Cut Down Custom | VW Kombi Bus-to-Pickup Conversion
Interview and photography Luke Ray
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Jogja Volkswagen Festival in Yogyakarta, Indonesia last year. I’ve been to the always-rewarding Kustomfest show in the same location for a good few years now, but this was the first time to the VW-specific event that takes place in the same venue merely five weeks later.
The ‘JVWF’ show was a smorgasbord of stock and custom Volkswagens of all styles, but there was one in particular that stood out to me and ended up taking home my ‘Fuel Magazine best in show’ award choice.
This ‘single cab’ from builders Classic Han’s Room at first seemed like another cool, lowered ‘splitty’. But, upon closer inspection and a conversation with builder Wahyu Cross, I discovered that this particular custom Volkswagen pickup actually started life as a bus.
Yes that’s right, Wahyu and his guys cut a bus down to a pick up! Now that you know that and looking at the quality of work in these photos… I hope that you can see why I gave it my pick of the show award.
Here’s a brief chat that I had with Whayu to find out a few more details…
LR: Who are you and tell me a bit about your business?
WC: My name is Wahyu Cross and my company is Classic Han’s Room. We do restoration and builds of classic Volkswagens cars and engines. We also sell VW Type 2s and service Ural motorcycles.
How did this pickup project start?
Initially, we found a bad ‘Brazilian’ VW at a friend's workshop. After buying and bringing this Brasilian to our workshop, we let this car sit for almost two years and the condition of the car became increasingly rusty. Seeing as the condition of the car was very ugly, we tried to find ideas for this car. We finally had the idea to convert the bus into a pickup and to build it as a Ural Motorcycles sales and service themed vehicle.
What was your design idea at the beginning of the project?
The original idea was to build a single cab Volkswagen, just for fun but then the idea grew into something bigger.
Tell me about the design changes that you made when you changed the bus to a pickup.
The changes in the body to convert this Brazilian to a 1969-look pickup went through many stages. We cut out most of the roof and windows, leaving only the front cabin. The Brazilian front was turned into early ‘Bay window’ through metal fabrication. The back was made into a flat deck and combined with wood inserts and fabricated pickup tailgate.
The back door locks are all handmade to resemble the original. This pickup maintains a slammed look by raising the cabin floor by 5cm. This helped us to get the truck lower.
The dash and instruments are from a 1969 Type 2. Our interior uses a combination of brown fabric and upholstery. The color we choose is the color of police patrol cars in Indonesia which coincidentally turns out to be an original Porsche interior colour. We also applied some pinstriping and signage on the body.
Tell me about the wheels…
Initially, we wanted to use Porsche outlaw wheels but because they were so hard to get it, we tortured our brains to make these wheels ourselves. We searched for wheels some 16 inch wheels and cut out the centers. Then we connected the wheels we cut out with pieces of iron that we measured according to the Type 2 PCD.
To better resemble the original aluminium wheels, we matched a raw aluminum colour and mixed the paint with metal shards and dust to create a rough finish. The wheels are 16” with a 5x120 PCD. The front tyre size is 16/145/50 and the rears are 16/165/55
What is the engine?
It’s a Type 2 1776 cc with two-barrel Kadron carburetors and a 69mm x 90.5mm crank
What other parts did you make?
We changed almost 90% of the whole body ourselves. We also had to made things by ourselves such as seats, rear window, and the adjusters for the rear suspension.
Tell me about the interior of the cab… what changes have you made?
In this interior, we made wider seats ourselves. We also changed all the gauges on the dashboard to VW Type 2 1969 gauges.
Let’s talk about the bike in the truck bed.
This is a Ural (K750) made in Russia in 1930. I bought three bikes from The Netherlands. From these three bikes, we produced one original style engine. Many parts of this bike are original, including the tyres, which were made in the USSR and Belgium in 1940! We just changed the colour of the engine to blue and added the CHR graphics.
Follow Classic Hans Room: @classichansroom.