The Return of Tinoc – 1968 VW Type 2 Panel Van

Words by Ned Faux & Photos by Joss Ashley

The Tinoc bus, or should I say – The legendary Tonic bus.

This one has a special place in my heart, probably because I’ve tried to buy it at least twenty times over the last seven years. Looking at these photos I’m genuinely glad I didn’t personally end up with Tinoc. The reason being – I don’t think I could ever do it justice the way Dazza Adams has. In fact, I doubt anyone else actually could have.

I will start at the beginning, It’s not easy to track history on this bus because everyone has a different version of events. Since 38-year old Dazza has owned Tinoc, he’s had various people claim to have owned or worked on it but i’m going to stick exactly to what I remember first hand and what I know to be true.

Tinoc began its life in Vienna, Austria in 1968 as a shop truck delivering beverages and sign written with the words “Getranke Fur Kenner” roughly translated- ’Drinks For Connoisseurs’. Unfortunately, I can’t find much information regarding the company and their address now seems to be residential. After its service, we don’t know where it resided but it was bought by a German and trailered to Bitburg where it was sold and brought to England. It was soon put on eBay and won by ‘Patina’ Paul Machin, who at the time owned the Bus Barn.

This would have been around 2009-ish. Paul recommissioned, lowered the bus and used it for some time until it got sold once again. This is where its history gets really vague and it changed hands a few times. I remember seeing it for sale at Van Fest (now Bus Fest) around the time for the most money I’d ever seen a Bay window sell for (probably cheap by todays standards) but it was a top price for an extremely straight and solid bus with great sign-writing. After that, the bus was at some point subject to some shoddy restoration and was left outside of a house in Northamptonshire. This is were I first saw it again – Tinoc was rotting away in the front garden of a house which happens to be on the route I take to go and visit my parents. Over the next few years, I knocked on the door pretty much every time I pass just to be told it was her sons van and he had no interest in selling. I didn’t like to keep knocking but seeing a fantastic bus becoming part of the earth seemed some what criminal. As the years past, Tinoc popped up on Facebook once in a while and caused a stir every time with frustrated VW enthusiasts wanting to save the bus. 

This bring us to around 12 months ago when Dazza Adams sent me message asking for assistance in the purchase of Tinoc. The bus had come up for sale as a Facebook advert and a pretty crap one at that – just a bargain price and no description. When Dazza got in touch, I was already on it and was sending messages that were being ignored. At that point I stopped pursuing it as Dazza said he was just going to drive there and bang on the door. I sent him the address and that’s just what he did. I was so happy it ended up with him. Over the last few years, so many people have talked about saving the bus but Dazza was the one to get in the car and go – Even if it did mean a wasted journey.

Unfortunately, even though Dazza had ended up with Tinoc there wasn’t quite as much of Tinoc left as expected. Over the years, she had been subject to some really shoddy repairs and sitting in the weeds all that time had not done it any good at all. Well, he brought it to Pete Shaw at VW Aircooled Works and here is the welding list:

  • Replace all top hats.
  • I channels.
  • Various localised main chassis repairs.
  • Inner and outer middle sills.
  • B-posts.
  • Both full front arches.
  • Localised repairs to rear arches.
  • NSR Corner.
  • Lower OSR rear corner.
  • Windscreen aperture.
  • Lower front valance.
  • Localised repairs to body panels etc…

So if anyone asks how an early bay holds up being left in a garden for 8 years, this list should give you a good idea of what you’ll need (or at least convince you to garage or sell it).

Now Dazza is a true enthusiast when it comes to VW. He even goes as far as calling it an addiction (caught from his father) with a long list of aircooled VW and Porsche that he’s owned over the last 17 years. So, when he was hit with this list of welding he knew how the cost can only spiral out of control. But he stuck to the plan, knowing the bus was in good hands and gave VW Aircooled the go ahead to make the new steel order at Custom and Commercial and hit the old girl with a grinder. Dazza wanted to keep as much original metal as possible.

So, at some point, the original Tinoc panels were removed and refurbished. Up front, a set of Trailer Queen 30mm wheel tubs were made and the rear chassis trimmed and welded to make clearance of the driveshafts.

Once the body was solid they blended the paint to match the existing white and then an all over flat and polish taking great care not to disturb the original sign-writing. The bus the was treated to a full under body treatment with epoxy primer and stone chip under the arches and floor. 

The build up was as extensive as the body work. Where Dazza treated Tinoc to a 4’’ narrowed adjustable king & link Split beam and rear adjustable spring plates with ProTech adjustable shocks all around. The brake set-up is a pair of early split bus front drums and CSP 5×130 rear drums running all brand new internals to take the Fuchs wheels with 165/50/15 and 185/65/15 Nankang tyres.

For the motor, Dazza reused the matching numbers stock engine and had it machined by John Walklett and rebuilt by VW Aircooled works while the gearbox went with the same treatment and was also rebuilt by John Walklett.

Inside, the front seats, door cards and Westy rock and roll bed were upholstered by Evans in Whittlsey, Peterborough.

And that brings us about up to date. Last weekend, Dazza brought the bus to Skeg Vegas as its first trip out where it stole, not one, but two very well-earned trophies. We here at the magazine are truly proud of Dazza’s efforts on this project and believe Tinoc could not have found a better home. We look forward to seeing it out and about once again.

Dazza would like to thank Ian Stennett for the heads up that the bus was for sale, Darren Howlett for fetching it, Evans Upholstery for the interior, Jess for putting up with the Porsche addiction and last but not least Josh and Peter at VW Aircooled Works who worked so many long hours and weekends to get the bus finished.

Return of Tinoc - Full Gallery