1966 VW Microbus turns heads wherever Rahls go
A residence in one of Mount Pleasant’s quiet side streets is home to an icon of its era, the 1966 split windscreen Volkswagen Microbus.
It has been restored to its former glory and is still turning heads almost half a century later.
The immaculate two-tone people – and more – carrier is the pride of the Rahl household and fits perfectly into their weekend beach lifestyle.
The vehicle’s beige leather interior – complementing the sky blue and white exterior – is topped with a custom fitted roof rack which completes the showroom condition collectable.
Owner and architect Andre Rahl said the newly fitted 1641cc twin-port air-cooled engine might not redline but would still attract as much attention as any sports car on the road today.
“We call it the happy blue and white pill, because wherever we go people stop what they are doing to greet the Microbus with a huge smile and a thumbs up. We bought the vehicle in August 2013,” the 45-year-old said.
“Actually, the first time we saw the van was January that year.
“We happened to watch as a tow truck drove into the back of it on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Heugh road. The back was completely wrecked.
“Then, in August we saw an advert in the paper selling the Microbus shell for R15 000.
“We got Eurocars to redo the body, Sports Trikes built a new engine then I did the wooden interior. We also had to import a few parts from Brazil and Europe.
“After a year and four months of work and R200 000 later the Microbus was complete.”
Together with the family’s weekend expeditions, Andre’s wife Taryn, 41, has found a profitable use for the iconic vehicle, affectionately known by the family as the “Surfwagen”.
“When we were at the shops or at the beach, we would often find little notes left in the bus asking whether we hire it out.
“Being a photographer, I saw a business opportunity. So we now hire out the bus for any function at R1 000 a hour,” Taryn said.
“And we also included wedding packages whereby the couple hire the bus and my photographic services.”
But, according to Andre, the biggest fans of the retro ride remain his daughters Summer, 9, and Tallulah, 7.
“We have three vehicles including the Microbus and every time we go anywhere the girls dart for the bus. They love everything about it – especially the new setup as we took out the original rows of seats and replaced these with seats in a circle around the surf board table.
Andre said: “If we were to sell the Microbus it would have to be for R500 000 or more, but I assure you that the decision rests with my girls. And in that case the Volksie is here to stay.”
The family can be contacted at email@example.com
-Tremaine van Aardt