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1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:46 am    Post subject: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

I can hardly believe this, but we have just bought (another!) Australian Dormobile camper conversion (known locally as a ‘Kombi’)!
There’s a bit of a story behind it, but I thought I would start a thread to document the tale of how we came to hear about her, the back story, post pictures and discuss our plans. Eventually it should include an Aussie road trip before bringing her back from Canberra to Scotland, the restoration/preservation process and onwards to other adventures!

She is very well preserved thanks to the dry climate, regular servicing and careful storage, still in the original ‘Martini Olive’ paint, with the patina of careful use but remarkably similar to our current Kombi, which we shipped back from Melbourne in 2001 and some of you will know the Samba thread: 'Let's Go! Scotland-Croatia and onwards in our Kombi!'

First, some pictures to whet your appetite!...


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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

So, what’s the story?
I have a long term online friendship with another Samba member from Australia, as we both have Dormobile campers, a little different from the British Dormobile, converted in the factory in Fishwyk, Canberra. We started a thread here: Official Aussie Dormobile conversion thread
He came to know of another Dormobile Kombi that was serviced in the same garage, and knew that it was a really nice, solid, original example. The gentleman owner had had it for 35 years and had reluctantly decided that it was time to let her go. We had admired the vehicle when my friend told us about it a few years ago but after some long and complicated three-way discussion and negotiation we all came to an arrangement that everyone was happy with and now we are the proud new owners!
There is a bit of flexibility about our plans but the Kombi will be carefully looked after until next year, when Shona and I will travel out to Australia and take a camping road trip before shipping back to the UK. Our friend will hopefully then come over for a reciprocal road trip while we embark on a sympathetic restoration/preservation process to protect the Kombi from our harsher (colder, wetter!) climate, but preserving the remarkable original features.

She’s not perfect, but the paint is still the original Australian Dulux CLR 622 ‘martini olive’, with a few dings and paint chips, rubbed off patina at the drivers door, and some rust where the roof rack attaches but I think will cut back and polish up very nicely indeed.
The interior is very original, as we can tell by comparison with our two busses, although the upholstery has been redone many years ago. There are rear seat belts and it is stamped as suitable for four occupants. The cabinets have a little water damage (but not as bad as our orange Kombi) the cooker is pristine, the Voxson radio-cassette player is suitably retro and the 3-way fridge looks good.
The side-hinged pop top roof is in fairly good condition, with the Australian spec yellow canvas, and the two tartan bunks look unused.
I don’t have photos of the engine bay, but we do have a lot of video! It is very clean, very original and the type 4, fuel injection, manual transmission setup should be a good combination. The undercarriage is very clean and essentially rust free, even the front beam grease points have been kept clean and tidy!
Test drive revealed the engine, gear change, steering and brakes are all impressively crisp and tight.

More pictures:


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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
1969 signal orange Karmann Ghia convertible
1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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appetite
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

Lordy that's a beautiful bus.
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

A couple more things I have pictures of; 170,000km (just after 100k miles) confirmed by the service documents, you can see a few rusted stone chips in the front panel and the windscreen seal has had black sealant smooshed around the edge. I don’t think this has been applied to cover up major windscreen rust, judging by the rest of the bus. The hubcaps are the early deep dome style but apparently they were there from early on, anyone have any ideas?

I’ll have to think about how to approach any restoration, but my aim will be to be pretty ‘light touch’ as I think the original features and ‘patina’ of age will be nice to keep. The mechanicals do seem to have been taken care of very well-what are the failure prone parts of the EFI setup (we have dual carbs at the moment), the steering and brakes are generally very good. The mechanic commented that the rear brakes will need work in the next 10,000km (whatever that means!) I expect I will dismantle and grease the adjusters etc.
The paintwork should compound, polish and wax up very well and I have a friend who can deal with the worst rust spots like the rear gutter rails. The interior just needs a little detailing but is usable as is.
Underneath the bus is essentially rust free, so my thought is to really clean up and rub down and treat any surface rust and then either touch up the paint or apply a clear, waxy underseal before the Scottish climate gets hold of it (our current Kombi shows what 18 years exposure can do, so I want to get in there early).
I really want us to be able to use this bus, but maybe to be a bit more selective about how much exposure to the weather it will get!

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1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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MorkC68
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

That looks lovely, well done on the purchase.

It’s a great story for her history too, you going out to Australia and then the PO coming over here, not every bus has that!

You will, hopefully, enjoy a fuel injected bus, I certainly do on Major.

Very Happy
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 1:58 pm    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

It turns out we had discussed this bus before, about five years ago! Considering the options and the possibilities of shipping to the UK, but the time wasn’t right for any of us involved. I dug out a few pictures from the conversation though-little different, but not prettied up for sale!

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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
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1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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ImAddicted
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 2:48 pm    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

You’ll need another cat, one for each bus...
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:07 pm    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

Wow - seriously cool bus!

Whats with the windshield wipers? CKD converted for Oz?
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:24 pm    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

notchboy wrote:
Wow - seriously cool bus!

Whats with the windshield wipers? CKD converted for Oz?


Thanks!
I’m not sure about the wipers. You could be right. I think our our orange bus was shipped from Germany and then had the camper conversion in Aus, but the other two (both a year older) were painted (and I presume assembled) in Aus. Our front panel has the flat area for the wipers, but no hole needing to be blocked off.

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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
1969 signal orange Karmann Ghia convertible
1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 10:26 pm    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

ImAddicted wrote:
You’ll need another cat, one for each bus...


...enough trouble with one!
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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
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1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

Hi Phil,

Looks like a very solid and tidy van Cool
Seperate bedrooms if you take both Wink
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:51 pm    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

1970fun wrote:
Hi Phil,

Looks like a very solid and tidy van Cool
Seperate bedrooms if you take both Wink


Ah, but Harry, think of the cost on the ferry to get two Kombis to the Netherlands!
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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
1969 signal orange Karmann Ghia convertible
1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:07 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

Dormobiles are my favorite conversion. Isn’t having 2 of them cheating somehow? Cool Nice bus Phil! I look forward to your travels and adventures in this bus.
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:04 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

TomWesty wrote:
Dormobiles are my favorite conversion. Isn’t having 2 of them cheating somehow? Cool Nice bus Phil! I look forward to your travels and adventures in this bus.


You’re right Tom, it feels like cheating. Actually, it really feels like cheating on our faithful orange Kombi! I don’t know how anyone can justify having two such similar vehicles but, as long as we can sort out proper long term storage, they both have slightly different niches in our life!

‘Olive’ has been collected from the PO now and I have some thought provoking photos of the problem areas that I can share with you. But first, the PO had some pictures of his previous kombis! The Split is UK registered, about 1962 and is pictured in Europe and ?Colorado and the early bay is another Dormobile camper, in Australia. I think the driver must be the recent owner, and the wee boy his son!

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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
1969 signal orange Karmann Ghia convertible
1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

So, this is the post I really don’t want to make...
Actually, I’ll save the photos for the next post!
Basically, this bus is still original paint as far as we can tell. Understandably, there is the wear and tear of over 40 years, mostly in active service! I’ve no real doubt that the intact paint can be clay barred, compounded, polished and waxed to a great finish, but there are a few problem areas. Some could be left as is, some could be fairly easily treated and colour matched, like the rear guttering where the roof rack has been sitting. Bearing in mind the wetter Scottish climate we will eventually return to, some whole panels might be better resprayed, maybe the front panel and the rear roof? You will see the rear roof actually has a soft dent, which could be left, or could be pushed out from the inside.
My friend has had his camper treated with a hard ceramic coating to preserve the paint and pop-top. I don’t know if anyone has experience of this type of finish, but I would worry that over time, surface rust would inevitably continue, and I’m not sure if it would make future paintwork or rust treatment more difficult. Comments welcome!
Ceramic coating paint protection
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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
1969 signal orange Karmann Ghia convertible
1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:39 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

The ugly bits:

Scratches by wing mirror:

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Rust chips on front panel:

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Dings and scratches:

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Rubbed away paint:

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Rear roof:

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Poor paint finish or rust under paint?

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Under power connector (looks ok!)

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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
1969 signal orange Karmann Ghia convertible
1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:51 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

Ah! I’ve just worked out how to upload a video-I’ve done it before, but I couldn’t remember the steps!!

This shows the damage the roof rack has caused and the dent in the roof...

Link

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1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:12 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

My 77 Westfalia has a lot of similar spots, war wounds, scars, and wear. I get the most comments from the door area where your ass has worn the paint on the doglegs getting in and out. People think that's cool for some reason. My nose is pocked with rock dings and a small dent or two.

I trashed my drip rail with the new awing I put on. Had it spot repaired and you would never know. I also had the same spot where the latch from the slider hits the C pillar. Bugger spot that looks like shit till its fixed again.

But with 85% of the OG paint, I'm hard-pressed to ever paint her. You have even more OG paint.

If she were mine, Id do a very sympathetic touch-up. Fix those obvious gnarls like the drip rails and some of the deeper scratches. But most of them Id let be. Tidy up the dings and touch of paint here and there followed by a good clay and buff - then call it good.

She can look a million bucks without going overboard. Preservation over restoration. She's going to be an awesome one whatever path you take.


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OK, this thread is over. You win.

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WildIdea
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:39 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

Wow, what a bus!

I'll whole heartedly second what notchboy said. I would take an original paint bus with blems over a respray 11 times out of 10. I dig the originality.

Not only that, arguably, the factory part is more durable than any aftermarket paint you could put on there. Not only were the conditions superior at the factory, but the paint they applied was more durable. Now with all the EPA restriction, its just not made out of the same ingredients. I'm sure someone will argue that modern paint is great if used applied properly, and probably can be, but I see bubbled up places on resprays all the time and thats grosser than a scratch to me. I would maybe soft touch up a few areas and when a hole developed where metal should be, then cut out the panel and repaint, but not a min before that. I just don't think that a the bus that is stored out of the weather, problems won't develop at any serious alarming rate. And if you resprayed that nose you would never relax driving it! Right now it can take a licking and not have you screaming.

Love the photos, Good luck with the bus!
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mcdonaldneal
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:44 am    Post subject: Re: 1976 ‘Martini Olive’ Aussie Dormobile Kombi Reply with quote

Thanks notchboy, I appreciate your comments and that is very much the way I am thinking at the moment. Our current Kombi also has the ass rubs, and the paint is worn through at the entry through the sliding door and I have just waxed to protect. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to touch up in any obvious way.

While I’m on a roll with videos, here’s a walk around with a better look at the paintwork and the weird melted rubber/sealant WTF around the windscreen. That might warrant a seal replacement as an opportunity to check it’s not hiding anything!

Link

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1978 marino yellow Bay Dormobile camper
1969 signal orange Karmann Ghia convertible
1976 martini olive Bay Dormobile camper

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