1963 Splitscreen Crewcab

By seventeen, Allen had a ‘67 Beetle Cal Looker and later a 1303S Cabriolet, arriving at his Splitscreen ownership début by the time he was twenty-one. Then, in 2008, Allen acquired the VW we see here, a 1963 Splitscreen Crewcab… although it wasn’t exactly the condition we see here, when first he got it!

Allen fills us in; “The truck had been imported from Washington in the USA. I bought it off eBay, unseen, apart from the auction listing snaps. I don’t know it’s former history but it was badly decayed, damaged and full of sand.” Sounds like it was abandoned on a beach for a while! When Allen got the Doka home, aside from being badly rotten and pretty smashed up, it was completely bare, pretty much missing everything – Allen continues; “It even had American ‘STOP’ road signs screwed together to form part of floor! Despite this I was upbeat, as I as I knew the resto’ was well within my experience… besides, I was just excited to have a Split Crewcab!”

1963 Splitscreen Crewcab

With the truck home, Allen parked it on the drive under a tarpaulin, where it patiently sat for a while, as he methodically acquired all the parts needed – of course, there were also other dub projects to attend to in the meantime!

Steadily, Allen carried out the whole build, all in the confines of a pretty small garage. Once all the bits were got, the build took about twenty-four months in all to get to the final stage. Allen goes on; “My dad and also my godfather, James, helped to line the front panel up, as well as James carrying out the excellent pin-striping on the roof and around the rear lights.”

1963 Splitscreen Crewcab

But before that wonderful artwork went on of course, with the bus all rebuilt and rot free, it was time for paint. Allen explains; “As for the choice of colour, I went for red because I’d seen a red Crewcab on the net, and thought it just looked awesome; mine had to be the right red though, so after studying every red car I saw, I finally went for Alfa Romeo ‘Rosso Red’… and I love it!” As for the contrasting bumpers and big nose-badge, Allen went for a pure white (normally used for mixing) with no tints. The chrome has also been dispensed with, with the window frames being all satin black, as Allen was after a cleaner look, saying; “I wanted it to look almost like it didn’t have separate frames.” The offside rear pop-out window has also been reversed.

Allen carried out all the prep and paintwork himself, apart from the roof that is. Allen reveals; “My dad did the roof for me, except he fell off the ladder, totally screwing up his ankle and heel in the process (it’s still not right now).” Once again, this was all carried out by Allen (plus his poor, now limping dad), in his small garage at home.

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Now it was time to start fitting the race heritage elements to the truck. The rear deck has a lightweight cargo net fitted instead of a tailgate and there are also sports-bike racks installed (and yes, Allen has actually had the Honda Fireblade he also owns on the back).

To complete the race style build, Allen then installed a roll cage, which he coloured bright magenta pink… why?; “Cos I could and ‘cos I happen love it!” Allen answers… ‘nuf said. The addition of said roll cage though, now inhibited room for the original front benchseat to go back in – however here Allen had a creative solution; appropriately enough, it was actually a Subaru that came to the rescue in the furnishings department too, with an Imprezza rear seat being promoted to now become the front bench for the truck – and very well it works too (as well as being somewhat comfier than the original). However, despite the posh pew, simple grey interior panels are used to complete the scheme; “To keep the visuals nice and basic; just how a truck should be,” confirms Allen.

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To bare testament to that sporty style, this bus is indeed quick; this will be on account of the powerful 2.0 ltr Subaru engine that lurks below decks, providing more than ample pushing power in the back. Coupled with the Scooby unit, a Freeway Flyer Pro-Street gearbox helps the Doka smoothly lay down some tracks – and continuing the race-bus theme, any hot gasses are swiftly ushered away via the fitment of a motorcycle silencer tucked in below the bumper, which sounds every bit as cool as it looks!

And those beautiful wheels the Doka rolls on are genuine original 15” American Racing Torq Thrust D’s, shod in 165/50/R15 Nankangs on the front, with wider 185/50’s putting the load to the road back at the business end. Allen had always wanted a set of these awesome looking wheels for the truck and discloses that they are his favourite part of the vehicle.

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To help bring things to a halt, the Splitty has also been fitted with Late Baywindow brakes all round; drums out back with discs up front. Keeping everything sitting just right meanwhile, a superior suspension setup comes courtesy of Red 9 Design independent front suspension, coupled with a Baywindow IRS on the rear, with airbags helping to handle the weight.

But the coolest thing about Allen’s race inspired truck is that far from being a mere fair-weather ride or weekend toy, it also happens to be his everyday driver. And when he takes the Doka for a ride, he reckons it regularly gets more attention than the average Ferrari – looking at it, were not surprised! And when Allen’s not putting Italian stallions to shame in the Crewcab (or burning it up on the Fireblade), he’s known to still enjoy taking things at a bit more of a leisurely pace on the oldskool BMX (Buses and BMX just go together perfectly right!).

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As regards fun and adventures, the Crewcab has plenty; including previously taking three people plus a weeks’ worth of campinggear… and Allen’s Fireblade across to the Isle of Mann for TT week. The Doka has also raced around Spa Francorchamps race circuit in Belgium, and by all accounts has been super reliable every inch of the way, on all its epic adventures. As Allen so rightly puts it; “Crewcabs are super versatile… they just do everything!”

Although, with other projects pending and only that small garage to work in, Allen will need to take care on future builds, after courting disaster on one occasion with the Doka, as he reveals with a wry smile; “I don’t want a repeat episode of when I set fire to the Crewcab whilst doing some welding one time; as I was to discover, Waxoyl is highly flammable… I thought the whole garage, Crewcab an’ all, were gonna go up!” Wow, lesson learned by the sounds of it then Allen… save the smoke n’ flames for the racetrack yeah!

So what’s next for Allen then? Well, he wants to uprate front brakes and the actual engine, for another Scooby unit in fact, but this time it’s a turbo version that Allen already has in the garage, all ready to go! However, like many VW fans, Allen isn’t content with just one project, so will have to divide his time with the truck and the other Splitscreen that he also owns (that’s just greedy); but explains that since getting the Doka on the road, the second Split hasn’t seen the light of day so far. Sounds like he has his hands full then… better put ya’ foot down Allen!

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