As some of you might know, Ben Pon, the founder of the Dutch VW importing agency, kind of "invented" the Type 2 on a memo page in his organiser. To commemorate the 40th birthday of the Hannover plant (or "Transporter stammwerk" in German) a delegation of PON (the agency) was invited to these celebrations and were kindly asked to bring along a delegation of "vintage" buses to underline the close relations. I was asked by the PR department of PON if I wanted to participate through my club contacts at that time. Before they finished asking I already had accepted.
At their office in Leusden we assembled and drove off in convoy to Hannover; escorted by two PR-officials in brand new T4's. They took excellent care of us; hotel accomodation & meals, gas and a couple of sturdy German beers where all provided. During our dinner we where joined by VW-design staff who had helped developing the loaf, very special... I returned without a guilder spent, really... On the day itself we were allowed to wander through the factory and I noticed people taking pictures. So I took my camera out as well and shot two films full of the production facilities. I think these are pretty rare material for photographing is normally not allowed inside a car plant in production...
These pictures give you an impression of the incredible visit we made to the place our buses where made. And although the cars depicted are certainly not "vintage" in any way, it sure gives you an insight of what it must have been like during those days... Watch my pictures and use your imagination.
A better shot from the body shop section
This is a high roof body, taken off the line to dress up minor defects. Note the brace hanging in the middle!
Prepped bodies on transport to the spray robot, no admission there because of health risks.
Sprayed body enters the assembly line
A worker mounting the dash. I was standing in the way of his collegue while taking the next photo.
His colleagues offering the dash up for mounting with a sort of robot arm. The complete dash, including the ancilaries is installed in one go (about 25 seconds). Impressive!
End of the prep section for mounting engine and drivetrain.
Quality check station.
Minor fault correction station and quality assessment station (random check).
Installing a high roof: glue is spread in the roof gutter, then the glassfibre top is placed over it. Then, with several knocks with a rubber hammer the roof is installed. Amazing these do not blow off the car on the highway!
The above was a pre-production model. One shot is with Ivo (a bus buddy) to give you an impression of its size. It sstood there in a hallway a bit sorry for itself and neglected. Man, this would make the ultimate mantlepiece! No worries: we did not lay a hand on it...grumble...
Our buses lined up outside, right next to the main entrance.
We are lonesome cowboys, far away from home...
Lonesome cowboys on the trail.
Ever wondered why Westy cloth is NLA?? (I counted at least 80 to 90 chairs...)
This was our courtesy vehicle, provided by the factory, with our own German one man "Grateful Dead" version...not. He played during our dinner the previous night, man did he make me thirsty...
The Eurovan you see on the left belongs to the Dutch version of the "Amish Gazette". The 18 wheeler you see with the inspiring lady on the back belongs to the network station which broadcasts erotic films from time to time. While overtaking us, they were kind of annoying each other in the fast lane. That night we had a good laugh about these guys!
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