Bus Door Handles

Cab Door Handles

1958 Kombi
1958 Kombi

The Splitscreen Bus was fitted with two different types of cab door handles.  Pre December 1963 Splitscreen Buses were installed with a pull-out door handle that was commonly known as the ‘ice pick’.  The drivers door handle incorporated a key hole which disigaged the handle from the lock mechanisim.  The passenger door handle did not have a key hole and was locked from the inside only by turning the inner door handle in the opposite direction to which it was used to open the door from the inside.

In January 1964 this handle design was replaced with a push button style door handle that had a round button.  The door handle was now fiexed to the cab door at both ends and a key hole was installed on both drivers and passenger door handles.  By turning the key the button was locked in position stopping the button from being pressed in.  Due to the larger size of the door handle a recess was also placed into the Cargo Door panel so that when the Cargo Door was opened it did not damage the panel.

1964 21 Window
1964 21 Window

In August 1968 the Baywindow Bus was fitted with the third design in cab door handle.  The first year of production of the Baywindow Bus was fitted with the same handle as the later Splitscreen Bus style.  This new design would see the button replaced with a trigger on the back of the handle.  The key in these handles for the first time would actually lock the door mechanisim itself instead of locking the door handle which made security of the Bus much more impregnable.

Cargo Door and Sliding Door Handles

1970 Blue and White Tintop
1970 Blue and White Tintop

There were three styles of cargo door handles fitted to the Splitscreen Bus and two styles of Sliding Door Handles fitted to the Baywindow Bus.

The first Cargo Door Handle style was installed on all Barndoor Buses.  It included a larger escutcheon below the handle which incorporated the lock for the handle.  This lock had a chromed sliding cover over it to stop dirt and water from entering the lock.

1959 SO23
1959 SO23

In March 1955 the lock was moved from under the handle into the end of the handle itself.  This handle was more rounded in appearance and shorter in design than the later style.

In January 1964 a more squarer handle was designed which was slightly longer than its predecessor.  Because of the extra length of the handle for the first time a recess was put into the cargo door skin to allow the handle to turn.

1976 Westfalia
1976 Westfalia

The side cargo doors were replaced on the Baywindow Bus for a single sliding door.  With it a new sliding door handle was designed.  The first Sliding door handle incorporated a lock in the end of the handle.  In order to lock the door the handle was designed to move 90 degrees upwards and therefore a recess in the sliding door skin was inserted in order for the handle to perform this action.  In September 1973 the sliding door handle was changed in shape and design.  The lock was removed from the handle and inserted separately below the handle as a separate lock.  The handle was made longer than the earlier version and the handle no longer moved upwards 90 degrees in order to close the door.  Therefore the recess in the sliding door outer skin was made smaller.

Tailgate and Engine Lid Locks

1958 Kombi tailgate
1958 Kombi

Barndoor Buses were not fitted with a tailgate but an extra larger engine lid.  This is where the nickname ‘Barndoor’ comes from.  The lock on this engine lid was a solid T-Handle and quite chunky in design. 

In March 1955 the first Tailgate was fitted to the Splitscreen Bus.  The T-Handle that was originally on the Barndoor Engine lid was moved to the tailgate a re-designed slightly.  There was more of a shape to the handle with turned back ends towards the panel.  The engine lid which was now separate was not installed with a handle.  Instead the engine lid was opened with a ‘Church Key’ which was inserted into a square hole with a sliding dust cover.

1959 SO23
1959 SO23

In September 1963 the tailgate handle was replaced with a push button.  The thin panel which separated the tail gate from the engine lid was given a finger indent so that once the button was pressed you could lift the tailgate up.

In September 1965 the Church Key lock on the engine lid was replaced with an engine lid lock incorporating a handle.  This style of handle was in fact the same as the Beetle Deck Lid Lock from 1964 to 1971.

In September 1966 the push button tailgate lock was replaced with a lock very similar to the engine lid lock of the same period bus.  Although still a push button lock it now incorporated a finger latch and therefore the recess under the tailgate was also removed from the design of the bus as it was no longer required.  This tailgate lock continued to be used on the ‘Early Bay’ Bus until August 1971.

1967 21 Window
1967 21 Window

With the introduction of the Baywindow Bus the engine lid lock changed in style slightly even though the tailgate lock remained the same.  The lock itself was removed from the push button.

1970 baywindow
1970 baywindow

In August 1972 the lock on the engine lid was re-designed to now incorporate the lock back into the push button.

1974 Baywindow Bus Engine Lid Lock
1974 Baywindow Bus Engine Lid Lock

In August 1975 the lock on the engine lid had the same shape and functionality but in order to save on costs was produced in plastic.

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