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Delzy

Delzy from front right

"What kind of stupid name is that?", one might ask. But in contrary to Uncle Gerbelmann, who only has this name since I've owned him, Delzy's nickname is almost as old as he is.

Update: Delzy has been given away to an unknown fate. I decided to concentrate what limited resources I have on Uncle Gerbelmann, who is currently undergoing a technical overhaul and is scheduled to be back on the road and street-legal Real Soon Now [tm]. This page will be redone when Delzy's fate is clear.

Once upon a time in 1974, the plumber Trittin of Delmenhorst (a small town near Bremen, Germany) was delivered this then-new, garbage-truck-orange, walkthrough Kombi without rear seats. The number plate it had then (and still had when I bought it from them in 2001) was DEL-ZY 51. And that's where the name comes from: it already was on the van, that's why.

Delzy from rear left As you can see, the van led a harder life than Uncle Gerbelmann, who has been babied all his life. Delzy had the according blemishes, and still has them. There won't be much change to the rather rough look either in the foreseeable future: this is my daily driver bus, and it's there to haul what there is to haul, to collect mud in its wheel arcs, to destroy 3-series BMWs with the rare rubber trim on its bumpers (been there, done that), and to rub its flanks on shrubberies. Or on museum doorways, which is where the dents in the sliding door came from. Sigh.

Apart from the rubber trim, the only notable options are vent windows in the front doors and a clock. The rest of the van is bare as Hannover created it, save for the rather homely self-made interior of course, which I was able to salvage and re-install. Yes, you can sleep in it. No, not without a hurting back. That's why it will not stay like this, I've already bought a Westfalia folding rear bench seat to go in it. But the working look shall stay, outside and in – this will not become just another self-made camper!

The body's substance is rather worse than I'd wish for. This van contains quite a lot of bondo and lead sheetmetal (!), but then it did survive not only 30 years of everyday commercial service, but all its successors as well (Ford Transit and various Japanese vans). They all went to the junkyard when Trittin plumbing closed business in 2000, with only Delzy to survive.

Mechanically, the van is comparably sound, even though its engine blew up on me recently due to sudden oil leaking. It wasn't really fast anyway with its 50 bhp and that roofrack, especially not since the engine seemed rather tired from day one. Maybe it'll get a little more complacement on rebuilding. Or maybe a Diesel engine? We'll see.

The mileage on the day of the engine's death was something like 75,000 or so. I don't know exactly, because the odometer was shot when I bought the van. Doesn't matter either – at least it was the original engine that was in there, and it will be rebuilt, not replaced, if that's still possible at all. The only changes I made so far are the dent in the sliding door, the trailer hitch, and the sink drain cleaner on the roofrack which serves as a beacon for spotting the van from afar. (As if it'd need that :-)

Those of you who know my preference for working cars may already expect that this one might not stay as neutral as it is now. That feeling may be correct. It will not get its Trittin inscriptions back though – I have slightly different plans. It will stay in its line of business though. More on that in due time ...

If I would sell it? Well, maybe if I happened upon a pre-'75 Kombi with 50 bhp and a sunroof. But on the other hand I don't even hope so – we've gotten used to each other by now.

Delzy from front left


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Last edited on July 2, 2006