Put like this, it seems like an easy wish for the Magi of the East, but the market is capricious and the demand for this type of model is very great. What was born as a work vehicle to transport materials inside the Wolfsburg factory in 1947, became a series product in 1956, today it is a very exclusive vehicle for which some collector can pay more than 300,000 euros, as happened at an auction in the United States.
The acceptance of the van was total in its origins due to its versatility, both for transporting goods and people. It was also adopted as a reference vehicle by subsequent generations. Almost 70 years have passed and the label of freedom is still attached to the image of the Volkswagen Bulli.
Pere Moyano had arrived in Palma de Mallorca at the age of 24 to begin practicing as an anesthetist. He had always had “a passion for classic cars and since I got married, when I was 28, for ‘vans’,” he confesses during the 19th FurgoVolkswagen Gathering at the La Ballena Alegra campsite in Sant Pere Pescador (Girona).
For a decade he dedicated himself to searching all kinds of national and international portals in search of his whim. “I searched and searched, but it was not until 2019 when I saw an advertisement from a person offering a T1 in Valencia,” he says. He called and all the answers to his requests, on the other end of the phone in the van, were affirmative.
Pere went to Valencia to see if it was the vehicle he had requested from the Kings ten years before. «What I found at the bottom of a ship was practically an iron skeleton of something that was once a ‘van’. Because I didn’t have it, I didn’t even have land.
It was a model manufactured in Germany for export to the United States and had been in Florida until its previous owner repatriated it to Valencia in 2016 with the idea of restoring it. But since arriving in the capital of Turia with the license plate of Jacksonville (Florida) it had been gathering rust.
Anyone else would have collapsed when they saw the state of the vehicle. However, Pere felt that this was the Bulli he had been pining for. He paid 20,000 euros for the iron pile and took it to her house in Cabo Salinas (Mallorca). “My idea was to restore it, sticking as closely as possible to the original spirit of the van, both outside and inside.” To recover its original splendor he turned to Jaime Lladó’s workshop, specialized in the restoration of this type of vehicles in Mallorca.
Pere took advantage of the pandemic to carry out all the electrical installation and insulation himself. However, the interior furniture was custom-made from an English cabinetmaker specialized in the design and manufacture of camper furniture for the Bulli.
Motor original de 34 CV
But in his obsession with being faithful to his origin, the details were very important, so much so that the locks became a challenge. He was looking for an original game in which all the doors of the vehicle could be opened with a single key. So he started searching and discovered a Mexican who made them.
It already had the interior recovered. The engine underwent a complete tune-up, but remains faithful to the original, with its 1,493 cc and 34 HP of power, which at most allows it to reach 90 km/h. He avoided doing like other fans who choose to install more powerful engines to be more agile on the routes.
The only whim that was allowed when breaking with the original was the color. She was clear, he wanted his model to be unique. He asked the tinker for a very special tone. He stood in the workshop with a photo taken from the window of his house. An image of the sea in front of Cape Salinas. “The tinker nailed it,” he points out while smiling as he looks at his bright turquoise blue vehicle.
In the end, to the 20,000 euros of the skeleton that he bought in Valencia, we must add everything he has invested in the restoration and fine-tuning, which was another approximately 45,000 euros. In total 65,000 euros for a unique piece that Pere Moyano does not plan to sell “not even for all the gold in the world.”
He has been driving his van around the island of Palma for a year, attending all kinds of gatherings. classic Volkswagen. His trip to the 19th FurgoVolkswagen Concentration that was held at the end of May in the Gulf of Roses was his first trip outside the island. But this is only the beginning. The next challenge for the renovated T1 is to walk the Camino de Santiago along the northern route, next to the Cantabrian Sea. A dream that will serve for the definitive baptism of ‘Pere-Grina’, the name that Pere has given to his Christmas gift that arrived a decade late.
Pere’s case is special, it is normal for fans to go directly to specialists like Jaime Lladó, who is dedicated to tracking down these types of vehicles in scrapyards or forgotten in garages to recover them and sell them. A van has come out of his workshop for which they have paid him up to 120,000 euros “without blinking an eye,” he says alongside a restored ‘van’ from 1956.