If you made it to Bicester’s Super Scramble in June, you may well have enjoyed a complimentary coffee from the freshly painted flanks of our latest member. The Volkswagen coffee pick-up has been a labour of love for the Clubhouse team for many months.
The brainchild of Chris Pruden, PCGB events creative and founder of the Gas Coffee Co, the VW pick-up has been a long-running project funded in part by Porsche Cars GB and scratch built by the team at Type 2 Detectives, a specialist VW restorer based just outside Cambridge.
“It was off the back of the Club’s Speedster coffee car, which was getting overwhelmed at events, that I came up with the idea,” Chris says. “It wasn’t straightforward getting people to understand what I was trying to achieve, but we spoke to James Toye at Porsche and he was really up for the idea.”
The pick-up is a careful and clever homage to the original Porsche support vehicles that attended sports car races throughout the 1960s, carrying crew and spares the length and breadth of Europe. And its modern mission, as envisaged by Chris, is not wholly dissimilar.
With their impressive resources, it was the Type 2 team who were able to supply the donor vehicle, an original and remarkably sound single-cab pick-up dating from 1969, making its Porsche-themed renaissance a poetic one in this 50th anniversary year of both 917 and 914.
“Type 2 Detectives had the pick-up in stock for their own purposes,” Chris explains, “but because of their massive schedule with customer builds, we managed to broker a deal. There was no metal work to be done, so that would obviously save us time and money.”
The pick-up nevertheless underwent an extensive ground-up rebuild, including a brand new and mildly uprated 1675cc flat-four twin-carb engine. The correct period paint colour was then applied before the cab was detailed to a factory-plus condition. In another nod to Porsche, the pick-up was also finished with replica 356 wheels – a subtle but effective touch.
The flat bed was then built up to Chris’s specification, with a complex plywood structure created at Type 2 Detectives to house magazines and promotional material on one side and all the coffee-making equipment on the other. The centrepiece is a top-of-the-range Fracino commercial dual fuel system designed for extended outdoor use and the default choice for any serious al fresco barista.
The rear of the pick-up also features a fold-out section for PCGB’s popular retail arm, which, going forward, will offer a selection of all the latest Club and Porsche official merchandise. Protecting the whole structure from the elements is a bespoke and period-correct canvas cover.
The vital final flourish was the sign-writing, and renowned pinstriper Neil Melliard pulled out all the stops to get the pick-up finished on schedule, burning the midnight oil more than once as the deadline approached. All the lettering and crests were hand-painted straight on to the body and perfectly replicate the original works vans.
With everyone involved in the project showing unparalleled commitment from start
to finish, the entire build has taken just five months – astonishingly fast considering both the scale of the challenge and the degree of craftsmanship involved.
Its first outing at Bicester was a huge success, but the real test came at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Silverstone Classic. Thankfully, it passed both tests with flying colours and proved a popular talking point while sipping down a smooth cup of coffee.
As the year progresses, the intention is to use the pick-up to support smaller meets, following the format of the successful Staines-upon-Thames event in the spring. Fully laden with the essential elements PCGB has to offer on location, and able to travel the length and breadth of the country in short order, it may soon be difficult to imagine Club life without it.