There’s nothing wrong with building a car for a specific, niche market, especially if that market has money to burn. Sbarro, for example, has the wealthy falconer market all wrapped up. This heavily customized Volkswagen Microbus, though, is targeting a market I wasn’t aware existed: wealthy Back to the Future fans who feel the DeLorean should have been a VW Bus.
It looks like that very specific market has at least one perfect client, Carolina Panthers cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who our pals at Deadspin called “the NFL’s biggest asshole.” I really have no idea about what sort of scale of asshole he may or may not be, in the NFL or otherwise, but he did contract BLVD customs to make this Back to the Future-themed Microbus, so I suppose there’s at least one thing about the guy I can say I like.
Now, the Microbus is no stranger to Back to the Future; the Lybian terrorists who unwittingly bankrolled Doc Brown’s time travel experiments drove around in and fired guns from a very well-kept 1975 bus, with a nice big set of driving lights, I guess to make it easier to aim while you’re shooting at time machines out of the large sunroof.
Still, I can’t recall ever hearing anyone say anything like “why isn’t the DeLorean a VW Type 2?” ever before, but that seems to be the main motivating force in the life of whoever built this particular bus.
I mean, there’s some good arguments to be made for a Microbus as a time machine over a DeLorean: it’s got room for at least six more passengers to travel back in time, so that’s a pretty big perk. Plus, Microbuses were in production far longer than DeLoreans, allowing the car to blend reasonably well in decades from the 50s and up; that’s a good 30 years more than the DeLorean, plus parts availability is way, way better.
On the downside, without some pretty significant modifications, the 53 HP 1500cc engine in a ‘67 bus isn’t going to get to 88 MPH, which means no time travel at all. If you’re someone who’s concerned about preserving timelines and avoiding paradoxes, that may be a good thing, but if you’ve just dropped a shitload of cash into flux capacitor development, then this is clearly a vote for the DeLorean, or, really, any number of other cars that can comfortably crest that magic 88 MPH.
Whoever did the work on this Type 2 did do a great job, at least based on the pictures. The gullwing-door modification looks particularily well-done and couldn’t have been easy.
The stainless-steel wrap with black trim is clearly a reference to the stainless steel DeLorean, but even without any BTTF reference, it makes for a pretty striking looking vintage Microbus, especially with the contrasting bright-citrus interior upholstery.
The dash has a full set of time machine controls, to the right of a speedo that doesn’t even pretend to go up to 88 MPH. There’s a (presumably) fake Flux Capacitor on the divider between the cockpit and the main cabin; the other side of this custom bulkhead has a good-sized LCD monitor on it.
What I don’t quite get is if this person was trying to make a Microbus version of the BTTF time machine, why didn’t they go all out and include the ductwork and lights and coolant lines and all of that other stuff the actual DeLorean had? I mean, after making gull-wing doors for a Microbus, how much harder would that have been?
Looking in the engine bay, maybe this thing can hit 88 MPH after all, since the chrome-slathered motor looks to be a dual-port engine with twin carbs. Maybe it’s uprated to 2000cc or so, with a hotter cam? There’s no information on the ad, but if so, hell, maybe this could hit that legendary 88 MPH? Downhill?
Look, it’s a lovely Microbus. It’ll stand out, no problem. And prices for these have been going nuts. I’m not sure it’s worth it to everyone, but somewhere out there is a BTTF freak who also has a passion for old air-cooled VWs and interiors that feel like early ‘60s fast food joints. Right now, that person should be delighted.
Unless they don’t have $150 large to throw around. In that case, they’re probably miserable.