Owner Review

1976 Volkswagen Kombi review

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Ah, where do you start with a piece of motoring history like this? I grew up with not a single interest in vehicles - all I knew was that when it was time to purchase my first car it was going to be a Kombi. This is something that no first car buyer now will have the joy of doing due to the obscene asking price for them now! Sure enough the time came, I came of age and needed a vehicle. After three weeks of looking around constantly (pre-online car classified ads), I had almost decided to settle for a Nissan Urvan that I had found for sale at a local car yard for for $4995.

Then it happened... in the Trading Post... in Ulverstone only 35km away, there was a fully kitted-out VW Kombi Camper for sale. I can't remember the odometer as it was too long ago, but I remember the ad: "Second owner, good but not perfect condition, white with grey pop top, slight tear in driver's seat, $3500."

So off we go to Ulverstone to look at said van. Now I don't believe in love at first sight, however it was tested on this occasion. "Good but not perfect condition" was selling it short! The Urvan was no longer a possibility. I didn't even want to test drive the Kombi, however the wiser words of people with me won that battle and off we went for a drive... sold!

So I was the owner of a Kombi as an 18 year old male P-plate driver in a time that "random drug testing" had just become a thing for drivers in Tasmania! Amazing how random the combination of Kombi and P plates got pulled out of the hat, let me tell ya!

Inside the vehicle she was a fully kitted-out camper with a double-folding bed, cupboards along one side with a sink with tap in the middle. The fridge and microwave were fully operational, and there were some of the most hideous curtains you could imagine! Up front there was the usual standard fare for the Kombi as far as technology goes; nothing. No air con, standard radio. Out came the standard radio and in went a 6-stack CD player. Those were the days!

The engine and trans were a thing of beauty. With the longest gear stick you have ever seen, it always felt like it was about to fall apart but she kept on chugging on. The engine on the other hand...

With no mechanical aptitude at the time, buying a Kombi was probably a flawed plan at best, but for a lot of the time she ran like a dream. There were also times where she had a good stop over on the front lawn, and a good tow behind various vehicles. Reliability wasn't her strong suit but the character and looks could not be questioned!

I owned the old girl for eight years until the birth of my third child when it was time I had to grow up - yes, it took to the third child for that to happen - and at that stage she was parked on the lawn not going, as shown in the photo attached! After eight years of ownership, three mainland trips, travels all over Tasmania, lots of sleepovers at random places with the fridge starting full and ending empty, smoke coming out of the exhaust and windows at times, I got more for the old girl than we paid for her. If only I had known what their values were going to be like in the future, I would have stored her up!

I am not ashamed to say I nearly cried handing the keys over to the new owner. Unfortunately she was written off not too long after the sale as well, which made it worse still! Despite the ranking saying she was a 4.8 out of 10, clearly that's not a good enough rating! Give her a 10 anyday, except for the days I was stuck on the side of the road, kicking the wheels in with some Pearl Jam going through the speakers!!

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