In the early 1970s, Curtis Brubaker had the brilliant idea of reviving the spirit of the original VW Beetle and Bulli with a modern vehicle based on the same technology. Unfortunately, the designer was unable to sign an official contract with VW himself and decided to continue the project on his own.
Instead of getting brand new chassis straight from the factory, Brubaker had to work with used Beetles and convert them into new spacey looking buses, selling the surplus components from the original vehicle.
This is the short story of how the Brubaker Box was born in 1972. However, the project turned out to be unprofitable for its creator, and Brubaker was only able to complete three copies of the original box. One of these later became the “Roamer” in the US television series Ark II.
But even after Brubaker filed for bankruptcy, investors saw potential in the project to continue production, and a company called Automecca built 25 more examples in California.
This leads us to the vehicle you see in the gallery above which is currently owned by Driven.co is offered for sale. This is believed to be one of only 17 surviving examples of the bus to be named Sportsvan. This new name was given to the vehicle after Automecca took over production and used the same design and technology as the original Brubaker box.
Of course, many components were borrowed from other vehicles, including the windshield from an AMC Hornet, taillights from a Datsun pickup, and various other parts taken from a Chevrolet El Camino.
This particular example was recently restored to its factory condition. The exterior is striking red with black accents on the front apron and side skirts. Originally, the Sportsvan featured a fiberglass body that bolted directly onto an unmodified Beetle chassis.
As you can see from the attached photos, the interior is a custom build with two individual seats in the front and a lounge-style seat in the back. The only access to the interior is through a large sliding door on the right side of the vehicle.