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Hilda's Amazing Adventures

Discussion in 'Kombi Stories' started by VZR69, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. VZR69

    VZR69 Active Member

    Hi Everyone, I thought I might put a post up about my 1969 dual cab Kombi affectionately named after Hilda the hippo from a kids book because she is rather large and ugly but loves playing in the mud. I have always loved all forms of driving including off-roading but I couldn't justify the cost of a 4wd plus a kombi is way more comfy and has the cool factor. I bought her about 20 years ago from an elderly italian man who worked for the victorian railways. He bought it direct from vicrail when its 3 year service was up so that means he had owned it for about 23 years which might explain why he was crying when I drove it home after purchasing it for about $2000. It had a reasonable 1600 and some 'interesting' d.i.y. rust repairs involving scouring pads/chicken wire/fly screen etc. But I LOVED her warts and all.
    As a young struggling painter with 3 kids and 2 dogs , looking after my family was always priority over spending money on the kombi but we did what was necessary to keep Hilda reliable work/family transport. I ended up getting a mild 1835 built which helped when loaded up a bit and I soon learnt how to maintain kombis and I would do as much of the work myself as possible. It ran around in grey primer for a while (which is when it was named after a hippo) before getting a 2 tone pastel yellow/orange coat of paint. My urge to head offroad on weekends became an obsession with the grinder coming out and 'clearing' the wheel arches was the first step to fitting larger tyres on stock rims. Of course I would have loved a full lift as done by the Alders for years but I never had the budget to fulfill my dreams.
    Anyways we worked Hilda into many '4wd only' tracks much to the embarrassment of cruiser/patrol drivers. We also had a few boggings (some deliberate) but She never let us down.
    One mishap I remember was during a long weekend in halls gap at the grampians national park in vic. We were driving a 4wd goat track with my uncle in his mq patrol and because I had put later bay hubs on the rear of Hilda I had forgotten to put the split pin through the main nut and over time the nut had come loose but it wasn't till we got to the top of the mountain that the left back wheel (brake drum included) fell off and rolled down a very steep hillside covered in thick scrub and of course the wheel was painted army green! Thinking about where we were I completely lost my shit because if we couldn't find the wheel and get it mounted you would need a russian helicopter to airlift Hilda out of there because NO towtruck or trailer would ever get up the track to get us. After half an hour of searching we found the wheel and drum but the nut would be impossible to find so we did the dodgiest bush mehanic patch I have ever seen with a woodscrew through the hole in the stub axle and about 10 meters of thin wire rapped around the stub between the screw and the brake drum so after a very slow trip back to halls gap we were safe once again. All that drama over a $1 pin.......live and learn !
    We have so many fond memories of our trips in Hilda and she even bought us up to queensland to live about 15 years ago and we were traveling with 3 kids 2 dogs and virtually all our possessions in the one amazingly versatile vehicle.
    Hilda has been off the road for years now and we will be starting a full restoration soon with the plan to make it a offroad beast and long distance desert traveller.
    Thanks for reading my little story and here are some old (pre digital) photos of some of her adventures.
    Here is Hilda loaded up on our trip north
    Here's me and the kids up at Ayr on a trip to Charters Towers
    Camping at Landcruiser Mountain 4wd Park
    Hilda going deep at Black Duck Valley mudpit
    Getting it running again after a thorough drowning (thats why I'm smiling)
    Playing around the burdekin river north queensland
    kombiing, melissa, cbus and 1 other person like this.
  2. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Avalon Beach NSW
    Awesome stories mate !!
    Never ceases to amaze me where these vehicles are capable of going...........AND coming back;)
    It'll be great to get her back on the road, with all that history.
  3. ruby6689

    ruby6689 Well-Known Member

    Burnett Heads
    I love Hilda's story, that snorkel is amazing. Look forward to watching her come back to life ready to make more memories. I bet the kids all want to borrow her now.

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