A Bullish expedition
How confident would you be to cover 20 000 km and two continents over three months in a 50-year-old vehicle?
Well, for five Malaysian fans of the Volkswagen Transporter, this quest is only the beginning of a dream.
At the beginning of March, Cliften Nathaniel (in a 1978 T2), Terence Moses and Stephen Pang (both in 1967 T1s) – accompanied by Monica Xavier and Udhaya Kumar, in a Beetle – set off for the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles assembly plant in Hanover, Germany.
There they were guests at the Hanover production site and were even allowed to bring their vintage vehicles into the production halls, where they observed production of the latest T-Series model.
Volkswagen’s Friedrich Mattiszik welcomed them: “We know that we have Bulli fans across the globe, but to see them travel to us from such a distance in their vintage vehicles – we have never experienced this before. It is an honour for us to show our plant to these globe-trotting fans. This is, so to speak, the birthplace of the vast majority of T-series vehicles.”
Their journey in the Bullis crossed Thailand, Laos, China, Russia and Europe. “Bullis are simply indestructible … and when they do need repair, we can usually handle it ourselves,” said Moses. Of course, in addition to their luggage, the explorers lashed tyres, replacement parts and tool sets on their fully laden roof rails.
“This is a dream come true for us. We always wanted to go to the place where the Bullis were built. It is impressive how perfectly humans and robots work together and how large the factory is,” said Pang.
Another highlight for the Malaysian Bulli owners was their weekend visit to the Volkswagen vintage meet in Hessisch-Oldendorf (Lower Saxony). Around 45 000 fans attended this event to admire the approximately 900 vehicles from 28 countries, including Malaysia.
The five Bulli fans have now set course for Belgium, France and Scandinavia where, through their charity campaign #Live2drive, they are visiting orphanages in various countries and participating in a number of charitable events.
After travelling a total of 50 000 km, the trio of Bullis (and their Beetle sidekick) will arrive back home in Malaysia.