Splicing a ’59 VW Bus with an early Airstream trailer and a Subaru
Former professional glassblower Randy Grubb has been a well-known automotive artist ever since he sold his M47 Patton tank-engined Blastolene Indy Special to Jay Leno some fifteen years ago. Other Grubb creations followed since, including the V-12 “Falconer Dodici” inspired by 1937 Delahaye Type 145; “Piss’d off Pete,” based on a 1960 Peterbilt semi with a two-stroke diesel; the “Decoliner;” the “Decopod” series; and the vehicle that led to this Volkswagen build, Grubb’s two-story Magic Bus.
For this build, featured on the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Oregon’s biggest fan of polished aluminum took an eleven-window 1959 Volkswagen Kombi and upgraded it to a 23-window with a Safari windshield and the rotating front seats used by the delivery vans of the era. Apparently, all of these parts are available from aftermarket vendors these days, so any old bus can become a “23.”
Randy also made this bus longer at the rear by using layered sheets of polished aluminum to give it that early Airstream trailer look. Under all that shine is a 2.5-liter Subaru Boxer producing 160 horsepower, which makes this bus a whole lot faster than an original ’59. Other upgrades include a 1969 front end with the ball-joints, modern four-wheel disc brakes, and rack-and-pinion steering from the aftermarket parts bin.
The result? Contemporary speeds in a unique VW Bus with the largest sunroof, more glass than metal, a functional bed, and still plenty of cargo room for your camping equipment. Cruising at 70 mph all day long, this might just be Mr. Grubb’s most sensible build to date.