VW bus food truck

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a.mckenna
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2013/03/09 11:24:12 (permalink)

VW bus food truck

And now, for something completely different.
 
Anyone ever converted a bus into a fully functional food truck? In T-minus 4 days I will be able to post pictures and am about to start a really odd project. Gonna start dumping photos on this thread. I figure showing pictures of the process start to finish might inspire some people.
 
The gist of the build is as follows:
 
Already got the bus, 1969 bus with a 03 Toyota echo front end stuffed in the rear. Essentially you have two front ends, no joke you can hook up a steering wheel to the rear and do a complete 360 in the thing. Obviously that is gonna be disabled as it is highly dangerous, I mean what happens if the steering lock comes apart at 75 mph? Epic fail.
 
So, we got a surfer wagon, we got a Japanese engine, only fit to name this one Ninja Surfer.
 
Will be building out a 4ft high fiberglass cap on the top to increase headroom to around 7-8ft in the front, about 6 1/2 ft where the engine is in the rear.
 
Gonna stuff a 4ft deli case in the thing with a side opening that once open exposes the deli case, and above that a small hot case. Beyond that we will be putting in 2 electric 25 cup rice cookers, 3 compartment dish sink, separate hand sink, a bit of counter space. Pretty minimalist build, but the menu is focused on Hawaiian Poke, go google it and you will understand.
 
Most examples of bus conversions you will find are the flip top style where the entire roof opens to one side and creates a open air food cart. Being this cart is going to be operated in the soggy Northwest, I elected to go a little more ambitious and put a full cap on the bus.
 
Got a 6500KW onan generator going in it as well, will be mounted above the drivers seat. That part will make sense as things progress and more pictures are posted,
 
Exterior appearance? Gonna be having a local comic book artist do a super sized comic strip on the cap involving a ninja, a surfboard, a large wave, and a large fish popping out of the water and being sliced in half by said ninja. All the art will be black and white save the innards of the fish, a homage to the freshness of the product being served.
 
The bus itself we will follow the original two tone paint scheme. Bottom half will be black, top half white.
 
Stay tuned, this one should make for a fun progression series.
#1

19 Replies Related Threads

    Adjudicator
    Sirloin
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/09 12:02:49 (permalink)
    KOOL!  Pics needed! 
    #2
    roadkillgrill
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/09 12:12:22 (permalink)
    I saw one many years ago that had been all hippiefied out.. Can you say ..flashback...lol 
    It was a permanent setup complete with a vintage awning, landscaping, and a very nice patio area. They cooked out the side door (basically cart style), close the door and go home. The back door opened to a closet compartment for storage. The cab was for show only. I THINK I remember that they installed doors on the drivers side to insert the sink area. 
    Best of luck 
    #3
    Noodles on the Loose
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/09 12:22:04 (permalink)
    Looking forward to seeing it.  I'm sure pics will help, but trying to wrap my head around mounting the generator ABOVE the drivers seat???
    #4
    a.mckenna
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/09 12:51:04 (permalink)
    Yup, above.
     
    The bus has a existing canvas pop top, pretty much all those pop tops end at the cab area. Above the drivers seat is just steel roof. Being that I am capping the entire top in fiberglass, the existing steel roof will create a nice platform, turn that portion into a box inside the box and you have a perfect spot for a generator. Rubber boot the thing to reduce vibration and presto, you got a nicely hidden generator. Where else do you put a large generator in a small bus?
     
    It will make sense when I start posting pictures, and dismantle the top, you will be able to clearly see what I mean about the "platform."
    #5
    jcheese
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/09 15:47:13 (permalink)
    I used to live in one, so I guess you could work outta one.
    #6
    daddywoofdawg
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/11 08:58:24 (permalink)
    Das ninja surfer. your in the NW why no paint it like a killer whale?(my german spelling isn't good)
    #7
    a.mckenna
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/11 12:58:39 (permalink)
    Because it's a Japanese engine in a surfer bus?
     
    Ninja surfer is way more catchy anyways.
     

     
    Link to the page of the local artist who will be doing the work.
    #8
    thenoob
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/11 19:42:24 (permalink)
    I own the burger bus in vancouver its a 72 that i completely gutted and customized over a year.  It was an incredible build that was a one off, had to design it on the fly because obviously had nothing to by.  we built it ourselves as I dont really have faith in trades people
     
    http://www.google.ca/sear...i=mms-Ue77GuH4yAH4yoBg
    #9
    a.mckenna
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/11 22:08:43 (permalink)
    Yea, seen pictures of it.
     
    That is a good example of how most people convert a VW bus. Good comparison to how I am going to convert this one.
    #10
    a.mckenna
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/15 00:39:25 (permalink)
    Pictures inbound! Picking up the bus tomorrow, will get some pictures of the thing before I start to work on it.
    #11
    daddywoofdawg
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/15 22:24:27 (permalink)
    holey cr@p! $11.00 for a burger!
    #12
    FriedClamFanatic
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/16 16:20:30 (permalink)
    thenoob

    I own the burger bus in vancouver its a 72 that i completely gutted and customized over a year.  It was an incredible build that was a one off, had to design it on the fly because obviously had nothing to by.  we built it ourselves as I dont really have faith in trades people

    http://www.google.ca/sear...i=mms-Ue77GuH4yAH4yoBg

    Wow..really nice page! Lot of interesting photos and some luscious burgers!
    #13
    a.mckenna
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/17 13:24:38 (permalink)
    Size restrictions for pictures on this forum kinda suck. Opened a Photobucket page.
     
    First pictures of the bus are up, just got a bath.
     
    http://s1341.beta.photobu...ja-Surfer-Bus/profile/
    #14
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/17 17:50:02 (permalink)
    daddywoofdawg holey cr@p! $11.00 for a burger!

     
     
    My thought exactly.
    #15
    EatEli
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/03/17 18:04:40 (permalink)
    thenoob

    I own the burger bus in vancouver its a 72 that i completely gutted and customized over a year.  It was an incredible build that was a one off, had to design it on the fly because obviously had nothing to by.  we built it ourselves as I dont really have faith in trades people


     
     
    I've seen the Burger Bus parked downtown. It looks awesome!! Great work on that!
    #16
    DWags541
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2013/05/01 19:16:37 (permalink)
    There is one here in Eugene. It was converted before he got ahold of it.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/GastroNomad?fref=ts
    #17
    VintageDub
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2014/04/25 13:12:57 (permalink)
    does anyone have more information on doing this? I'm currently searching for a VW split window bus to convert into a mobile coffee shop and doing research on what it will take. Any further info on this would be really appreciated.
    #18
    TamaleTrolley
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2014/04/27 13:45:18 (permalink)
    Hi. I may know more about buses than the average bear. I used to collect and mechanic on them extensively, I also ran what was then the biggest Type 2 web site and mailing list on the net (early 90s).
     
    I'm not saying you can't do this. But a bus is a masterpiece of unibody design. It is put together with thousands of spot welds, virtually no bolts and no rivets. If you just cut the side out of one you are going to have so much flex you will be popping welds and the thing might actually fold up. You're already way beyond weight spec with that ridiculous engine and steering gear (well it is)--unless the frame and transmission mounts were heavily reinforced during the conversion you're already stressing it far beyond what it was designed for.
     
    Even the comparatively small roof opening in the Westfalias (the opening fiberglass camper tops which were sold in the American market) was reinforced by both a double roof and a stout belly pan, to compensate for the lost rigidity. If your bus was originally a passenger model, all you will have keeping the chassis in plane is the thin ladder frame and the rocker panels (which in most coastal state buses rotted out long ago and are now made of Bondo). Seriously, you might as well have a carpet with wheels in the corners.
     
    Yes I see that burger bus. I don't know if they reinforced the frame or if they drive it on the highway. I suspect they did, and don't, otherwise that rig would have disintegrated already.
     
    I really would encourage you to consult somebody who knows these vehicles (Mark Dearing of Salem, VA is one of the few remaining expert restorers, he's on Facebook). Buses are phenomenally strong as designed but if you chop it into a sleigh without some advice on reinforcement you might regret it and also become a danger to the other good citizens of your state on the highway.
     
    Respectfully,
     
    --Ken
    #19
    VintageDub
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    Re:VW bus food truck 2014/04/28 09:38:49 (permalink)
    well a mobile coffee outfit wouldn't require really an structural modification. Im also planning on doing a frame up restoration on the bus in the process. My fiance is an interior architect and will be doing the actual design of it and I will be doing most of the work myself. I was just curious to see how much electricity I can bring into one, what types of small commercial grade refrigeration units other people have used. Ill wait until I can post photos to "paint a better picture" then Ill just start my own thread.
    #20
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