Never Judge A Book By Its Cover…

I suppose it’s only human nature to initially judge something by its visual appearance, but like most things, true substance generally lies beyond the exterior.

Take this 1954 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus that was on display at the 2017 Kustomfest show in Yogyakarta, Indonesia for example. At first glance I rather foolishly dismissed it as a show piece with little work done to it.


I pointed my camera at the single-cab pickup, took a few pictures, and then walked away.


I didn’t really expect to see the Bus again, but to my surprise, later on in the day it was driven onto the judging stage.


The puzzled looked on the other judges’ faces reassured me that I wasn’t the only one puzzled by why it was in the competition.

It wasn’t until the owner started to talk about his creation that we realized a very special build had been totally overlooked. Because there’s a lot more going on here than first meets the eye.


Type 2 Bus values are crazy enough these days, but when factoring in the huge import taxes imposed by the Indonesian government as an incentive to buy locally, you would easily be parting with a six-figure sum to get a look in. That sort of money simply wasn’t an option for this owner. So what did he do?


He built one himself.

When I say ‘built’, I mean that almost everything you see here besides the frame is the owner’s handiwork. With nothing more than reference drawings to go off, he spent nine months painstakingly manipulating and shaping metal in order to create a replica of his dream machine.

Where possible, original VW parts were sourced, and the seats and wiring fall into that category. But the vast majority of the Bus is fully custom.


It was impressive enough for fellow judge Shige Suganuma, the man behind Mooneyes, to take another look at the one-of-a-kind creation.


As hard as it is to go against human nature, this custom Bus is the reason why you should never judge a book by its cover. At Kustomfest, not everything is quite what it seems, so stay tuned for a lot more from this amazing event…

Ron Celestine
Instagram: celestinephotography



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

That's incredible.


It really is. Mind was thoroughly blown


wow, that's almost unbelievable.
would love to see a build thread on this


Dude saw too many kit cars and replica wheels, then said, "hold my beer". I love it lol.


I must have missed something.

What part of this is interesting/cool?


Ya know, reading is fundamental. Give it a try.


Either you didn't read or can't comprehend the sheer amount of work this would take.


The large amount of passion, craftsmanship, determination, skill and time.


The fact that this guy built an entire VW Type 2 Bus by hand from scratch using nothing but pictures, of course! Didn't you read the article? Or do you only come here for picture books and whining in the comments?


I see the everyone else has handled this question appropriately ^^


This is insane. What a legend.


Littearly all of us were blown when we figured out his story.. One Even asked if he would sell it at some point since he's looking for one lol. You can guess what his answer was


I want a vw bus.... grabs a hammer.


Wow. I was about to question how it's a '54 (because I see lots of elements that would say otherwise), but given the hand-builted-ness of, you could tell me it's a 2016 and I'd be, like, "Alright, cool."


I believe the frame was from the 54 hints why he called it that (or at least had it written on the info card) but he did borrow design elements from later models


This version of the VW Bus was always a favorite.
Love to build a Schwinn-hauler version one day.
Tip my cap to the builder, great article!


Truly incredible car and inspirational build. Motivating !


Great piece about a good buddy of ours. Shared to - hope it gets you some traffic.

Daniel P Huneault

I once went to a car show where the owner wanted a pretty rare pickup, He didn't have the money, all he has was enough to buy the driverside door. He built the entire pickup around this one part and it was amazing to see the end result. Kudos to this guy for doing the exact same thing, thats alot of love in that bus...


That is awesome! And really is a lot of love in it. You could tell how happy and proud he was too share it with everyone.


Wow. That’s definitely the work of a craftsman!


that's a professional metal worker, no amateur is going to do that in nine months


Impressive is kinda understated... making a Bus by hand takes serious skills and not painting it afterwards shows really the craftmanship. There's no Bondo to hide the flaws....

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I'm interested to know if it is built on an actual VW bmBus chassis...


Incredible stuff!
How to build a ride. First, google-image for reference, Second, buy sheet metal. Third, beat the sheet metal hellout to shape...


I'm interested your point about six figured sums... I know that Type I bus traded around that in here (local currencies btw). So are you saying the owner cannot get the one within his budget or saying like importing it? Because thanks to some stupid rules. It's illegal to import passenger car in Indonesia. And even if you manage to import one. You can't register it on the road.


Yes you can legally import any cars to Indonesia and register it for road usage. But the ammount of import tax, VATs, etc is stupidly large; the total of all the tax required to import the car are roughly the same as the car's actual price (i.e: USD 30k price of the car, 29.8k for all the import tax). That is excluding shipping fee. If that wasn't enough, you need to register the car to get a license. Another VAT, luxury item tax (cars are classified as luxury item), etc to pay. adds another percentage from your imported car's price point. and you need to pay annual tax for the car that's measured based on the displacement and/or approx. 1% of the car's selling price. the government's sucks about making rules and this needs to be revise.


That only applied for new cars.. Used cars is still illegal to import. And even if you can manage to import one it's pretty impossible to registered. Unless you dare to falsify document by means of using already registered cars paperwork and merging it to your own imported car.


If your theory is correct, then why there are Skyline GTRs, Silvias, Supras, NSXs, RX-7s and/or any other of its kind fully registered and get its official license plate here in Indonesia? If you want to falsify the data to a similar/identical car; how many cars have that kind of similarity? We don't get (even the identical one) in our market for the Nissan's SR20DET/KA24DE; Honda's F20C, C30A; and Mazda's 13BREW, or any other engine. yet people still managed to get license from those engines. And how many car models have the same chasis with the car available in our country? FD's chasis are totally different from any Mazda sold here; NSX and S2000's have their own unique chassis. As for Nissan's Silvia, you can probably manipulate the chassis due to its similarity w/ the A31 Cefiro; but still a no for its engine. Skyline GT-R is vice versa, you can do manipulate w/ the engine (RB25&26), but it's a no for its chasis. And lets not forget, how about people importing a used JDM kei cars? especially the ones produced from the early 2000 onwards where we no longer get them brand new. they only have 660'ish cc and only have 1 similar counterpart here (Suzuki Karimun (IDM) & Suzuki Wagon R(JDM)); even that, they have a different engine displacement. To me, the government is only concern with those stupidly large ammount of taxes we've paid. Whether it's the Import tax, annual tax, etc. If it's illegal to import used cars, then all of those R32/33/34s, S13/14/15s, FDs, NSXs, S2000s, NA/NB Miatas, and any other rare imported cars you've seen on the road would be towed to scrap by now; like the 25 year ban rule in the States or 15 years in Canada. Think about it...

Richard H Napitupulu

Those cars did have registration because A) they're bought brand new back when it was sold new from the local importers, B) The person shipped it from either Sabang island, Batam island, or Papua and then brought it back to wherever he is (mostly to Java Island) and then registered it. Because there are huge amounts of used Japanese, UK, Singapore, and Malaysian cars roaming around those islands, because of the different tax implied on these islands 'only'. So you can buy a 'normal priced' GT86 for example, but you can't drive them outside the island, which sucks. But if they wanted to they could opt for the third option. which is C) get an inside man from the customs and DMV so that you can easily import the car from outside the country or from other parts of Indonesia that I've mentioned and registered it back. That's why old and rare cars here are wayyy to expensive to buy and you can't find any cheaper ones unless it didn't have any sort of legal papers. or maybe you could D) strip down the car to bare metal with the parts shipped in another container, and then rebuilt it when it arrives in Indonesia, you can probably register them as 'new' knocked down cars, but yeah you still need an inside man to register the thing. anyways, Welcome to Indonesia! these rules are why we take pride of what we have and modify them extensively. Even cheap cars and motorcycles get some love, and not thrown away like disposable item.


First time in ages Speedhunters has stopped me in my figurative tracks. Thank you. I'm in awe.


Jesus! Mad props... and there I'm sitting at my office desk thinking to reply email or write some summary...crazy!


I apreciate u man, come so far to checking out the car culture in Indonesia.

Miles Hayler-MacMillan

Wow. Just wow.

Chris Warmington

Love it!! Never give up on your dream, I built a Tara top beetle (after loving the Porsche 911 Tara top)


Can we please stop calling this a bus? It's clearly a ute.