Automotive designer Peter Brock has more than a few legendary shapes under his belt, but his unconventional hot rod VW Van has a pretty cool story of its own. This 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 is fitted with a Buick V-8 and a cargo area designed to hold, of all things, hang gliders. Jay Leno invited Brock and his Type 2 to his shop for a closer look.
“We’re always thrilled when automotive royalty comes by, and this guy is right at the top of the heap,” Leno says of Brock, who penned the original Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, the Shelby Daytona Coupe, and many of the Shelby parts used on Ford’s Mustang Cobras.
“This is absolutely the greatest vehicle provided you’re a hang glider pilot,’ Brock says.”We have the largest hang-glider manufacturing in the world and we won the world championship six times in a row. And what enabled us to do it is this very special vehicle.”
Brock’s Type 2 has been built for a singular purpose. The racks were specifically designed to carry the team’s 18-foot gliders, which fold to a compact shape, allowing all of them to sit on the roof at once. The extra power was needed to get them up mountain roads.
It’s not the first Type 2 his hang-glider manufacturing and racing team put together; the first was actually built under the direction of the equally legendary Ken Miles.
While this Type 2 has a Buick V-8 under the rear engine cover, little of the car’s essential engineering or layout differs from Volkswagen’s original, including the transmission. Brock says the Buick V-8 weighs approximately 120 pounds more than the original air-cooled VW unit, and his team had to add liquid cooling to what was originally an air-cooled vehicle.
He says the van remains very stable despite the added bulk. In fact, if he had it to do over again, he’d have gone with something even larger and more powerful.
Jay appreciates the one-off van when he drives it later in the video, saying there’s nothing wrong with the van that a little more horsepower can’t fix.
If Type 2 conversions are your thing, Volkswagen recently partnered with EV West to build one with an E-Golf powertrain. It was built to tease the forthcoming ID-Buzz-based electric cargo van on its way as a production model.