With their peace, love and Volkswagen Kombi van the spirit of the 60s is alive and well in the Goodhue household.
United by their fervour for time gone by, the Taranaki family delight in all things retro, but child of the hippy era, Bryan Goodhue, says in addition to bonding over records and gramophones, he and wife Raechel, together with their, children Isabel and Hamish, also share a passion for camping.
This makes the 1964 Volkswagen Kombi a compatible choice of camper for the family of four who delight in the gypsy lifestyle.
The well utilised split screen van captures the essence of minimalism and when navigating New Zealand’s highways or parked up alongside the beach, the VW provides the family with the means to wash away the complexities of day-to-day life.
“It offers us a less complicated life,” he says.
“And it’s become a hub for reconnecting with each other.”
The Kombi van, which sleeps four, has become an extension of the Goodhue family. Every summer the beach-loving family either hits the road in it on a camping expedition, or use it locally to transport their beach essentials.
“We are at the beach once or twice a day so we’ll fill it up with our surfboards. And then it has a fridge and everything else in it, so it really just becomes a base for us,” says the Volkswagen enthusiast.
The green VW, which was redecorated with hippie memorabilia for a Millennium party, was purchased locally by the Goodhues 16 years ago for the bargain price of $300.
A past owner had salvaged the Kombi from the back of a truck heading for a wrecker’s yard in Wellington, and he transported the broken down van to Taranaki to restore.
“I’m pretty sure it never made it to the road and when I eventually got it it had no engine in it,” explains Bryan Goodhue.
He worked around the clock tackling the bottom 15 centimetres of rust and installing a 1600 twin port engine and a new braking system before the New Zealand-assembled Kombi was roadworthy.
In addition he carried out a combination of camping conversions by installing a pop-top and making various changes to the interior.
“It’s no trailer queen but mechanically it’s pretty good,” he says.
The Goodhue’s history with the iconic German camper stretches back nearly three decades to when Bryan and Raechel first met one another and together purchased their first Kombi.
Eventually the couple went on to sell their 1962 split screen before later acquiring a more recent model, which would then also be placed on the market after it became a struggle to drive for Raechel, who at the time was pregnant with their first child.
“We were using it as our daily driver and with her big belly she found it difficult to steer.”
Following the sale of their second Kombi the pair experienced their first camper-less summer.
“We couldn’t do it again, we knew we had to get another one straight away.”
And not long after the birth of Isabel, the hippie-van found its way into the Goodhue life and for this reason the Kombi now goes under the moniker of Bellie’s Bus.
“Our kids have been brought up in it, that’s all they know,” says Bryan.
“It’s filled with memories, just like all Kombis – if you can pass a Kombi and not have a giggle then something’s wrong.”
– Taranaki Daily News