You might recall a previous blog we penned whereby we mentioned the existence of VW Transporter support vehicles facilitated by Porsche in the famous Paris-Dakar Rally of yore.
A tradition which dates back to the 1950’s, and which spanned twenty years; coming to an end in the 1970’s.
Colloquially known as Renndienst buses, these very distinctive-looking dark red-coloured Veedubs gained their own cult following from the outset. Considered with as much excitement as a rare species of bird is in a twitcher’s binoculars.
Incidentally, the literal translation of 'Renndienst' is 'racing service'; and they were iconic at the time. Accompanying Porsche’s factory cars to the majority of famous race meets of the period, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Now, after an absence of some five decades, they’re making a timely return.
Only this time, sporting a much more contemporary face.
Porsche Deutschland, in collaboration with parent company stablemate, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has announced plans to revive this much-missed motorsport tradition with the latest technology at the forefront of support vehicle proceedings.
Of course, we’re talking about what else, other than the all-new VW ID. Buzz.
These latest support vehicles are fully electric, and will soon be spotted at official motorsport meets where Porsche racing teams are competing.
With a continued remit to transport mechanics, tools and spare parts to tracks, throughout the motorsport calendar.
Picking up where the original T1 and T2 Veedub buses left off in the 1970’s, the next generation will present in the same, iconic dark red exterior colour. A defined retro look and feel which will also extend to the ‘Renndienst’ lettering found on the bodywork as a nostalgia-fuelled nod to its legendary predecessors.
OK. You Want A Brief Bit Of History, Don’t You…
Dating back to 1954, the very first Renndienst bus debuted at the Mille Miglia.
At the behest of Porsche who didn’t have an appropriate vehicle at its disposal to transport the myriad of tools and spare parts required.
Therein, the germ of an idea was hatched to convert a Volkswagen bus for this sole purpose.
That initial vehicle was based on the T1; with more Renndienst’s following in the intervening years, subsequently derived from the T2.
Reliability was the buzz word back then, with Porsche reliant on the air-cooled disposition of the Veedubs. Not only were these vans frequented as mobile service stations as such, but also acted as temporary accommodation for engineers and assorted team members.
Forming an integral part of the Porsche works team at each and every event.
Obvious functionality aside, the original Renndienst buses looked incredible, courtesy of their stand-out dark red paintjobs. Despite nearly always playing second fiddle to the headline-grabbing Porsche 904, 908, 910 and 917 cars which were at the top of their motorsport-competing games at the time.
Whatever Became Of The Original Renndienst Buses?
Some survived and are wrapped in cotton wool in Porsche collectors’ garages. Those who can afford not just classic Porsche’s, but all the accessories it would seem.
Whilst others are exhibited in automotive and motorsport-themed museum spaces.
Whether or not the new generation of VW ID. Renndienst Buzzes will retrospectively feature in future collections, remains to be seen in the decades which follow.
Yet in terms of here and now, it’s cool to see a conduit with Veedub and Porsche’s motorsport heritage, whilst benefitting from a truly 2023-and-beyond EV flavour.