Customised Volkswagen Beetles and Transporter T1 and T2 Trucks, Vans and Minibuses

By Jerry J Broz

All pictures by, and copyright of the Author.

Upon leaving Formula One in 1999, I continued my subscription to F1 magazines, followed F1 on TV,  and collected F1 memorabilia and model cars and kits.  On the suggestion of my wife, I started collecting old and new Beetles, and Transporter Type 1 trucks, vans, and buses. Since then, I’ve gathered a large collection of diecast and resin models in 1:43 scale as well as kits of all scales.  I also established and maintain a library of pictures as a reference source for making models of existing concept, converted, and customised cars. Various web-sites, featuring photographs of customised cars, are good sources of ideas for converted model cars.  Subscribing to one of the full size Volkswagen magazines, such as the French “Super VW Magazine“, for example, is another exceptionally good source of ideas for all kinds of Volkswagen Beetles (old and new) and Volkswagen T1 and T2 trucks, vans and buses. The New Beetle models have great customising potential and full size VW Beetle and Transporter T1 and T2 commercials are among the most customised cars in the world. No matter how much these cars are changed they always retain the character of the original.  Few other cars can claim this strong identity and public recognition.

Whether made in metal, resin, or plastic models, and in whatever scale, these Volkswagens may be customised in endless creative configurations and settings. The following photographs show a few of my customised VW Beetles and Transporters.

Based on a 1:24 scale VW Transporter Type 1 truck, the rest of the “Search & Rescue” model is built out of the parts-box items. The dog figure is from Animal Den. The lights (blinking and others, as well as siren), all work. The wording on the side of the truck is created and printed on the P-touch labelling system, using 18mm/0.7″ laminated, white on clear, TZe tape. The decals are computer generated and Inkjet printed onto clear waterslide decal paper. The tracks are from a toy tank. The paint is airbrushed Tamiya Acrylic Red.

 

Based on the 1:24 scale Jada double-cabin truck converted into
“two-girls” service truck, the hard hat, ladders, search light, short wave antenna, tow/hoist chains, fire extinguisher, and other add-on parts are from the part-box. The traffic cones are from a Radio Shack Radio Control model car kit. The girl figures are from the toy set with sculptured dresses and repositioned arms and legs. All the lights work.

The wording on the side of the truck is created and printed on P-touch labelling system, using 18mm/0.7″ laminated, white on black, TZe tape. The heads of girls on the side of the truck are copied
from one of the web-sites to the computer, reduced, Inkjet printed
on the white, waterslide decal paper and cut out from the background.

The Vespa scooter is a New Ray model painted to match the colour of the truck.

 

A magazine picture inspired me to build this 1:24 scale box-stock
Jada VW Old Beetle . The air conditioner, front window visor, wheels, spare tire cover, and cargo box are parts-box items. The Coca-Cola cooler, and metal/wood roof rack are all scratch built. The side decoration is wallpaper thinned down to decal thickness and applied to the body via Futura. The paint is Tamiya Acrylic Bright white and the red stripe is a decal.

 

This is a VW Transporter Type 1 pick-up converted to a dragster. Chopped, shortened, and lowered body with a hand-made wheelie bar and working roof hatch. Large (dip dish) and small (with simulated wire) wheels and tires, as well as all the other parts are from the parts-box. Two-tone painting is Tamiya Acrylic white and Racing red with a black accent. The waterslide decals,
including the flames, are from the decal-box.

 

Built from a Jada Toys VW Old Beetle box-stock, this concept
model has a detailed interior and spoked wheels from parts-box.
The working gulf-wing doors were carefully cut out from the body
with a jewellers saw before they were attached to the centre of the
roof with a hinge  The paint is Tamiya Acrylic dark maroon.

 

Valentine’s Day inspired me to built this “Girls and their heart decorated new Beetle” ready to depart for evening of fun. The scene is based on the Maisto 1:32 scale, diecast new VW Beetle. The body of the car and the wheels are decorated from commercially available sheet of a hearts. The interior includes two-colour seats, painted headrests, and detailed dashboard. Dressed up, accessorised, and posed girls are from commercially available sets, the dog figure (Poodle ) is from Animal Den. The car is airbrushed with Tamiya Acrylic black.

 

A friend in Netherlands owns a real horse pulled “half-a-VW Beetle
wagon. A Revell kit was used to create this model, along with
a horse from Animal Den, and the driver, a seated Adam, is from
 American Diorama. Everything else is scratchbuilt including the
spoked wheels and horse harness. The paint is airbrushed Tamiya
Acrylic yellow.

 

Custom built for a client in California who owns a 1:1 three-seat tricycle built from part of the old Beetle. The rear part of the Beetle body and rear wheels and tires are from the Revell 1968 VW Beetle plastic kit. Front fork, wheel and tire are from a commercially available motorcycle kit. The rest of the tricycle is scratch-built from parts-box pieces and from sheet plastic, aluminium sheets and rods. The windshield is cut from clear plastic sheet.

 

A Maisto 1:32 scale New Beetle, re-designed as a practical Fresh Fruit shop delivery pickup. The wooden bed is scratchbuilt and Coca-Cola bottles in a yellow case are from Town Square Collection. Custom-made and Inkjet-printed waterslide decals are used. The finish is airbrushed Tamiya Acrylic spring green paint.

 

Based on 1:32 scale Kinsmart Old and New Beetles, this is  a prototype model built for the French “Retro Assurance” auto insurance company insuring “Old and Modern” (Anciennes et Modernes) cars of the same marque. The model is a combination of New Beetle (front body part) and Old Beetle (rear body part) including the appropriate wheels. The finish is Tamiya Acrylic light green and light blue.

This “Wolfsburg High” school bus is based on a 1:24 scale Revell
kit. I only used the front part of the body and the chassis, The rear
view mirrors and wheels/tires are from the parts-box. Everything else is scratchbuilt. The body is made from White Styrene sheets glued together with Bondene Solvent Cement for strong and permanent bonding.The windows are made from blue matte coloured film. There is no interior fitted. The “Stop” sign is functional. Painted in Dupli-Color Acrylic Enamel – School Bus yellow.

 

Built from 1:32 scale Maisto metal model of old VW Beetle.  A reshaped body painted in Tamiya’s spray-can acrylic yellow paint, includes a working roof hatch and computer designed and Inkjet printed waterslide decals. The detailed interior includes seat with seat belts, dashboard with steering wheel, and fire extinguisher. Model has a completely wired and plumbed engine. The wheels and tires are from parts-box.

 

A 2007 French “Super VW Magazine“,  had an article entitled “Papy’s Story”  which set out McBeetle’s (Victor W. McBottle) concept of a desert racer, the highly modified VW Beetle motivated me to build this land speed racer from a Revell 1:24 scale VW Beetle kit. Plenty of scratch-building and reshaping went into this model. There’s very little left of the stock Revell kit. The wheels with chrome hub caps. covers and tires, as well as a driver and parachute are from the parts-box. The airbrushed paint is Tamiya Acrylic Gloss red applied over a white primer.

 

This model is based on an editorial illustration in French magazine “Super VW Magazine“. It is built from a box-stock Polar Lights/Disney plastic kit and painted with Tamiya Acrylic yellow. The windows were painted from inside with Tamiya Acrylic clear orange. The model also has darkened headlights lenses, hand-made
front and rear bumpers and hood pins as well as deep dish wheels. The side decals were based upon the magazine picture and computer cleaned, brightened and Inkjet printed on clear waterslide decal paper.

 

Built from a Jada Toys VW Old Beetle box-stock, this concept model has detailed interior and special wheels from the partsbox. The working “suicide” doors were carefully cut out from the body with a jewellers saw before they were attached to the body by a hand-made hinge. The paint is Tamiya Acrylic gloss black.

 

This concept of a  “Beach Beetle” started with a Welly 1:32 scale New Beetle diecast. Using a rotary tool I removed the portion of the door and a body, I then filed it to the correct curvature, and sanded the opening smooth. After removing the original paint, the body was primed and painted in Tamiya Acrylic, desert yellow. Reshaped  mirrors, the jewellery chain for protection, and the antenna with a ball topper are added. The lowered windshield is tinted.

Built from a box-stock Welly 1:32 scale VW New Beetle and painted
using an airbrush in Tamiya Acrylic, Italian (Ferrari) red. The only scratchbuilt part is the rear wing and rear wing side panels. The wheels and tires are from parts-box and decals are from decal-box.

 

Based on a Kinsmart 1:32 scale New Beetle, this is a model of Retro-Designs‘ VW New Beetle with stylised Bentley front and rear end with a fully detailed interior and chrome plated typical Bentley radiator. Painted in Tamiya Acrylic bright white.


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