Scott Penhaligon’s rat style 1963 VW Panel Van
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but that’s not always the case. Turn back to the above to this very feature, an image lovingly crafted by our talented, and somewhat good looking, snapper Laurens Parsons. In all probability it’s a picture that’s only really worth two words I’ll give you a clue, they start with an ‘F’ and end in an ‘uck me!’
You see, a picture like this is designed to evoke emotion, it’s designed to provoke that part of your brain that just can’t do anything but make you scream ìWOW!î It’s there to make your jaw unintentionally drop and your eye’s glaze over like some sort of prehistoric fella who’s just clapped eyes on a George Foreman Grill.
Of course, there’s an entirely unemotional, scientific explanation; it’s probably got more to do with apertures, exposures and photographic genius than actually setting fire to a workshop. I mean, all the fire doesn’t even have anything to do with the vehicle we’re featuring in the first place, it’s just an awesome image, but then again that’s the point.
It’s exactly the same thing with this crazy ‘63 Splitty created by air-cooled nut Scott Penhaligon; it’s the kind of ride that actually makes you go numb. There’s no denying a shit-load has gone into this particular 11-window panel van over the last 8-years or so; it’s a far cry from the days where, bizarrely, it was used as a Swedish school bus.
After owning a score of ‘interesting Beetles’ and a 69’ Dodge Monaco lowrider Scott started this epic project in 2003 and has completed most of the work himself. Judging by the massive spec, it’s no wonder this bare bones restoration has taken a few years too, and as for that crazy tubbed, trailer tent? We’re surprised it didn’t take a damn sight longer!
There’s plenty here you couldn’t really describe as mods in the first place; more like ‘epic engineering challenges.’ It is after all a VW Camper and, at this level of air cooled madness, nothing is strictly bolt-on. But then, if you don’t get it you just don’t get it, it’s not just a build, for Scott it’s an obsession.
The experimental polished lacquer that’s reapplied every year, the hand-painted red wall tyres that have to be re-done every few months, all the details that you wouldn’t even notice the first time round, it all adds up to a masterpiece born out of hard graft. But does any of that really matter?
The point of this Camper is far more simple, Scott has spent years crafting and perfecting his bus, yes it’s an engineering marvel and yes it makes him nothing short of a god in the car world but after all this, it’s not what he’s done or how he’s done it that’s important.
Like that opening image this ‘ACME Van’ is an emotional offering, like any work of art it’s about nothing other than how it makes you feel. Everything else, dear user, is irrelevant.
VOLKSWAGEN 1963 PANEL VAN
Outside stripped, chemical cleaned, polished and lacquered in home brewed super-satin; stainless Autocraft grilles; Lucas spotlights; Unity swiveling police light; Safety Star rear brake light; Schofields rear vent trims; Hurst style bar; OG Deluxe trim; Ally Deluxe top hinge covers; truck mirrors T-handle on rear hatch; modifi ed rear 4-leg HWE rack; polished front safaris; rear stainless safari; twin mount aerial; custom red fabric sun visor.
2007cc Nigel Alan lump; twin 40 DRLA carburettors; Webcon fuel pump; Flame Thrower coil; stainless steel sidewinder exhaust; Kennedy clutch; Scat swivel feet; Kennedy pressure plate; straight cut gears; Scat camshaft kit; Bug Pack Race Valve Covers; Fram oil filter setup with external cooler; 2600mm Porsche fan and alternator red painted engine bay.
Satin black 15-inch JGE Radar wheels, each pinstriped in red and white; Bravado 185/65×15 redband tyres (rear); hand painted red band 185/50×15 tyres (front); SPAX adjustable shocks; 4-inch narrowed Weedeater beam; 2.5-inch drop spindles; IRS rear with 1303s box chassis; Creative adjustable rear spring plates; steering box raised and column shortened; notched chassis ìhere and thereî; dual circuit remote servo brakes.
INTERIOR AND AUDIO
Empi Racing bucket seats; Mountney steering wheel with Independent Trucking centre cap; stock dash with aperture for Swedish ticket machine plated up; Scat quick shifter; Speedwell red lap belts; Sport Comp rev counter and shift light; Sunpro oil temp gauge; Alpine Media Expander, V12 and 4/3/2 amps and components; separate leisure battery.