Cartoon Themed VW Custom Microbus
While we were covering the NSRA Street Rod Nationals 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend we came across a VW Custom Microbus called Surf Seeker. It looked like something out of Toon Town, like it should be Roger Rabbit’s daily driver. We noticed that it is a real crowd pleaser. You just can’t stop looking at it.
The now famous cartoon themed Microbus was built by Ron Berry of St. George, Utah. He drew the concept, then built the custom designed bus out of real sheet metal. It is a marvel of custom fabrication to start with. But the fine details of the build are equally amazing. In an interview with Bob Boberg of eClassicAutos.com, Ron shows us the custom features built into this amazing automotive theme vehicle.
Surf Seeker became famous when Dennis Gage did a segment on Ron Berry’s 1965 VW Woody called Shorebreak and also debuted the Surf Seeker, his newer VW Custom Microbus, on his My Classic Car TV show. (Click here to see the My Classic Car TV show segment on You Tube. It has already been viewed over 2.5 million times.) Ron’s skill at drawing cartoon cars gave him the idea that he’d better build one. He felt the 23-window style is eye catching. He points out though that his bus actually has 24 windows. You willl note that the drip rail and the belt line are key VW identifiers. The VW emblem and headlight bezels on the “front door panel” are also exaggerated in size and proportion to the original look.
As wild and crazy as the cartoon themed design is on this Surf Seeker VW Custom Microbus, the custom equipment built into it by Ron are just as amazing.
The engine alone is a collector power plant built by the late Dick Landy. It is a 2275 cc VW engine with a B&M blower. It has really got some pick up. And, yes, this VW Custom Microbus does run and drive as good as it looks.
The whole chassis was set on a 72″ wheel base. He actually used a few of the original 1965 Volkswagen parts such as the steering gear, throttle mechanisms, trans axel and torsion bar suspension. The front end now uses a coil over suspension. The front end pops open with the key fob. In fact, the key fob actuator opens the Safari front windows, the rear engine valance and brings out the “wheelie bars” (which are actually skate boards.)
The trans axel has a 4.86 gear close ratio, and uses independent rear suspension. It has disc brakes. The 24″ Panther wheels are wrapped in 35″ Kumho tires.
Ron says it took him seventeen months to build the Surf Seeker.
The more you know about this VW Custom Microbus the lower your jaw drops. It occurs to us that much as we love the work done by artists and custom designers like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, our friend Ron Berry may someday be considered in the same sentence as other such legendary builders. This is truly some high quality custom work.