Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

An icon gets a fresh new look

It’s a vehicle with cult status, style and charm. For over 65 years, the T-range Volkswagen camper van has represented a certain way of life. Whether it was as a hippie’s dream, a surf shack, a faithful family mainstay or a tradesmen’s workhorse, the Volkswagen camper van gained fans from all walks of life. Now, Spies Hecker has restored a T2 in gleaming red and white as a brand ambassador.

The restoration of the VW Bulli, built in 1979 and imported from Texas, USA, was a project that presented the Spies Hecker experts with quite a few challenges. But with Spies Hecker’s Classic Car paint guide at hand, they had access to the right system information.

“The first step in the restoration consisted of sanding the old paintwork and the rust right down to the bare metal. We also carried out abrasive blasting on body parts that are particularly tricky on the T2, such as the sunroof box and the ventilation openings. It was critical to pre-treat the substrate very carefully and to make sure it was free of any residue. This helped to ensure the substrate would provide the basis for good corrosion protection and help us to achieve a durable finish, faithful to the original, in the historic Spies Hecker design,” says David Kukies, Spies Hecker technical service, Germany.

“Before doing the putty work, the entire body was primed with Priomat Wash Primer 4075 and we filled all surfaces with Permasolid HS Performance Filler 5320 in two spray passes,” he explains.

Impressive body shape
The Bulli stands out largely because of its characteristic lines, in particular its rounded body shape. In order to reconstruct this accurately, after application of Raderal IR Premium Putty 2035 was used and dry sanding, small irregularities were coated with Raderal primer filler 3508.

“Our refinishers were passionate about paying attention to achieving outstanding results even for the smallest detail. After further dry sanding, they applied another layer of Permasolid HS Performance Filler 5320. In order to achieve the best possible insulation, putty areas should be coated with three layers of filler, which makes it possible to achieve a dry coat thickness of at least 80µm after sanding,“ Kukies says.

High quality topcoat systems and professional craftsmanship
Then, the Spies Hecker team applied Permahyd Hi-TEC 480 followed by Permasolid HS Clearcoat 8055. As an alternative for vintage cars, Permasolid HS Automotive Top Coat 275 can be applied in a single coat or Permahyd Basecoat 280/285 as two coats in combination with Permasolid HS Clearcoat. In order to give the Bulli an optimal surface finish and outstanding gloss, a second coat of Permasolid HS clearcoat was applied after the first clearcoat layer had fully hardened and been sanded down.

A real icon
On this restoration of the T2 campervan, attention to detail, craftsmanship and specific product systems achieved a sustainable result. “We have worked hard to achieve such an outstanding result,” Kukies says. Spies Hecker’s logo appears on the Bulli in typical 1970s style. The VW T2 campervan will be used as brand ambassador at plant and trade fair visits in Germany and neighbouring countries.

Joachim Hinz, Brand Manager Spies Hecker Europe, Middle East and Africa, says: “This example of our craftsmanship will quite literally carry Spies Hecker’s products and passion to our customers.”