Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond? Kirk Strawn would say so. He’s the man behind Walter the Bus, a 2:1 scale reconstruction of the classic Volkswagen Microbus. This one-of-a-kind vehicle is the largest known Microbus in the world, and that’s no small feat.
So how do you go about building a super-size version of one of Volkswagen’s most iconic vehicles? Kirk and his friends (known collectively as “Tribe Walter”) spent seven years on the project. They started with a 1963 Walter Crash Truck which was originally in service as an airport rescue vehicle at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona.
Walter’s travels also found him in service with the New River Fire Department and later at the Gold King Mine in Jerome. He was finally purchased in 2003 by Strawn and the project was underway. Walter made his first appearance at Burning Man in 2009.
There are several features about Walter that make him unique from other Volkswagens (aside from his larger-than-life proportions). The upper promenade deck features room for dozens of desert partiers, and the onboard 330-gallon misting system keeps them cool while cruising around the Black Rock Desert. The bamboo lined roof looks awesome and adds some hippie chic to the van.
But Walter is more than just a party vehicle for the playa. Inside, there is a master suite bedroom with air conditioning. A 4,000 watt generator provides ample juice to run the sound system and over 10,000 LED lights.
Under the hood is a massive 844 cubic inch Le Roi V8 engine producing 330 horsepower. Power is routed through a 3-speed manual transmission and on to the wheels through a 4-point full time 4 wheel drive system. Traction will never be a problem with this rig – especially when you consider its 19,000-pound curb weight!
Walter the Bus is rolling proof that it doesn’t hurt to dream big. Be sure to keep up with Walter’s travels by visiting the official website at: walterthebus.org.