AN EPIC SCORE!
A day in November back in 2015, The Samba was hot. Palms were sweating and anxiety was running high when the '61 Double door kombi was posted up for sale on The Samba!
A rare double door kombi matched with a price that made you question, "Was this just another overseas scam?"
We all knew it would be gone by the end of the day. Most VW fans would consider it to be the steal of the year. Our group of friends all knew what Mike was looking for, and I think he got the idea when his phone was blowing up with links to that ad from all of us.
Mike was at work at the time and it was a weekday holiday which meant no banks were open. When Mike called the owner, he was informed that he would not hold the bus for anyone. At that, Mike immediately left work to meet up with Ryan Lowther, owner and fabricator at Demon Motorsports. They made the trek to beat the crowd who were trying to get their hands on this bus. Mike and Ryan were the first to arrive, upon arrival the owner states he was holding the bus for some woman... Let's talk about severe anxiety...
The owner, Mike, and Ryan gave this person an extra bit of time to make it. From my understanding, because of some car failures, they were unable to make it and Mike acquired the bus. From there it was trailered straight to Demon Motorsports for it's big make over!
Demon Motorsports is well known for top quality custom automotive work. From tube frame chassis, full roll cages, custom intakes, off road set ups, drag racing, and his revolutionary Hydraulic suspension system!
We all know Ryan's passion is in the air cooled Volkswagen's as his daily driver is a '64 bus with his hydraulic suspension system! At this point, Mike's Double Door Kombi has been dubbed #juiceddoubledoor as it would be getting Demon Motorsports revolutionary Hydraulic suspension system, far superior than anything air ride could ever offer. I'm sure that's a hard one to swallow for some of you but keep reading it gets even better, trust me!
THE SHAKE DOWN!
First things first, the bus needed a good cleaning out! The floors were full of who knows what. I'm going with decades of tree debris, prehistoric animal nests, and other offerings from mother nature as well as things I'm sure we are better off not knowing!
After the first stage weight loss of about 150 lbs the next step of moving forward was to remove the bus of all it's suspension, engine, and drivetrain. The rear cargo tray was completely gone, it had rotted out along with the front and rear passenger floors. A donor rear cargo section was found and used to replace the missing cargo tray. The front and rear passenger floors were removed and each individual factory spot weld was ground down smooth along with any additional metal work prep for New floors.
Rockers on both cargo doors were replaced with new rockers. The new rear passenger floors were installed in the same fashion as factory floors with well over 500 tig welded spot welds! At this point forward A LOT of custom fabrication was due as Mike wants his bus laying frame! No exceptions!
Since Mike's bus will be fully equipped with Demon Motorsports Hydraulic suspension system, now is a good time to put an emphasis on this!
The front hydraulic setup consists of a full hydraulic beam which bolts right in. The cylinder is mounted off center, because of the steering center pin on buses. However, the adjustment is internally cantilevered and actually twists from the center and not off center.
The hydraulics are used to turn the torsions to your desired height, leaving you with all of your factory spring rate and ride comfort without sacrificing the ride quality.
The rear hydraulic system is box framed with square tubing and will only install one way. Its design is thoroughly thought out and so brilliant it's almost fool proof!
The setup mounts inline with the center of the torsion housing. You must cut out the center section of the torsion housing and proceed with installation procedures. The rear setup is the same concept as the front with regards to ride quality.
The hydraulic cylinder is used to turn the torsions to adjust to your desired ride height while, again, maintaining your stock ride spring rate and comfort!
THE DEMON MOTORSPORTS HYDRAULIC DIFFERENCE
In our closing remarks on Demon Motorsports hydraulic suspension system, it's brilliant, reliable, and far superior than anything air could ever offer.You can't even put them in the same category.
How can I speak so confidently of the hydraulic system? Because, I have the prototype production kit in my Ghia and I've had a partial air setup prior to the transition that I had no intentions of going further with.
The hydraulic system runs off the same, single, battery the car does. It's not designed to hop and bounce like the traditional ways of building a hydraulic car. On a bus, the pump mounts right in the rear engine compartment. On Type 1 VW's the pump mounts under the rear seat.
There are no air leaks, no noisy compressor(s), no waiting to fill tanks, let alone any air tanks to deal with. No holes cut into your front cargo space for a bag set up, which would leave no room for a spare tire. The hydraulic beam bolts in no cutting required, no inconsistent air pressures, etc!
MAKING IT MIKES
With a full hydraulic suspension and laying frame being the ultimate goal, the extensive custom fabrication starts! The new front floors had to be modified for the steering box raise. The spindles are flipped which makes them 3.5", then they are cut and raised up another 2" so there is a total of a 5.5" drop spindles for the extreme low!
You can't go low without a pair or custom wheel tubs! With front and rear disc brakes the rear is converted to IRS suspension with a 2.25" raise of the trailing arms and custom built rear wheel tubs for clearance. The transmission cross-member was cut, flattened out, and reinforced.
With the rear wheel tubs the fuel filler tube and gas tank hole had to be rerouted around the wheel tubs. Extensive rust repair was needed as well and included the roof, which was rusted out all along the rain rails and not even attached in several places.
It was important for Mike to maintain the integrity of the original look of the bus and not lose that appeal. Panels were fabricated to fit the contour of the roof and rain rails on the inside roof section, then panel bonded to the sections of the roof.
Every window frame needed metal work as the window frame structure on the body had rusted out long ago. All the existing rust was cut away and new frame sections were fabricated to look as great as it would from the factory! There were hundreds of hours of work put into the bus!
In final, the Demon Motorsports Team nailed this build! Mike took delivery of his bus on March 8, 2017 and has been driving it since! We all met up to do some random location shooting and many hours of cruising around town! I'm confident to say the bus is beyond expectations and Mike is thoroughly enjoying his #juiceddoubledoor