When your business is building and restoring classic Porsches, you need a cool shop truck – something like Tim Abbot’s Volkswagen Type 2 Bay Window Crew Bus.
A few weeks ago, we took a closer look into Tim’s life, one that’s revolved around the Porsche brand for most of his earthly existence. In searching for a suitable trackside support vehicle/parts hauler for his South African-based business, there were plenty of sensible modern options that Tim could have gone for. But all of them lacked character. The Bay Window Crew, however, ticked all the right boxes. Firstly it’s a VW, so it’s keeping it in the Porsche family, and secondly, Tim knew that he could make it something special with just a few select upgrades.
This is a straightforward, honest Type 2 that gets used and abused, and wears its scars with pride. The paint chips and dents all around the body tell a story. But what I really love is its simplicity.
When Tim purchased the Bus a few years ago, it was in a very different state having dark charcoal paint and no running gear. The seller had run out of space, time and money to put it back on the road, so he sold it to Tim for the bargain price of R7000. That’s about US$380.
Tim had it resprayed burgundy, and added the custom ‘Porsche Service’ signage and other period-style Shell, Bosch, BILSTEIN and Dunlop logos. There’s also front driving lights, and a towbar for the times Tim uses the Bus to tow Porsche race cars to and from the track, with all his tools and spares in the back.
The interior remains completely stock, but how comfy do those bench seats look? I’m sure you could do many kilometres in those and feel like you’re sitting on your couch at home.
As the Bus would have an important role to play at Abbot Cars, Tim made some changes to the way it handles the road too. The front and rear trailing arms were upgraded, and a disc brake setup with BMW booster was specced for the front end. Then there’s the wheels, original Fuchs measuring 15×6-inch and 15×7-inch front and rear respectively. The latter required the rear wheel arches to be widened ever so slightly.
Where is all this leading? To the engine of course.
Right from the very beginning of this project, Tim knew that only a Porsche engine would fill the void left by the removal of the original VW flat-four. What’s sitting in the engine room now is a 3.0-liter flat-six from a 911 SC – and it looks right at home. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a Volkswagen gearbox with an extended fourth gear.
The main goal with this build was to give the Bus the performance, drivability and reliability to pick-up parts during the week and tow race cars on the weekend, all while retaining a classic look. If you ask me, I think Tim has really succeeded in that. Really, what more could you want in a classic Porsche specialist’s shop truck?