Kustom Wagen: 'The Cakil' Indonesian 1952 Type 1 Volksrod
Words: Karlee Sangster Photos: Luke Ray
Lulut Wahyudi, or LT to his mates, lives in Jogja City, Indonesia and runs Retro Classic Cycles, a custom workshop. The 39 year old also organizes Kustomfest, the premier Indonesian custom culture festival and is father to three kids.
LT usually builds motorcycles, but when he bought a ’52 Beetle sight unseen from a friend, things changed. “I chose a 1952 Bug because I owned one and was not using it. Actually I bought it from my friend and planned to build it for my daughter’s birthday gift. I bought it without seeing the condition because the seller was my friend. When the beetle was sent to me, I was shocked, it was totally rusty and had been in a crash. It sat parked in my shop for a long time. Then I got the idea to built it for a lucky draw at Kustomfest 2014.”
Lulut opened his workshop in 2002. “My dream and ambition came from this old garage that my father had,” he says. His bike at the time was his father’s 1962 BMW R27, a ride with constant engine trouble that took a week to repair at a service station every time something went wrong.
“I was frustrated with the old bike my father gave me because of the big repair costs while it continued to stall,” says LT. But his late father, Margono Pusposaputro, would certainly have been happy today as the BMW has earned Lulut several international awards for custom motor building.
“My dad worked in the agriculture sector, so I used to learn automotive repair and maintenance from workshops and through various automotive publications like Hot Bike magazine in Yogyakarta.” LT went on to study at the Yogyakarta Academy of Industry.
Whilst studying, he sold his modified bikes to save up business capital. LT recalls: “My initial capital was Rp 50 million [US$5,150] and I began with my younger brother Hidayat Prio Wibowo. It was a struggle to convince the market, let alone the small number of Yogyakartans possessing Harley Davidsons,” he said.
His persistence paid off and LT started winning awards. Bike of the Month, People’s Choice, Chopper of the Month…he was starting to get the custom motorcycle world’s attention. His biggest honour so far? Being awarded “Guest of Honor of Mooneyes 2011,” a title conferred upon him by Mooneyes Japan head honcho, Shige Suganuma.
After talking at length with fellow enthusiasts, LT decided to organize a festival that would showcase Indonesian builders and “show the world that Indonesia is not just a market but also a producer”. Kustomfest was born and the Volksrod was built as a prize, to be won in a raffle style draw at that event.
LT explains: “Based on a VW Type 1 from 1952, I built this hot rod in four and a half months. Frame construction and all other body parts were made by us here at Retro Classic Cycles. This hot rod project was named The Cakil, inspired by the original famous figure of Indonesian puppet characters, Buto Cakil. Taking the form of a giant figure, the character is described as having anger and a high temper, nasty but persistent and full of conviction. This is the spirit that carried the build.
"We always think about the ideas and works that could raise the profile of local builders and inspire other automotive enthusiasts to always innovate. This hot rod was made by relying on local resources and supported by colleagues who have the same vision.”
LT finished the build two days before Kustomfest 2014 opened. Of course, it was the centre of attention, and he sold 26000 tickets in the draw to take it home.
“I did all the work in building this volksrod, except painting and rebuilding the engine and tranny. I sent it to the painter and sent the engine and tranny to my good friend, I had no time to do engine and paint, only four and a half months!” LT exclaims.
Lots was done in those eighteen weeks. LT cut off the entire body and made a new chassis , with the design adopted from a Porsche. “When we chopped the top, the original chassis had too much flex,” explains LT. “The new chassis is narrower and shorter, the rear torsion bars are the only original part.”
The whole car was dropped four inches, and LT made a new steering column from scratch. The doors were shortened and seats hand formed from 3mm aluminium. The car retains it’s original headlights and gauges, but not a lot else.
“Ideas just came like a frenzy,” recalls LT.
What was it like to devote four and a half months to building something, knowing all the while that you’d give it away? LT laughs. “You really wanna know my feelings? It's like one stand night sex. Really! You put in a lot of hard work and effort, but you only have one opportunity enjoy it.”
Chopped 1952 Split Window
Build time: 5 months
Frame & floor
Frame welding by Retro Classic Cycles (RCM)
Stamped mild steel floor by RCM
1952 Volkswagen ‘split window’ Beetle
Chopped, narrowed, channelled and all design and body work by RCM
Engine & Transmission
VW Type-1 1.2L, refurbished by Mr No.
Stock 4 speed VW Type-1 transmission, refurbished by Mr No
Mooneyes air cleaner
Customized 4 in to 1 exhaust with stinger modified by RCM
Ford I-beam front dropped axle by Super Bell
Reverse leaf front springs by Super Glide
Short ride chrome front shocks by Pro Shock USA
Stock VW Type-1 rear axle, refurbished by RCM
Wheels & Tyres
Front: Ford 15” x 4” by Wire Wheels with Firestone 5.60/15 whitewalls
Rear: Ford 16” x 4.5” by Wire Wheels with Firestone 6.00/16 whitewalls
Drum brakes all round, refurbished by RCM
Ford 1932 headlight by Wagner USA
Ford pick up taillight
60 Amp battery by Yuasa
Custom wiring system by RCM
Black gloss paint by Arief Serba Iya
Various parts powdercoated by RCM
15” bucket style steering wheel by Grant USA
Further items designed and fabricated by RCM:
Tubular frame, steering column, aluminum smooth cone steering adapter, aluminum bucket seats, aluminum fuel tank, aluminum dash insert, aluminum riveted side door trims, quick shifter, hairpin front radius arm, steel wheel adapters
The build team:
Project manager Indra ‘Jadi Kawin’.
Mas Cahyo, Sumar, Aan, Jonny, Simien, Pak P, Garux, Bagus Gondrox, Mr No (Den Baguse Totok), Pak Eko.
Kustomfest 2014 was supported by: Mooneyes, Roland Sands Design, Salinas Boys Customs, Fuel Magazine, Ultra VW and ICRW.
This article first appeared in Fuel Magazine issue 19.
Follow Kustomfest: @kustomfest.