The enthusiast-made Volkswagen T1 Race Taxi may have upstaged the Volkswagen Group’s factory-backed concept cars at the 2015 Worthersee festival in Austria.
Constructed by Fred Bernhard, a trained coach builder, the T1 Race Taxi was a labour of love over six years. It all began when Bernhard, a Swiss national, bought a rusting 1962 split-window Volkswagen T1 Transporter from a scrap dealer.
According to Bernhard’s website, only the T1’s body could be salvaged and restored, so he set about melding the classic T1 body shell with the underpinnings of a 1985 T3 Transporter. This necessitated widening the T1’s body shell by 210mm and adding about 250mm in length.
Underneath the van’s white, orange and grey exterior lies a thoroughly reworked drivetrain. The T1 Race Taxi is powered by a rear-mounted 3.6-litre twin-turbocharged air-cooled six-cylinder boxer engine from the 993-generation Porsche 911.
In the T1 Race Taxi, the force-fed horizontally opposed engine develops 390kW of power and 757Nm of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission taken from the later 996-series 911. For the record, the original car had just 26kW at its disposal.
Stopping power comes courtesy of ventilated disc brakes, with ABS, from the 993 911. The van rides on height adjustable Bilstein suspension, which is fitted with three-piece 18-inch BBS alloy wheels with 235/35 rubber up front and 285/30 tyres at the rear.
The interior seats four within individual Recaro bucket seats, with four-point belts for the driver and one passenger. Around 42 metres of tubing is used to reinforce the T1 Race Taxi’s body and to work as a rollover cage.
Thanks to the use of various carbonfibre parts, the T1 Race Taxi weighs just 1500kg; top speed is listed at 230km/h.