The Story of Harriett

In around 2011 Harriett came into our lives but her name was ‘Baby’.

The owner contacted us to tell us about her 1974, automatic 8 seater microbus she had for sale and wanted it to go to a good home.  

George loved the woman’s story as she had owned the kombi for a number of years, was in good condition but still in need of work so we purchased her and she joined our other kombi’s waiting for restoration in our paddock.

In 2014 we received a phone call from the Dan + Maz radio show wanting a kombi for promotion purposes to travel Australia.

At the time we had 2 campers and another 8 seater which was being used for weddings so being the crazy opportunists we are we said yes we can help you and we quickly pulled ‘Baby’ from the paddock and George worked day and night for about 5 weeks to give her a full restoration.  

She was the perfect kombi for the job as she was auto and could seat 8.

It was an extremely crazy commitment which makes us shiver thinking about and to top it off it was winter in Diamond Creek and George’s workshop was pretty much a goat shed.

Harriett spent 6 weeks on the road with the Dan and Maz show and when she returned she had the full vinyl wrap removed and we gave her a full paint job for her first wedding in November 2014.

Since then she has continued bringing so much joy for special occasions and we especially love seeing her head out with families for day trips down the coast.

Our family love cruising around in Harriett when she is at home.  We jump in with our friends and the kids have so much fun together. We have watched her become part of so many special occasions and her energy becomes more beautiful everyday.

We had Mae who wasn’t yet 2 yrs old and I was pregnant with Kim and I was trying to keep the business going while George restored Harriett.

I collected the driver for the activation in the early hours of the morning from Melbourne and when I got to his door I cried.  I had that morning walked into the shed to find George asleep standing up in the middle of the kombi while trying to fit the sunroof.  He was absolutely exhausted.

I said to the man these last 5 weeks have been a nightmare so I’m sorry, I’m slightly emotional.  

I took him back to our farm and he and George headed off in the new kombi now called Pamela Vanderson.  George told the driver I have to sleep (because he hadn’t for 5 weeks) so take it really easy as it’s a new engine and needs to be run in.  4 hours into the trip George was awoken by a heavy knocking noise and a kombi moving at 110km per hr.  (not our idea of taking it easy)

George had been awoken to his worst possible scenario of the worst possible blow up.  She’d thrown a leg out of bed, which is the terminology used when a conrod punctures it’s way through the engine case.  The top end was brand new so it needed easy driving until it had learnt how to function in the loosening up process.  This is when the engine starts to operate and is no longer restricted by any friction holding it back.  This process takes around 500km - 1000km and under 100km per hr driving.

Moral of the story is the engine was cactus and she had to be put on a tow truck immediately and brought back to the Hire A Kombi HQ.

George called me and said take Applejack straight to our mates workshop so he can pull out his engine and they would put it in Harriett.

George arrived at 8pm to the workshop and by 11pm and 3 mechanics later the engine had been swapped over and Harriett was put back on the tow truck to Sydney for her video shoot at 8am.

They flew George up so he could make his final adjustments and be satisfied she was fit for their activation.

When George was on the flight home I remember feeling huge relief as it meant Harriett was finally finished and on our fleet.