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  • ColeB
    Post count: 2632

    Damn! Super cool

    Post count: 2632

    133E95C5-6CB4-4FA4-B86D-97FA7AD56D82One of my fav BD pics

    Post count: 705

    ^^ local legend bus right there! He was a writer for our newspaper in town😎 still have a dream to find his bus tucked in someone’s stash haha

    John Jones
    Post count: 13384

    BD BINZ!!!! 😎

    Proud and Stubborn 👍🏻

    Post count: 583

    Barndoor bus builders are an insane bunch, especially this dude Ben over in the UK. Check out the projects he’s taken on, and surprisingly finished (with the exception of the Forest Bus and Duraclean, which are in progress). Hat’s off to him for getting these back on the road. https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=740643&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=712490&highlight= https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=644090&highlight= https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=468814 https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=463139&highlight=quality+sound

    Pete that first thread was crazy. People got some serious skills and $.

    Haven’t checked out the others but will do.


    Post count: 2632

    Saw this on FB like I’m sure some of you have. A sweet 54 with some amazing history is being restored and all of it’s history uncovered. It is a long read. But worth it. Some of the 100’s of Photos below as well.


    Im showing all the historic pics from my busses trip from Helsingborg to Ceylon and all the countries visited and back again. 65,250 km covered.Unless corrected this bus has the most exciting history of any VW Bus of all time that still survives ….. or dead…..with its complete documented full history.The bus left Helsingborg in March 1955 and returned in December 1956.The bus is being restored by Mark Spicer of Type 29 Ltd over the last 2 1/2 years. Mark Spicer has remade all the original equipment and much more. The bus has been returned to its original White paint that was hiding under the red and brown paint which was added in the1960’s. The bus will be finished very soon……😎😎😎😎The Bus is not just fully documented it has all the photographs of its journey through from September 29 1954 to 2021!!! literary 100’s of photos, including when it lived in the woods for 35years and was found by FBI Swansea in 2005 and brought to the uk.The bus should really be in a museum…….Four book were written about the trip and i have all four. i have translated one of the them which you can download on the busses face link here. I have condensed the parts of the book further down this page. https://www.facebook.com/VW-Barndoor-1954-Torgny-Sommeliuss-Bus-471188899701606/

    Bus History

    When I bought the bus it had no history at all.

    A mention had been made of a few photos of a white bus that had been posted on the internet may be mine.

    i noticed that a plate had been welded over a hole on the left of the rear window.

    This turned out to be the extra fuel tank filler pipe hole.

    Things slowly started to fall into place.

    The search started and with help from Martin Bergland on Facebook the amazing history of the bus started to unravel.

    it took 7 years to discover the history of the bus.

    I made contact with Torgny’s Family in 2014 who have helped so much discovering the amazing adventures the bus has been on with Torgny Sommelius at the helm.

    Torgny Sommelius was born on the 15th February 1928- and died on the 5th January 1963.

    Torgny bought the Vw bus on the 29th September 1954.

    The bus was sent Direct from the Wolfsburg VW plant by train to Torgny Sommelius’s home in Lund South of Helsingborg Sweden on the 29th September 1954 at a cost £875.00.

    He drove it to the camper conversion company Nillsson and Son Kurt. Karosserifabrik (Body Factory) In the Town Dalby Outside Lund Sweden.

    Cost of conversion £110.00

    Torgny started his trip and would be reporting his travel blogg back to the daily Dagblad newspaper in Helsingborg Sweden,where he worked as a travel journalist.

    His father Ove Sommelius owned the Dagblag newspaper .

    The trip started on March 1st 1955 and finished back in Helsingborg on 19th December 1956.

    The Vw bus had been driven from Helsingborg through Germany, Czechoslovakia Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan to India and back to Helsingborg a total of 65,250Km

    The Sweden-Ceylon-Sweden by road 58,000km. Was painted on the bus in Istanbul Turkey in October 1956 on the return leg of the trip.

    The Poor Vw bus was virtually destroyed on the trip through driving on unmade roads. Drive shafts breaking, shock absorbers bursting and having to be welded solid, then bursting again. Gearbox problem huge oil leaks engine problems. Brakes seizing up.

    A spring plate actually snapped and dug into the road catapulting in into the air. Terrible over heating problems.

    The bus was said to have been retired after the trip in late December 1956.

    It was parked up at his new home in Hittarp Helsingborg in December 1956 till 1963. It was rather battered and bruised after a huge gruelling distance covered.

    The first large lecture that took place in the Concert Hall in Helsingborg on April 9, 1957 The scrappy Volkswagen bus was displayed in front of the Concert House and was seen and impressed crowds. Thousands of helsingborg’s residents paid 2 kronor and 50 cents, equivalent to a normal cinema ticket, for the opportunity to listen to the city’s and HD’s famous son and see his pictures from the adventurous trip.

    In a photo from these events, Torgny stands with a microphone at the slide projector dressed in a suit and tie with dark- rimmed glasses, he looks like an excited James Dean.

    The crowd was so large that you had to double the first performance. A rerun was also held a few days later, on 16 April, also at the Concert Hall, with two sold-out stands, the last at 7 p.m., the second at 9 p.m. And another double position, in Maria parish hall on April 26.

    Four books written about the road trip.

    Den markvardiga resan hem -The Journey Home

    Bort Genom Asien – Away through Asia

    Bla Indian.

    Tomas Lofstrom Author of his biography Den sits resenaren (The last Traveller)

    The Bus was purchased in 1964 by Per Allan Vennergrund and Doris Vennergrund. The address was Blankas fäbodväg 7 in Järbo, about 60 km from Gävle. .

    They owned it from 1964-2001 The distance on the speedo was around 100,000 km.

    They left the bus abandoned on their property when it finally gave up and died.

    From the state of its condition when found in 2001 from photos taken it probably had stood there since the late 60’s.

    Eva Olsson Lars Lindberg bought the property with the bus still laying abandoned on it in 2001 -2005.

    The address was Blankas fäbodväg 7 in Järbo, about 60 km from Gävle.

    Johan Stenmark contacted me through Facebook.He told me he was 16 years old when he first came into contact with the bus. His best friend had the bus sitting derelict on the family property.

    Eva Olsson Lars Lindberg 2001 -2005

    He took the picture in 2001. His friends mum Eva Olson told him he could have the bus but unfortunately didn’t have the ability to take it home as he was only 16.

    He told me he removed the original spotlight that was mounted on the roof above the driver door.and that he still had it.

    He posted the spot light back to me.

    He also said he had a piece of side glass that he removed for his own bus but didn’t use.He has offered to meet up at some point and return it.

    Graham Clark FBI (dealer)from Swansea Wales imported the bus in 2005 sold it to Dai Watkins Swansea 2006-(a Barndoor enthusiast).no work had begun on the bus yet.

    Sold to Neil Bennett North Wales- No work had begun on the bus yet.

    Sold to Simon James from Portsmouth who bought the bus 2007

    Work done by Paul Wisk to put back on the road from 2007/ 2010. Friend of Simon James.100,000km – 108,000km

    He owned it for six years.

    I bought it in 2013. I was at the Barndoor campout out at Lydden Hill race circuit Kent. I was camping in my 58′ Panel (which I still have)and had been watching an advert for a 1954 Barndoor bus for a few weeks on The split screen van club. The price was getting lower and lower every week.i said to my Wife Tracy ‘’I wanna buy this.’’…. I was getting very excited especially as being with 17 other Barndoors!!

    After a few beers, I contacted the owner Simon James and I bought it blind, before I knew it I had sent a deposit.

    The deal was done.

    The following week I was driving home my Barndoor from Southampton to North London.

    I drove it around for 4 years and attended many Uk and European shows including Spa Belgium and The Ben Pon show ‘’The Barndoor gathering’’in Amersfoort Holland , Chimay to name just a few‘’

    I built a new 1641 engine and fitted it in 2015

    Here I met Mark Spicer of Type 29, the Barndoor restoring Guru…..in 2014.

    In 2018-2020 Mark Spicer agreed to help with the bus and remade and repaired all work previously carried out and restored the bus back to stock and the original conversion by Nilsson and Son in 1954.

    All red and brown paint removed to expose the original white. All panel work blended into existing white paint.

    The celebration sign writing Sweden-Ceylon-Sweden -By Road – 58,000KW was reinstalled on the front panel of the bus that was celebrated on Torgny’s return back in Helsingborg on the 19th December 1956.

    Mark fitted Factory soft sun roof with fake hard panels to mimic the original sliding roof.

    Extra fuel tank remade for the back shelf.

    Four corner towing points remade. Front ones fitted behind the bumper.

    Original front of roof spotlight refitted.

    I now have over 100 photos taken by Torgny Sommelius during is 65,250km road trip.


    For those who just want to read about the bus that drove 65,250km from Sweden to Ceylon and back in 1955/56 in the book ive cut and pasted just the exciting bits. Its amazing it got home at all…!!

    Page 222/223

    The beginning.

    The car is delivered by rail to Helsingborg in septcmber 1954: a split- terny, unpainted Volkswagen bus model 55 — Volkswagen Kombi, 30 horsepower — from Volkswagen-Werke in Wolfsburg, West Germany. Dof- tande of rubber tyres, oil, metal, adventure. Price: SEK 9,800, including excise duty (which was some kind of tax charge). ” 2 Registration number: M 17945.

    She was standing there unvarnished, undecorated, unequipped. She was a gray tin box with ten glazing, four wheels and engine in the back. But she was the embryo of my home for a long time to come. For six months at least. I was full of deeds about the transformation: a home out of the cargo hold’s few cubic meters. I heard my fingers over the dashboard. Then I turned the ignition key. For the first time, I pressed the start button. The first trip together. Journey to wagon builder Nilsson in Dalby.

    Wagon builder Nilsson and his son Kurt at Dalby Karosserifabrik outside Lund are equipping and rebuilding the VW bus for SEK 1,200.

    Tramway rails in the bumpers, framed and reinforced with fully welded tow hooks bolted on the beams front and rear, protective plates under the front car (steering shell) and engine, oil temperature meter, double petrol filters, extra petrol tank (80 liters) over the engine (which of course in the Volkswagen bus sits at the rear), water tank over the left rear wheel, plexiglass door in the ceiling, all sorts of spare parts and compass and indoor thermometer, car radio (used Zenith, 1937, medium wave only), extra headlights (search lights and reversing lights), extra horns, extra spare wheel, extra battery (serially coupled), extra electrical outlet, burglar alarm.

    Insulated masonite walls in the space with, detachable interior window- hatch, bunk with foam mattress from Trelleborg’s Rubber factory, wall-mounted, collapsible table with Perspex disc. The bus is painted white. The room is painted red, the windows get green curtains. But “no gas

    Fridge, no bookcase, no bar and no concrete paintings on the walls.” 4 The car, the travel goods and (under Torgny itself are

    one year, the most technical, 1955).
    Torgny buys a Hasselblad camera with normal lens 2.8/85

    mm and telephoto lens 5.6/250 mm for 2 700 SEK and 250 rolls of black and white film Ilford FP3 and 20 rolls sheep film Ilford HP3 (including developing) for SEK 1,215. kronor.

    Tropic equipment: 500 SEK. ’44

    In addition, the guitar, Uncle Ivan’s revolver,’ 4′ Birgitta’s rubber baton and a travel pharmacy with morphine, various prescription tablets and medications and a sizeable set of scalpels and other surgical tools, the whole sat written by big sister Barbro who now had a medical degree.

    Torgny postpones the departure time and time again with various pretexts, but on March 1, 1955, he finally leaves Helsingborg, drives south to Trelle- borg and takes the ferry over to Sassnitz in East Germany in grey late winter weather. In the travel diary, one of these worn-out collegiate blocks with irregularly kept notes, I find this first note:

    On the boat
    Why am I leaving?
    Will I ever come back? Light is light.
    Learn: not to be afraid to be alone. Farewell phone terror. . . . to travel alone. . . .

    PAGE 255

    The bus is repaired at the VW workshop, the last brand workshop before Colombo on Ceylon (because Karachi is off the route). New mounts for the gearbox, new discharge bearings, new front springs, the protective terminal underneath removed as it prevented the cooling of the engine.

    PAGE 267 – 268

    Torgny himself takes two passengers, two French girls, Jacqueline and Juliette, from a party whose wrecked Peugeot has no shock absorbers left and therefore cannot tolerate such heavy loads on such bad roads. They eventually catch up with another foreign VW bus that crawls at a speed of 10 km/h.


    A few kilometres after Sarai Khwaia, a village of perhaps a thousand inhabitants, it happened.

    The blast from the rear axle!
    It felt like a grenade hit the car, the steering wheel was

    dancing in my hands, the brakes were locking, the car was coming over.

    “O,” said Juliette.

    It was the most serious incident involving the VW bus, an injury that would, by all accounts, make the continuation of the journey impossible. With the knowledge Torgny had, he immediately realised the breadth of it all.

    In the book he tries to describe: The Volkswagen bus has individual rear suspension/rear wheel-drive; from two torsion rods, the spring arms hold up each part of the differential .. . It was the left spring arm blade that failed. Spare parts of this kind were available as far as Torgny did not even know at the brand workshop in Karachi, Pakistan, and in any case there was no workshop in sight. The car couldn’t be dislodged. The spring arm ends had drilled themselves into the roadway and the wire to the handbrake had been pulled by itself and locked.

    Afganistan is the land where goat’s milk is poured into the gearbox, dense per-formed gasoline tanks with dried camel droppings. I had learned the universality of the gum, the patch and the wire. But hang up 1,250 kilos in steel wire and then try to drive on an Afganian country road.

    In the book Torgny recounts the event as a good story, but there and then he must have been utterly heartbroken, broken down, abandoned. After a number of hours passes by pure chance the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Finance in a Russian car on his way to Sharikar. His chance for succeeding against all odds to get the VW bus up on two jacks and remove the broken spring arm blade. They take it with them to try to get the rupture welded in Sharikar.

    Pobedan returns late in the night, and despite the darkness and lack of proper tools with the feat to assemble, the welded feather arm blade is made.

    Torgny and Henri resume the journey, with various Afghan passengers who have appeared out of nowhere, overnight in Sharikar, the next mother continues despite the risk of running out of petrol (the bus now draws 1.8 liters/ mile instead of the VW advertising promised 0.85)

    Page 273

    An unlikely jazz trumpet in the car radio “emits brass signals over the instrument lighting”. Saxophones, trombones. “We listen as if we’ve picked up signals from Mars.” In fact, the VW bus’s simple old Zenith device, against all odds, has managed to get Radio Moscow into its medium-wave band.

    Page 307

    So, finally: crossing to Ceylon.
    Torgny drives to the VW workshop in Colombo, the first branded

    city since Tehran, and asks them to take out the engine and axel box and go through everything.

    It’s April 26, 1956.

    “I couldn’t bear to think about the long journey home, that I was only half- way

    page 311

    The VW bus is fixed at the workshop.
    He drives to the southern tip of Ceylon, Dondra Head, the turning

    point of the journey. It is 2 May 1956, fourteen months since he left Sweden. The road meter shows 45,115 115 km.

    How many nights had I pulled the hatch of the car roof, covered the opening with the mosquito net, pumped out a cloud of DDT, turned on the fan and fell asleep while I still clutched a wet sponge over my chest. I had woken up under a banyan tree among chat-chatter-chat- chat . . . with the gear lever . . . out through the protected safe area, through the arbor of high-masted coconut palms that joined their crowns high above me and the sunlight to the same green light found in an aquarium. The return journey had begun.

    On the same day, May 2, 1956, Katja sits at home on Drottninggatan in Helsingborg and writes to her son.

    herd of baboons, a sore white dog and a pilgrim who on his way to Benares squatted and dug into a watermelon. But I had also woken up in the tree at the temple ruins in Survaya and seen the peacocks walking through the dry but tall grass that had just engulfed the moon.

    I turned the key in the ignition, pressed the start button . . .

    Page 312

    chat-chatter-chat- chat . . . with the gear lever . . . out through the safe area to camp, through the arbor of high-masted coconut palms that joined their crowns high above me. The sunlight was the same green light found in an aquarium. The return journey had begun.

    On the same day, May 2, 1956, Katja sits at home on Drottninggatan in Helsingborg and writes to her son.

    Page 313

    But the VW bus is protesting, despite the fact that it has undergone a complete revamp at the workshop in Colombo. Something crackles and crackles in the rear car and when Torgny unscrews the bolt in the gearbox filler hole and inserts the finger, there is no oil but “a doughy silvery mass”. “Ground metal grains and large metal splinters of metal grains

    metal sands.”

    Page 346

    Crossing the border into Iran, beyond Quetta, at Mirjaveh.
    Then Zahedan.
    Travel diary: “Sand sand sand. Sandstorm. The car: the front-ups

    completely kaput. The front car almost touches the front wheels. In addition, bearing or bushing kaput in the gearbox, the main drive. But further .. . Dust dust dust. Chew sand, sand between your teeth.”

    After Zahedan, the gearbox starts banging, a new sound: the pin-pin- pin instead of the metallic rattles from India. Torgny crawls under the car and pours oil with a teaspoon into the filling hole while the sandstorm wines.

    After Barn collapses the front car down, in Kerman the tail lights and main beam have gone out, all the wires come loose in the junction box. Back out into the desert, one shock absorber bursts, welded firmly in Rafsingar.

    And again he drives unconsciously: “Drive as I learned, sleep while the odometer changes numbers, explores another world, another desert, a landscape that gives fresh rain.

    Page 347

    Tehran. “Days of torment and pain.” Again severe stomach problems. Car scarred, sore. The engine rattles and rattles. The oil leaks,

    the crankshaft strikes here and there, can be cracked at any time. Mr. Geduldig at the VW workshop in Tehran condemns the car as scrap, the only possibility is to change the engine. Torgny decides to try anyway, for time reasons, and because he doesn’t want to borrow money from the embassy.

    Page 363

    The exhibition at the end of the trip.

    The crowd was so large that you had to double the first performance. A rerun was also held a few days later, on 16 April, also at the Concert Hall, with two sold-out stands, the last at 7 p.m., the second at 9 p.m. And another double position, in Maria parish hall on April 26.

    The scrappy Volkswagen bus was displayed in front of the Concert House and was seen to have impressed crowds. Thousands of helsing residents happily paid 2 kronor and 50 cents, equivalent to a normal cinema ticket, for the opportunity to listen to the city’s and HD’s famous son and see his pictures from the adventurous trip.”



    Post count: 970

    Great story !

    Post count: 5403

    TDI in a barndoor is badass!!!! Thats why VW made the engine bay so tall. 🙂

    I wonder if a new crate Cummins would fit?


    Post count: 2632

    Seeing Kempes with a tdi and slammed made my heart hurt… 😢

    Post count: 5403
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