Chassis number 20-090697 dates the van to leaving final end of production line checking in Wolfsburg on 8th July 1954. The VW certificate confirms that on the 10th July the van was heading for Sweden via the main Swedish VW Importer SCANIA-VABIS.
It was supplied in primer paint with left hand drive and also left hand side loading cargo doors (a Swedish requirement).
We are lucky enough to now know the complete and accurate history of the van from day 1, as we were very fortunate to meet Lars Hasa at the Ben Pon International Barndoor Gathering 2014.
Lars originally discovered the van in a wooded farmland in 1989! Thanks to Lars we now have the full Swedish Registration Document (Riksarkivet, Swedish National Archives) and lots of old photographs, that he very kindly bought along to the show for us to keep!
The Riksarkivet shows that the van arrived in Sweden via SCANIA-VABIS, 13 days after leaving Wolfsburg, on the 23rd July 1954 and was sold to it's first owner on the 17th November 1954 in Hansjo, a small town in Sweden. These owners kept the van until 10th May 1960, when it was sold to a new owner in the local town of Orsa, Sweden. It would seem that these owners only had the van for 7 months, as it was then sold to another new owner in Mora, another local town about 20 miutes away, around one of Swedens largest lakes, on the 30th December 1960.
These 3rd and final owners in Mora used the van until 24th October 1962 when they parked it up in their land and registered it Scrapped (Anmalt skrotat)! It was only just over 8 years old! This was where it remained until Lars rediscovered it in 1989!
Although, found by Lars in 1989, it took a further 5 years for him to persuade the owners who had now had it for 34 years, almost to the day, to sell it to him,. He eventually managed to drag it out in December 1994, again almost exactly 32 years after it had been scrapped, with his old Mercedes.
Lars then dry stored the van for a few years, in his own amazing little collection, along with his Split Window Beetle and Karmann Ghia and lots of lovely parts and stuff, until he sold it to another Barndoor collector 'Mats'.
Mats also owned the van for a few years where it was stored in an open fronted barn along side the green 1953, which has been back on the road for a while, and now recently belonging to Rob Underwood. As well as the world famous 1952 right hand drive that has been back on the road for quite some time belonging to the ever and equally infamous 'Scotty' from the Uk! The amblulance to the right of our van is a 1953 I think, and I understand this still belongs to Mats now.
There are also several other VW buses etc pictured within Mats collection from this time, around the year 2000. He owned the van until around 2002 when it was again sold on to a friend and well known Barndoor collector, Dai Watkins, in the UK. (check out Dai's website by following the link on our LINKS page)
Dai also kept the van in a dry barn for a few years, where it still remained completely original and untouched, until we were lucky enough to purchase it from him in July 2010. It then went straight into our very dry newly built barn style garage where it has remained ever since.
It is true and completely accurate to say that in 60 years, the van has been on the road for only 8 years, belonged to 3 proper owners, 3 custodian Barndoor collectors and us! Hopefully to be driving the mean streets of Europe again soon!
The van was in pretty good shape. It is super straight with no real dents or body damage anywhere and has 85% original paint. It did however require the usual, VW bottom 6 inches, floors, sills, bottom corners and some chassis pieces replacing. It has never been previously welded, and every nut and bolt left on it is completely original! This has prooved to be great as there are no old or bad repairs to work with. All of the usual parts were also missing so it has been a matter of sourcing the correct and original parts as and when we can find them.
As found by Lars Hasa in Mora Sweden circa 1989. It had been here for 32 years!
Being Collected by Lars in December 1994
At Mats in Sweden circa year 2000.
At Dai's in the UK , in 2010
Since we got the van back home in November 2010 our main focus has been to finish some other projects so apart from the time spent on the tar and paint, it was generally side lined for a while. Throughout this time though we were busy searching and collecting all of the missing parts.
Bringing the Van home, wrapped in Shrink Wrap so nothing fell off!.
The van at Dai's shortly before we bought it home.
The exterior of the van was really very good, with a lot of original paint & great patina. The charm of this van is the years of weathering and use which shows its 60 year history.
These photos show the exterior before the work started.
As you can see from the above and older pictures the top dark blue metallic of the van was very pitted with rust and the light blue section was very dull and the paint had really white bloomed. We very carefully colour sanded the whole exterior with 1000 to 1500 grit which you can image took a while! The aim was to protect and preserve the original patina, sand any crusty rust to have a smooth exterior with no areas that water could easily collect. We then finally polished the hell out of it with G3 and G6, followed by a quality auto Bees Wax to help protect it a bit in the future!! The end result was well worth all of the effort, it looks fantastic!
Not quite sure what happened to the inside of this van but when we got it much of the inside was covered in think tar. We wanted to preserve as much of the original paint as possible so our only option was to spend ages and ages scrubbing it with rags and white spirit until it was no more.
So the real work begins! The before and after photos of the chassis kind of speak for themselves although it is worth noting that we only had repair panels for the top hat sections, outriggers and cross braces so we had to fabricate many sections of the main chassis ourselves, which was fun!!
The Seat Restoration!!
We sent our seat away to our very good friend and Coleague Mike at Fabrik Interiors who sand blasted and powder coated the frames and re-stuffed with horse hair as it would have had originally & re-trimmed the seats with the correct original material. Great job Mike! We are one of FABRIK Interiors' distributors check out the FABRIK For Sale Page.
VW TYP 2 Barndoor Ribbed Bumpers
Another fun project! The van came with its original front bumper but no rear bumper so the rear bumper is from another Barndoor bus that we later sourced. Luckily it matches perfectly.Note that vans got rear bumpers at various different times. Panel vans got a rear bumper from chassis number 20-069409 onwards. Sounds pretty straight forward so far, apart from the front bumper came in two pieces and was about as battered as the Berlin Wall!
Front Bumper - Before
Rear Bumper - Before
After - Still a bit more work to do but this is the progress so far.
We have also restored our original 1954 VW TYP 2 Barndoor Steering Wheel with correct keyway spline attachment.
As you can see it was looking a bit of a state when we removed it from the van. Although still fitted, It had probably been sitting outside for many years, as there were no windscreens!
After many hours work with the correct resins and paints we finally had the steering wheel looking and feeling like new again.
Finding a front VW badge for our van was not easy. They do not come up for sale often. When they do they command very high prices. We are lucky enough to have bought and sold a couple in the past, and have saved the best orignal for ourselves.
Barndoor badges differ from split screen badges as they only have 3 mounting pins on the back and not 4. The badge is also much heavier and better quality than the later models.