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Aircooled Magazine Car Publication

May 20, 2016
7 minutes read
Wisconsin Westy

In the June 1997 dated issue of the VW magazine, we featured a heavy and beautiful Seagull Grey Single Cab bus, which was owned by Brian Holcomb, our from Johnson Creek in the flat old Wisconsin, which he called called the “Happiness is Being Single.” Now, Holcomb’s dad, named Connie, who owns a cool VW repair facility in Watertown, Wis., area, featured his perfect ’53 Oval featured in the September 1998 issue (“Wisconsin Wunder”). These two guys are responsible for some of the nicest vintage restorations ever to come out of the Wisconsin area.

When the feature on Holcomb’s Single Cab was written, Holcomb himself was, indeed, single, just like the cab of his Type II Transporter. Well, since that time, a few things have changed. Holcomb met a lovely young lady named Dawn, who has since become Holcomb’s bride.

To reflect this change in lifestyle, Holcomb began searching for a more suitable Type II and found what he wanted on July 19, 1999, in Fond Du Lac, Wisc. Owned, at the time, by Holcomb’s friend Adam Stone, this 1963 Westfalia was what Holcomb called a “disassembled heap.” about magazine car publication car and driver

Holcomb brought the carcass back to his dad’s shop and began the disassembly. When Holcomb had removed everything he could, he took the shell to Tim at Strip-It to be media blasted, inside and out. Holcomb then took the bare metal shell to Watertown Collision, where Wyatt Wandersee and his crew Vance Hull and Freddy Yunto went to work. By March 17, 2000, the Westy was straightened out and sporting a fresh coat of PPG urethane L-87 Pearl White. During this time, Brian, Dawn, and Connie had been busy refurbishing the drivetrain and interior, so when Holcomb brought the car back to Connie’s shop, everything was ready for reassembly.

Matt Soiney re-did the wiring harness, while Brian and friend tackled the brakes, trans install, front beam and door reassembly. All the weatherstripping came from Wolfsburg West, in Anaheim, Calif. The front seat upholstery is courtesy of Lenny Copp at West Coast Classic Restoration, in Fullerton, Calif. The interior was, thankfully intact, so all it really needed was a good sanding and an application of Minwax semi-gloss varnish.

Brian’s mother in law, Paula Nordby, even got into the act, with the installation of the carpeting. The rubber mats are from Wolfsburg West, as are the front interior panels.

The engine was built from a replacement 40hp case; the one with replaceable cam bearings, larger oil pickup and dual -oil pressure relief valves and the larger oil cooler holes. Knowing that he was going to drive this Bus, Brian opted to utilize a Type IV oil cooler, in a modified 40-horse fan shroud. Holcomb was fortunate enough to locate an NOS Okrasa 69.5mm, counterweighted, stroker crank, along with some 82.5mm Mahle pistons, to give the old 40 horser a little more oomph to move the Bus down the road. An Engle 110 cam move the valves in the Gene Berg Enterprises-modified heads, which now utilize 1600 valves.

Power is transmitted to the ground via a Rancho Performance Transaxles’ 1965 stock Bus trans with a 4:12 ring and pinion. All re-chroming was performed by Jeff Woodall ( a.k.a. “Woody”), a fellow D.B.G. member and proprietor of L&W Lamps in Barrington, Ill.

In May 2000, just a scant 45 days after the bare body shell was transported to the Holcomb garage, the Bus was ready for its maiden voyage. True to Brian and Connie’s expertise, the trip was made with absolutely no glitches or mishaps. The first long trip was also in May 2000, with a 900 mile round trip to the Michigan Vintage VW Clubs annual event. The Bus performed flawlessly and averaged 25 miles per gallon of fuel.

Since then, Brian and Dawn have logged more than 7000 miles on this Westy, showing that they are not afraid to drive this Bus anywhere they want to. Holcomb has been taking a lot of awards with this freshly-finished Bus, and if you were to see this Westy in person, you would know that he deserves them.

Of course, he would like to thank a number of people: Matt and Andy Soiney, Chris Walsh, Jeff Woodall, Chris Follmer, Billy Knudson, Chris Pinkall, Joe Mond and Arian and Bridgette Bagwell, all members of the D.B.G. Bus club, played an important role in the resurrection of this Type II. Brian would also like to thank Mom and Dad Holcomb for the use of their shop and Dad Connie for his years of expertise, and helping Brian learn the secrets of “making this fit.” Holcomb would also like to thank Adam Stone for letting him buy the Westy in the first place, and last but certainly not least, he would like to thank his wife Dawn, who not only kept the checkbook in check, but for getting right in there and getting dirty with the rest of the crew.

We here at VW Trends can’t help but wonder what will be the next amazing VW to roll out of the Holcomb garage. Rumor has it, that there is an early Split-Window Beetle hiding in the garage at Connie’s shop…

Article Source: vwtrendsweb.com


Aircooled Magazine is the premier online magazine dedicated to Volkswagen Cars, News, Reviews, Tech, Tutorials, and more. Our publication is completely free to use and is brought to you by VW owners and enthusiast with a passion for the Volkswagen brand. We offer the latest news and reviews of models as well as information about the car world in general.

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