The VW Type 147 Fridolin is a bit of a curiosity; not cool enough for most classic car and van restorers, who tend to stick to the Type 1 beetle and Type 2 Camper, and so largely unheard of by many.
But Ruud Janssen wasn’t going to let minor details like these deter him. Ten years on from his initial idea and with his wallet £26,000 (35,000 Euros) lighter, Ruud has revealed to the world a pretty stunning customization of the humble Volkswagen Type 147 post van.
The Fridolin never had the longevity of the Campervan or Beetle, having only survived in the Volkswagen roster for ten years from 1964 until 1974, so naturally there are fewer of them around – just over 200 of the 6,000 produced left, in fact. Luckily the Dutchman had the engineering ability and skills to work around the small issue of parts availability.
Ruud jumped in at the deep end and learnt how to weld over the ten years of restoring the van; allowing plenty of time to recover from any mistakes.
With plans to increase the pretty basic stock VW horsepower of 34hp to 450bhp, it soon became apparent that the chassis might need some modification. So Ruud decided to build his own chassis from scratch.
Of course, a bespoke chassis frees up all sorts of aesthetic possibilities, and as any restorer will know, wheels can complete the transformation putting a final polish on all that hard work.
Ruud obtained his wheels early in the project, opting for an in-your-face American Racing Torque Thrust II wheel-set. It makes sense to think about wheels at the outset of course, especially if you are going for a total rebuild; this meant that Ruud could now fine-tune his chassis plan, ride height and suspension to accommodate his new wheels perfectly.
The chassis is key to the whole project. A pair of Type 14 Karmann Ghia chassis halves were attached to the original central spine with a spaceframe roll cage supporting the rear of the vehicle.
Wheel and suspension parts were donated from a Ford Granada, Audi R8, Opel Mantra and an Audi A6 along with Brembo calipers on Audi RS4 discs for stopping power.
An Audi A6 gearbox (six speed) was used to get the vehicle moving smoothly through the gears. Not only does the VW 6 litre Touareg engine produce 450bhp, but it also pack and incredible 442ft.lbs torque, which would probably have left the engine on the road behind him without the addition of the uprated chassis…
The Type 147 is low to the ground and set up perfectly for racing, with Recaro Kevlar and carbon Pro Racer seats and a fully adjustable suspension set-up thanks to adjustable Avo shocks.
All this power flows through a custom-built stainless steel exhaust system and Magnaflow mufflers and the whole vehicle is encased in Porsche brown paint which sits over a Candy White bottom half.
Ruud has built a stunning vehicle that, apparently, actually handles pretty well too, thanks to the extra effort and thought being put into the way the Fridolin connects with the road.
Images/details thanks to volksworld.com and supervwmag.com
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