The old-school, air cooled Volkswagens lend themselves to many different interpretations. The Beetle and Bus are classics, but not everybody wanted to be seen in a German take on an econo-car…some wanted a bit of style to go along with frugality, and to the credit of aftermarket kit builders, some excellent kits came about: The Meyers Manx, the Fiberfab Aztec 7, and the Bradley GT all spring to mind for the Beetle, while the Brubaker Box and the Vandetta offered up some much-needed style for the rolling loaf of bread that was the Bus.
But take in this Phoenix kit in for a moment. Yes, it looks like a prop from a bad sci-fi television show from the late 1960s, but it’s actually kind of genius. The Phoenix would take a Type 2 and using a ton of fiberglass and some homegrown ingenuity, would turn it into a rolling pop-up camper that a six-foot-tall human being could fit inside of.
The one we found while searching the Denver Craigslist isn’t completed, and the seller admits that there will be a bit of work involved to get it going, but look at the bright side: VW tent camper with no need to tow anything! The one on Craigslist is rough, no doubt, but comparing it to the rig that Robert G. Reily Enterprises built as the template, we’re intrigued. Room for at least two adults to sleep in comfort, a fiberglass and foam body that brings curb weight to within 2,000 pounds, and there are still parts being made today? Stick a Subaru flat-four in the Phoenix to make up for the VW mill’s absence of power and find some disco-perfect wheels (like the turbines pictured above) and you’re a ’70s mural away from greatness. Or you’re in the doghouse for dragging that thing home. Whatever.