Phil Mizzi's 1954 VW Kombi Barndoor single-cab is basically a race car hidden inside a rat-rod style shell. It is one very cool creation and its features include some impressive chassis engineering and a supercharged flat-4 engine

Photos by Ben Hosking

“It was originally an electrician's work ute” starts Phil. "If you look really close at the tail gate you can still see the remnants of the old signage. When it ended its working days, it was just left in a field for the next 10 years”

It was rescued from the paddock it in the hope it wouldn’t need a whole lot done to the body, but “when we blasted it (underneath) it was a very different story," he says. "About 70 per cent of the metal in the car is new”

Das Resto Haus took care of the VW bodywork and “Keeping the original paint was the most difficult thing about the build," Phil says. "It created so many headaches and blowouts in cost, it would have been so much easier just to repaint the whole car, but I'm glad we persevered"

The race car engineering underneath was performed by Paul Sant at Pro Flo Performance. The chassis is described as “boxed”, which translates to structurally-reinforced with lots of extra metal, but it looks more like it has been given a new full-chassis designed to appear as though it belongs under a Kombi. It also has a bolt-in chromoly crossbrace tying the front to the rear

The fabrication continues with a full safety cage and the rear end features a custom rose-jointed IRS arrangement. There are also wheelie bars to help contain the wheels-up effect of hard launches

Providing more than enough power to get those front wheels up is a supercharged 2854cc stroker Autocraft flat-4. It was built with forged internals, given a dry-sump and the blower is a Harrop HVT2300 that’s big enough for the 6L V8 in a Commodore

It sounds wild even at idle, as you can hear for yourself in the short clip above

Those electric fans that you saw under the car are for the custom water-to-air intercooler setup that is supplemented with dry ice in a special compartment on the fluid tank at race meetings

Phil actually did roughly half the work required to complete the project himself and he says "The build has been very rewarding, as it really hasn’t been done like this before with a Barndoor.” He also wasn’t sure how VW enthusiasts would react. “I was concerned that there would be a few in the VW community that wouldn't appreciate such a rare car being 'cut up', but on the whole the car has been very well received"



OWNER: Phil Mizzi

MODEL: 1954 Single Cab

BODYWORK: Factory, parachute

COLOUR: Dove Blue

BLOCK: 2854cc Autocraft

ENGINE MODS: 88mm Moldex crank, Pauter rods, forged CP pistons and rings, Autocraft solid roller cams (0.432in lift), Manton pushrods, roller lifters, Pauter rockers, ported Autocraft 910 heads, titanium intake valves (inconel exhaust), HTV2300 Harrop supercharger, water-to-air intercooler w/Davies Craig pump, Haltech ECU, Racepak data acquisition, custom intake manifold, Turbosmart wastegate, 1x1000cc and 1x2000cc injector per cylinder, 3-stage Autocraft oil pump, dry sump, Aeromotive fuel pump (E85), 4x SPAL thermo fans (2x per heat exchanger), oil cooler, GM LS1 ignition coils, custom intake and intercooler piping, Gilmer blower belt drive, custom hard lines and Speedflow fittings, Petersen dry sump tank, custom engine/blower brackets, ARP fittings throughout

POWER: Approx. 700hp (522kW)

EXHAUST: Custom 2-into-1 each side

GEARBOX: 5-Rib 'box, Berg 600L intermediate housing, Weddle gears, RLR Rev 6 clutch

DIFF: Peloquin LSD, Kartech 930 lightened CVs, 300M cages, custom axles, Kartech full-floating hubs, chrome moly stubs and output flanges, Delrin bushings, steel unis

BRAKES: Custom hubs and rotor hats, Wilwood rotors, CSP calipers, Chevrolet-pattern hubs

SUSPENSION: Fully-boxed chassis, (Fr) stock torsion leaves, Strange double-adjustable coil-overs, (Rr) cantilevered inboard coil-over system, Eibach springs, Strange double-adjustable coil-overs, custom adjustable swing arms, all connections rose-jointed, wheelie bars

WHEELS/TYRES: 15in Weld Aluma Star (3.5in front, 8.5in double-bead locked rear), M/T ET front runners, M/T ET Drag 26x8.5 slicks

INTERIOR: Original '54 barn door bench and retractable belts for cruising (Kirkey race seat and 5-point harness for racing), original steering wheel, fire system, chrome moly roll cage, parachute lever, Racepak dash, CSP shifter, vintage fan, 12volt conversion

BUILD PERIOD: Five years

THANKS: Das Resto Haus, Pro Flow Chassis Works, Shaun's Custom Alloy, CBB, Autocraft, Custom Bugs and Buses, “Rod Penrose, Dave Stroker, Owen, Peter Snell, Dave Butler, my sons Joel and Ryan”