No, I’m not confused, but with a title like the one above, there’s a good chance you are.
This bright red box on wheels might look like a Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi – and it is – but also, it isn’t. Let me elaborate…
In the collector car world, the Kombi has become really, really desirable – especially one like this 1967 split window. One problem, though, is even when they’re restored and look all pretty, their original air-cooled engine just makes them so damn slow.
So when RS Autosport in Johannesburg, South Africa got hold of this bus, they decided to do something completely out of the ordinary with it.
RS Autosport sprung into existence in late 2009 by Rob Scott who has close to 30 years experience in servicing and rebuilding all generations of Porsches. Rob and his team are dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of all types of Porsches within their fully equipped workshop, where they offer full-on fabrication work as well as race car preparation and high-end car storage.
Instead of simply restoring the bus, RS Autosport decided to make it a much bigger, more extreme project, by basically turning it into a Porsche – a box-shaped one, that is.
The first stage of the project involved stripping the VW back to nothing, and then repainting it in a classic white over red scheme.
The chrome bumpers and chrome trim, plus the headlights and taillights, door handles and basically everything else on the cosmetic side were restored to showroom condition. Any rubbers that showed signs of deterioration were also replaced.
We shot the bus on a popular cycling route, and it was quite funny to see people ride past, but then be so fascinated with the bus that they turned around and came back for a closer look. And this was all without even knowing what lies beneath the bodywork…Transplanted
During the in-house rebuild at RS Autosport, the classic Volkswagen body was painstakingly mated with a complete 964 Carrera 4 drivetrain. The entire build took 4,000 hours by the way; talk about dedication, and more than that, patience.
Along with the Carrera’s 4WD system, its full suspension, Brembo brakes, power steering and even air-conditioning unit found its way into the bus.
The engine is not a 964 unit, but rather a 3.6L M64/21(22) equipped with Porsche’s VarioRam induction system, which essentially alters the length of the inlet ducting depending on engine load and speed.
In stock form the motor makes 282hp, but after a full rebuild and now running on MoTeC engine management system, I’m pretty sure it’s closer to 300hp now. For reliability’s sake, the 993 gearbox it has been paired with was also stripped down and rebuilt at RS Autosport prior to being fitted in the Kombi.
A custom exhaust was also manufactured for the bus, with two pipes exiting on either side of the rear bumper. It sounds pretty magnificent, especially at full tilt.
The bus usually runs on silver 996 GT3 wheels, but on the morning of our shoot one of them got a flat, so they were quickly swapped for these 19-inch wheels with chrome lips, which fit really well under the arches. They’re wrapped up in grippy Yokohama Advan Sport 245/30R19 tyres all around.Enter Through The Front
Pop-up headlights are one of the coolest automotive design traits from days gone by, but I do believe there’s one thing even more badass – safari windows. How can anything be better, than being able to open up your windscreen?
I must say, these windows also make shooting interior photos a real pleasure.
The steering wheel is simply gorgeous; a genuine Nardi Porsche 904, 356 B/C early 911 item, built using original materials and machinery and available in very limited numbers.
The open shifter with a polished wooden knob really looks the part and fits perfectly with the steering wheel. Also, nothing says ‘race car’ like an exposed gear shift mechanism.
Sparco R100 seats look right at home with theme of the bus, but more importantly do a good job of holding you in place during spirited driving.
In the headliner, you’ll find a panel that houses buttons, knobs and switches which control various functions like ignition, air-con and the headlights. On the dash, a custom housing was built to house the MoTeC C125 colour dash display and data logger – serious stuff here. Getting even more serious, you’ll see a lack of stock pedals in the footwell, but rather a very tasty Tilton 800-Series assembly.
In the back of the bus, the bench seats were removed and a wrap-around couch installed.Disguised
Now that I’ve told you everything about this awesome Kombi, you know I couldn’t just let the real 993 in the pictures slip by without a little mention. I mean, it did come along to keep us company.
And what beautiful company it is. It’s not a proper RS, but still.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really in love with this cool piece of kit. It’s retro with some proper go, and it sounds amazing.
The 993 is obviously stunning, but what makes this Kombi so much cooler is the fact that it’s so unsuspecting. Most people will probably just think it’s a normal bus with some wheels and a loud exhaust – until they line up at the traffic lights next to it, that is…Cutting Room Floor