration wishes with the customer before preparing an individually tailored offer.

The unique feature: only here does the customer receive a certified ex-works restoration. In addition, for each customer the team of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers provides comprehensive documentation of the restoration of the vehicle, in which every step is photographically documented and described in detail. Thus the work performed by the specialists from Hannover is recorded for posterity, and customers can leaf through their folder at their leisure. Some of the replacement parts needed when working on oldtimers are even taken from Volkswagen’s original stock.

In this respect, Volkswagen Classic Parts supports the VW Bus workshop as a collaborative partner with the restoration project.

The official line is ..... “The VW Bus is a part of German cultural heritage and has to be preserved!”

Harald Schomburg, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and responsible for Sales and Marketing answers questions about Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers. (copyright image)

Harald Schomburg (above) (copyright image)

Currywurst Bus (above) (copyright image)

Currywurst Bus (above) (copyright image) (copyright image)

Q. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers has now been expanded. Why?
"Since 2007 we have established Volkswagen Commercial vehicles Oldtimers as a separate department. A great deal has happened since then: we have bought up and restored a great number of old VW Buses. We needed more space, and on the other hand we also want to expand the department internally."

Q. What does this mean in concrete terms?
"As of now, we are offering external customers the opportunity to have their historic Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle restored by us."

Q. What’s new about that?
"This is a possibility which we did not previously have. In our new premises and with a new team, we are now able to offer this exclusive service. What we perform here is a factory restoration – partly even with with original Volkswagen parts – by Volkswagen mechanics and oldtimer specialists who for years have been doing nothing else but restore oldtimers from our production."

Q. Why is this important to you?
"To us the VW Bus – or ‘Bulli’, as it is known to German aficionados – is an icon of great value. It is, so to speak, the emotional heart of the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Brand and thus a heritage which needs to be preserved. But at the same time every VW Bus still in existence is, of course, also a valuable German cultural good in need of preservation. And with each restoration, we are preserving a piece of living history."

Q. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers is prepared to make every customer an individual offer. But what if the offer is too expensive for the customer?
"We offer the best possible restoration at first hand, ex-works in fact. This will have its price. However, we will charge the hourly rates that are customary in the trade. For instance, if the customer brings us a totally unrestored VW Bus for the purpose of rebuilding it from scratch, this may cost around 100,000 Euro. However, we can also just carry out specific jobs individually or offer a partial restoration; we work this out in dialogue with the customer. And a works certificate for the restoration can only be obtained from us."

Q. Many service providers offer VW Buses for hire. Will Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers be doing the same?
"This is the next step we are planning. In fact, we already rent out our Becks Bus, for instance, to Volkswagen partners and dealers ..... and our Currywurst Bus (see accompanying image), where original Volkswagen curry sausage can be enjoyed. We are also continually providing vehicles for film and TV productions. In future, we definitely want to rent out VW Buses to private customers too, but this will probably only be possible from 2013."

Q. With about 100 vehicles occupying an area of 7,000 square metres, could Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers also be considered as a museum?
"No, it is our internal works collection. There is the AutoMuseum in Wolfsburg and the ZeitHaus museum in the Autostadt. Viewing our exclusive collection remains the privilege of customers who bring their vehicles to us."

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