Michael Mortons Iron Horse
1963 15 Window Deluxe Microbus – Iron Horse
During the mid year school holidays in 2007 we were in the Barossa Valley and I got talking to an older gent who told me he had a kombi in a shed on a remote property so we swapped phone numbers….
After quite a few calls we arranged to meet and at this stage I didn't even know what I was going to look at as he didn't know what type of kombi it was, just that it had 'windows down the side'
I met him and his wife at the local pub as he said the property was impossible to find and boy was he right – I followed him along a goat track until we got to his front gate and then the road deteriorated even further and it was another two kilometers or so up and down hills until I saw the shed. When we walked around to the side of the shed the first thing I saw was the driver's door through a missing shed panel and straight away I noticed the aluminum belt trim and thought WOW 21/23 window but noticed there was no roof skylights.As I worked my way down the dusty side of the bus I noticed that the windows did go all the way down the side and then I got to the end and noticed the corner windows!!I had never seen a corner window bus in person and was chuffed that the first one I had seen was going to be mine.
The bus was quite solid with the lower nose, sill behind the cargo door and small section of floor requiring attention.It was missing the motor, middle and rear seats, jail bars, clock and a few minor trim bits – all of which have now been sourced apart from the seats.
The bus had been parked up 26 years ago and thankfully it was in the shed and not next to it!The colour is pearl white over ruby red that had faded to a dusky pink over time.
We arranged to meet again at the pub again a few days later and with a hired four wheel drive and the family in tow we went to retrieve Iron Horse.Needless to say very little sleep was had over those few days!The retrieval went well as we had to part dismantle the shed, pump up tyres that hadn't held air for a few decades and bed her down on the trailer before hauling her out of her home of the last quarter of a century.Fourteen hours after setting out we pulled back into the driveway tired but elated and pushed her into the shed next to the '62 single cab – but that's another story….
Iron Horse is now registered and on the road and even featured in the 2009 Splitty Calendar.She currently runs a 1200 motor with original gearbox and I am in the process of scraping back to find the original paint.Future plans include a 1776 motor, lowered stance, ratty roof rack and shiny wheels – a great addition to the rat pack….