This Old Half


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Jun 24, 2023

This Old Half

Related Video The 2023 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is still young, but one

Related Video

The 2023 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is still young, but one of the early stars of the Florida classic car show far has been this fabulous '60s Volkswagen Type 2 Bus, which was converted into an Alpine-ready half-track and restored by the company's commercial vehicle's division.

Dubbed the "Fox," this safety orange half-track started life as a run-of-the-mill Type 2 before Austrian inventor Kurt Kretzner got his hands on it in the mid '60s. Seeking a way to reliably get skiers, tradespeople, and waitstaff up into Austrian mountain resorts, Kretzner added two extra axles to the bus. The front two are steering axles, each fit with a limited-slip differential and dual-wheels, while the two rear axles feature 13-inch tires wrapped in aluminum and rubber tracks of Kretzner's own design. Like conventional four-wheeled Buses, the sole drive wheels on the half-track are the rears.

Today's Volkswagen engineers say that the half-track bus is a blast to drive, though they say the second-steering axle tends to get bogged down from mud and snow that piles up between the two front axles. They also say it is hilariously slow; with its 1.2-liter flat-4 producing just over 33 horsepower, German authorities have limited the Fox to just 22 mph (hence the "35 km" placard on its rump). Not that you'd want to go much faster than that; the ride at 22 mph was described by one VW engineer to us as "rough."

The Bus half-track, one of three known to exist, will be on display at Amelia Island all weekend alongside fellow Type 1 buses and the new 2024 Volkswagen ID Buzz, as part of the "Transporter Class."