1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

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1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:24 am

Hi All

I thought I would share this here given the Ambulance's origins and history. Like most Aircooled VW tragics, I am keen to see that this vehicle's history, a 1965 VW Type27 Krankenwagen (Ambulance), is not lost. The Aliwal North museum is also keen to do a piece on it and keep records etc.
While unfortunately this Kombi has left South Africa but be assured it has found its way into ownership where it will be returned to 'active service' (cruising the east coast of Australia).

If anyone has any more accurate information or history please do not hesitate to correct me but so far this is the history that I have been able to uncover.

This Ambulance / Krankenwagen was German built (I believe all were?) and delivered new from the Aliwal VW dealership - The Hertzrog Bridge Garage. After emailing the now principal dealer, Leslie Munro, I received a brilliant response. Leslie replied that he recalls the Kombi being in the family dealership showroom when he was 11 years old! Leslie also noted that he recalled playing with the internal spotlight inside the left side front window which has helped me understand one of the two abnormal holes in the dash.
The vehicle then serviced Aliwal North for what I estimate to be be next 20 years (love to know more definitively). Hannes from Aliwal North museum has been very helpful and has put me in touch with one of the Ambulance's drivers, Hans, who drove Ambulances in Aliwal North for 33 years!

My understanding from a post on the web was that the car then went into the private collection of Thabu Prinsloo until resurfacing in circa 2013/2014. It was apparently then sold to an Australian dealer based out of Melbourne. A collector friend of mine in Noosa (Queensland, Australia) then purchased the car and it sat for another 12 months or so.

Seeing the car in passing visit in August 2016 I recalled loving the originality and completeness of it, my kids also loved playing in it! A couple months later it was listed for sale - lo and behold my wife agreed it was a good idea to add the old bus to our list of 'project' vehicles.

Having only seen the car in the fleeting visit a few months prior there were a few surprises when I picked it up and set to work on it. Fortunately most of the surprises have been good. I am constantly amazed at how original it was/is. From the original glass and rubbers to original brake drums, linings and hoses - it was obviously well maintained by the Hertzrog Bridge Garage - plug intended! Many of the original Ambulance details also still remain including: ambulance fans, front roof 'Red Cross' light, white laminated side windows, front cabin divider windows, rear cabinetry, rear facing nurses seat, nurse buttons, rear windowless fold down tailgate and IV hooks in the rear patient area. I have since sourced a top rotary light, internal front windscreen spotlight (assumed to be a dealer fitted accessory as per Leslie Munro) and front horns/sirens (ex Europe thanks to TheSamba.com) but it is still missing the stretchers and patients chair.

My goal is to refurbish the mechanicals, sympathetically restore the interior (only touch what needs doing) and preserve the exterior. To allowing my family and I to enjoy the time warp I will be installing some rear seats that meet safety standards but the are obviously removable if I find correct Ambulance seating.

I'll keep this post updated with the refurb process and as any more information/history comes to light. Thanks for your interest!

Cheers
Tom

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Last edited by first_corner_fever on Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by Blitzkrieg » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:00 am

Stunning ride.

I have PM'd you regarding the stretchers etc
If it's too low, you're too old :twisted:

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by jolas » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:04 am

Cool post Nick

Hopefully that ex driver knows some other drivers and between them they might have a few old pics of the bus in service .....
by fig » Mar 26, 2018
Sambas in South Africa are good for only 2 things: showing off and sunburn.

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:41 am

Thanks to Jdt1976 for sharing this link of an article on the bus.

http://www.vwcommercial.co.za/en/about/ ... kombi.html

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by Merlin » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:57 pm

Hi Tom,



Neat bus, made lovelier by it's archived history.

If you're willing to share it, via PM, I'd love a gander at your chassis number, please.

Although the placement of an original siren rotary timer switch is in the area, neither of the two holes in your dashboard appear to be original.

Ambulances were amongst the most expensive Transporters in the range. It wasn't uncommon for services to purchase basic units and then customise them with more aftermarket lights, sirens, etc.., in an effort to reduce their expenditure.

All ambulances were built at the factory in Germany and then shipped to their destination country. You will find that yours has an SF code, for South Africa.

A plethora of coachbuilders provided the markets, more often than not the European ones, with custom ambulances too.

Have you managed to source a 6v switch box for your Hi/Lo sirens? ...assuming that your bus was ordered as a 6v?

Does your bus run its original engine?

I cannot see any photos showing a spotlight, but from your description, I deduce that it likely a Helphos Rally spotlight. Although a common accessory in ambulance windscreens these days, they were around for quite a while before your ambulance hit the market and are not ambulance-specific kit. Hella did produce a mirror/spotlight combination, for mounting on the mirror arm. These too were available for a variety of vehicles, in similar styles. They do pop up for sale from time to time though.



Kind regards,

Nic
"Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, and oversteer, the rear.
Hp is how fast you hit the wall, and Torque is how far you take the wall with you."
sled wrote:well obviously the UK is wrong.

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:20 pm

Hi Nic

Thanks for your information! I will PM you the chassis number and m-code plate.

Per Leslie, the spot light was definitely inside on the inside of the window so I believe it was the Helphos light (this is what I have sourced). From pictures of other ambulances I have seen I think it might have been possible that the second larger hole shown could possibly have been for a radio mic/speaker?

Unfortunately the original engine was not with the car. From the pics of the bus still in South Africa it had an engine but by the time I got it there was no engine... I have an recently refreshed 1500 single port to go back in.

I am not sure how to confirm if it was delivered 6v or 12v but it is now 12v. I do not have the switching box for the horns - this is something I am still working out how to tackle. The switches for lights and siren are to the left of the steering wheel on the base.

PM incoming...

Cheers
Tom

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by Merlin » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:00 pm

first_corner_fever wrote:
Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:20 pm
Hi Nic

Thanks for your information! I will PM you the chassis number and m-code plate.

Per Leslie, the spot light was definitely inside on the inside of the window so I believe it was the Helphos light (this is what I have sourced). From pictures of other ambulances I have seen I think it might have been possible that the second larger hole shown could possibly have been for a radio mic/speaker?

Unfortunately the original engine was not with the car. From the pics of the bus still in South Africa it had an engine but by the time I got it there was no engine... I have an recently refreshed 1500 single port to go back in.

I am not sure how to confirm if it was delivered 6v or 12v but it is now 12v. I do not have the switching box for the horns - this is something I am still working out how to tackle. The switches for lights and siren are to the left of the steering wheel on the base.

PM incoming...

Cheers
Tom
Hi Tom,



The larger hole is not clean enough to have been a factory hole. That aside, it's not the right size for a rotary timer or the accessory comms system (to date only ever seen in the brochures). If it was a radio mic'/speaker, it was installed later.

Nice going, with the 1500. :hangloose:

Mine still runs its original 1500 and it is by far my favourite engine in my fleet.

I don't see the M-code for 12v on your PMed plate. It's a safe bet that yours has been converted.

My '67 runs an '80s Bosch siren relay. The types of relays are commonly available on eBay and the like. I have a rotary timer switch for my sirens, but am looking for the original '67 12v Bosch relay.

Please post up a photo of your light & siren switches.



Cheers,

N.
"Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, and oversteer, the rear.
Hp is how fast you hit the wall, and Torque is how far you take the wall with you."
sled wrote:well obviously the UK is wrong.

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:13 pm

My first big job was been refurbing the brakes, bearings and corresponding seals etc.

More pleasant surprises. Original VW stamped everything. Original VW cast drums which had never been machined, original VW stamped master cylinder, wheel cylinders and brake hoses etc...

The master cylinder and wheel cylinders were rebuilt with stainless steel linings etc. The drums were machined to first oversize with matched oversize linings in a softer 'performance' material for 'improved' stopping - cough cough!!

While apart I replace all rubber hoses, snubbers and spring plate bushes. Also the reduction hubs were striped, cleaned and re assembled with new gaskets and axles seals.
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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by Merlin » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:37 pm

Blitzkrieg wrote:
Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:00 am
Stunning ride.

I have PM'd you regarding the stretchers etc
So, Blitzy, what else do you have stashed away?
"Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, and oversteer, the rear.
Hp is how fast you hit the wall, and Torque is how far you take the wall with you."
sled wrote:well obviously the UK is wrong.

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:29 am

A little bit of progress recently.

Retrimmed seats with matching door trims to come. Trying hard to keep it as close to original as possible.

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:17 am

One of the not so nice 'surprises' was the passenger lower door hinge damage. At some stage I think the hinge was frozen and 'torn' open, or something to that effect. Either way both layers of the door were torn away. Thankfully it was not rusted (aside surface rust) so there was plenty of good metal to attach to. Pics tell the story...

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:39 am

Can anyone assist with making out what this sticker is for? It was located inside the drivers side window to the top right corner.

I can translate 'Getoets' to 'tested', is this a form of safety certification? May / June 1975... Were the tests annual?

Sorry for the 100 questions!

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by Tony Z » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:12 pm

body filler is a wonderful thing... glad the door didnt fall off.

The sticker looks like a roadworthy test. I can make out tyres, brakes and possibly lights.
We only need roadworthy when the vehicle changes ownership (i.e. sold). Maybe you have a supporting document for this sale somewhere?

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by first_corner_fever » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:35 pm

Fortunately only a skim of filler required.

Thanks you for your info on the testing. Interesting to know that the bus changed hands in '75. At this stage I have no paperwork so it will give me a start, thanks.

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Re: 1965 Kombi - ex Aliwal North Ambulance

Post by retrovan » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:31 pm

These test transfers where not normally stuck to windows for normal testing or roadworthy s.

I am sure this was the Government Garage fitness test after 10 years service which would determine if the bus would continue service or would have been scraped if it did not pass.(not sure if every 5 years or every 10 years)

Government personal carriers are serviced and tested by the local Government Garage in that area.

It would seem that your bus passed with flying colours to have been given the green light and sticker for extended service displayed on the driver door for the gate controller and traffic offers to see that the vehicle has been tested within the set time frame.

Hope this helps

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