From childhood dreams to reality
Posted on January 31 2019
1967 SO 14: Pick Up with Pole Carrier.
Collective feature by VW Camper & Commercial magazine
Words and photography: Theo Mossman.
One of the more unusual Special Models seen at the Ben Pon meet in 2018 was this Pick Up and SO 14 long load trailer combination, loaded with roof trusses. Theo Mosman followed up the story behind this rare model for VW Camper & Commercial Magazine.
The story of this Single cab starts in 1967 when the oil trader Mr G. Weis from the north of Holland went to his local dealership saying, “now that the T2 is about to be introduced, you can sell me that pearl-white single cab T1 with a special discount”. They made a deal and in July 1967: one of the last produced T1 single cabs was delivered to its first owner. The front badge was replaced with the company logo and it was painted in company livery and BP colours (whose products they sold), and used for the business for the next fifteen years.
In 1983 Harry Wassing, a VW enthusiast, heard about the single cab possibly being for sale. He already owned some beetles and he wanted to expand his collection with a T1 of some sort and managed to do a deal with Mr Weiss for the single cab. The company logos were removed and the truck thoroughly cleaned, the yellow roof was painted green with paint from a local DIY store and they proudly refitted the VW-badge on the nose. For the next couple of years it was used as a daily workhorse but eventually it needed so much repair and work that it was stored away with some other project cars. However it remained in the mind of young son Jeroen Wassing; as a child one of his favourite pictures had been of a T1 at work on a building site and loaded with roof trusses. He had often imagined himself sitting proudly next to his father who was towing some big stuff behind their Single Cab.
Then in 1992 some of Harry’s VW friends decided to restore it as a wedding present for Harry. Just three months before the wedding they sneaked it out of storage and set to work, replacing panels, welding bodywork and getting it running before painting in its original colour of Pearl White. The finished bus was then wrapped in a huge bow and presented on the wedding day – to Harry’s total surprise and shock! In 2012 Harry unfortunately died and his “VW fleet” was inherited and divided between his kids. From that moment on, son Jeroen was the owner of the T1 single cab.
Though the restoration had been 20 years prior to this it was still in pretty good condition. One thing 25 year old Jeroen did do, however, was unearth the original 1500 engine, which he stripped, rebuilt and refitted. Nowadays this T1 single cab is a matching numbered two owners vehicle in original condition.
The story takes a new twist in 2013 when Jeroen heard from a friend who had spotted a weird and neglected trailer with VW wheels in an overgrown garden of a house he drove by each day. He suspected that this could be an original SO-14 Wo-Wi trailer and as soon as Jeroen saw the pictures he was sure. Both the trailer and the turntable assembly to be fitted on the pick-up were still in sound condition, a little rusty, but all the lights were still working and the wheels were spinning freely. So the deal was done and the following weekend the trailer was towed home.
Further investigation confirmed this was an SO14 trailer – an original accessory package offered in the 60’s through the VW dealerships. Back then it cost around 1550DM (about 750 euro / 700 pounds), so not a cheap item! This trailer and turntable were produced by “Gebruders Wolperding” in Winsen in Germany. That’s where the “WOWI-trailer” name is based on. Another version, SO24, was also offered through the dealership but that one was made by Westfalia or Ficker and was a trailer with some storage capacity, unlike SO14 which is just a transport axle. Both trailers could be combined with a single cab or a double cab. The turntable was fitted on the load bed and the trailer on a regular tow bar. In this configuration, long materials up to 7 metres could be legally transported.
Because the trailer hitch is not at the same point as the turntable, this makes it impossible to take corners if it was a fixed construction. For this reason Wolperding made the turntable able to slide on runners. The turntable unit is secured on the pick up’s load bed with straps or chains and the long-load is placed on the two load yokes and fixed firmly on the trailer. The sliding movement (back and forward) in the turntable makes it possible to turn around and/or do cornering. (If you want to see how this works, just google “VW SO14 WOWI trailer & video”)
The Wolperding trailer featured here is a 1964 SO14 with serial number 2859. It has been restored by Jeroen at the company he works to original condition and then painted pearl-white to match the single cab. The first outing of this combination was in 2014 to the Ben Pon-show and was loaded, at the last minute, with a couple of long beams as loading material. Although the feedback from the crowd was very positive, Jeroen decided that next time it had to be with wooden roof trusses, just like in the book that inspired him to purchase the trailer in the first place. And after spending lots of hours trying to fabricate these trusses himself, it made its appearance at the recently held 2nd Ben Pon Barndoor Gathering. This configuration was as it always had been in Jeroen’s childhood dreams and the pictures in the book were finally a reality. Thanks to his efforts this stunningly original single cab with Wowi-trailer will really be wowing the crowd in many meetings to come.
Above: The image of the single cab that inspired Jeroen’s addition of the wooden roof trusses
Founded in 2001, VW Camper & Commercial magazine is devoted to the VW Bus on all its forms. To subscribe or order single issues go to www.volkswagencamper.co.uk.