While its dimensions and weight might dissuade from turning their VW T1 Bus into a track toy, some love the shock value and the surprising potential the aging van holds. In this particular case, swapping a 1989 G50 gearbox and a Porsche flat-six in the rear of the Leichtbau van, then dousing it in a very thin (because thick paint is heavy) coat of powder blue turns many heads.
It’s a lightweight van that the owner, Nic, has spent years developing for quick laps at the Nordschleife. Despite it size and weight distribution, he’s managed to make it quite capable. It also enjoys a set of Porsche brakes and an altered VW 1303 rack and pinion. By adding this steering setup it lost 1.5 turn lock-to-lock, which made it much easier on the track but, as we can see, increased the physical effort required. Fortunately, Nic is in pretty good shape and has little difficulty adding the right amount of steering lock.
Direct steering is a real asset when the bus can reach almost 136 miles an hour through Schwedenkreutz (3:52), and even pull 115 miles per hour through the slaloming and compression of Fuchsröhre (4:20). To manage those speed while sitting five feet from the surface of the road requires real confidence in the car—err, bus.