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Automation RestoMod Chapter 8: Revisiting Woodstock (Reviews posted!)

Automation RestoMod Chapter 8:

Revisiting Woodstock

Hi there, and welcome to the eighth chapter of Automation RestoMod! Automation RestoMod (ARM) is a challenge series focused on taking older, preferably real cars and restomodding them. The criteria for modding are provided by each host, and vary Chapter to Chapter. For a more in-depth description of the ARM vision and to get a feeling for the flavour the series so far, please read through the previous Chapters.

The Car

For this chapter, you will be given a 1972 Volkswagen Transporter Type 2. The Volkswagen Transporter, affectionately known as the VW Bus, was originally meant as a simple delivery vehicle based on the VW Beetle. It featured a novel rear engine layout allowing an incredibly spacious interior (although, unfortunately, this Automation version is front engined due to a very inaccurate body… grr). This spacious interior made it popular with college aged kids due to its’ ability to easily carry lots of people and equipment. Many of the same students who owned a microbus also helped grow the 1960s’ counterculture developing in the US. Despite being much slower than other vehicles on the road, people would pile into a microbus to attend demonstrations, concerts and peace rallies all over the country. Its’ distinctive shape and prominence at such events eventually made it the symbol of hippies and counterculture. The Type 2 was the second generation of Bus, debuting in 1968. It replaced the iconic split windshield with a single glass pane, had an updated interior, upgraded suspension, and featured a slightly larger engine and updated styling.

The Client

This is long, so I put it in a dropdown to make it easier to navigate the post

"Hey, my name is Mike Richards. I’m 70 years old and live in Berkeley, California. Back when I was younger, I used to spend all my time living on the road, going to various festivals with some buddies, listening to great music, smoking weed and tripping on LSD under the stars. I went to Woodstock '69, the Be-In, Monterey Pop Festival, all the greats as well as many others all over California. Oh, man, the stories, I could go on for hours. It was truly a transcendent part of my life. As I went to all these places, the vehicle that took me to all these places and wove its way throughout my life was my 1961 VW Bus. It wasn’t fast, it was dented and a bit ratty, and it sure wasn’t flashy, but man, the times we had in that thing! Grateful Dead playing on the aftermarket 8-track, cute ladies in the back, there was simply nothing like it. Sadly, in 1975, I totaled that Bus. It had been good to me till then, but there was a car that suddely slowed down in front of me and the brakes simply went out. That was that. I was a little more matured by then, had started working a steady job instead of just doing odd jobs now and then wherever I could find them to keep the Bus running and food in my mouth, but I never completely let go of the life I led, man. So, naturally, I went and I looked for another Bus. In the classifieds, I saw this orange 1972 T2 Bus, in great condition, and I immediately knew it was the perfect fit. That car served me well, man. Lasted me through settling down, courting my wife, marrying her, and having 2 beautiful young kids. Had many, many great memories in that car as well. However, as it started pushing 12 years or so, I started to worry about the safety of carrying my kids in a vehicle that unsafe, that slow, and it seemed to be breaking down more frequently, which over time I got less fond of doing. Managed to keep those feelings at bay for a fair bit longer, until in '90 or so my wife Jackie finally convinced me to get a new, safe minivan to replace it. However, the sentimental attachments, the memories I had in VW buses were too strong, and I couldn’t bring myself to sell it. I drove it occasionally until '95, when the carb died and I parked it by the shed, where the repair was delayed for 15 years, as I got distracted my other things and it sat there neglected. Eats me up each time I look at it, sitting out there, begging to be rescued. It’s in a bit of a sorry state after all this time, with flat tires, decaying paint, a missing mirror, bumper and a little rust. The kids are all out of the house now, I have a bit of money saved up, and so I figured, why not relive my youth a little bit? However, I don’t want to just restore it to stock. The slowpoke engine and the uncomfortable seats just won’t do it for me anymore, my wife will kill me if what I drive isn’t safe, and I want something that will stand out. Something out there compared to all the other Buses, something that will bring a smile to my face when I drive it, something that has power and some character inside and out. I also don’t want to erase all the great memories this car brought. I can’t wait to see what far-out ideas you come up with!

Judging Criteria

Two categories, both ranked from high to low importance:

Aesthetics and Overall Package (all of these are important, despite the ranked list):

Uniqueness (judged by moi)
Prestige (stat)
Cohesiveness- both styling, engineering, story- how well does it accomplish what it intends?
Authenticity (judged by moi, but backed up by stats)
Practicality (judged by moi, based on interior and exterior usefulness)


Comfort (stat)
Cost (stat)
Drivability (stat)
Sportiness/Offroad (stat)- how well does it accomplish what it intends? Added up for a total score


Safety (at least 40)
Gas must be either 91 or 95
MPG (15)
A catalytic converter and at least one muffler of some variety are required
Set model and trim year to 2020
ET of less than 140 for the engine, 150 for the trim
Must cost less than 40k- unfortunately, Mike isn't rich, and this is all he could scrounge up!
No V16s, I don't have the DLC and it's not exactly a realistic choice anyways
All cars must also submit an advertisement! This can be as simple as just a few photos and the name of the car, but it is very useful, so for this ARM, I am requiring it.

More Requirements

When building your restomod, you are allowed to morph wheel wells, but nothing else- go crazy with fixtures though! You may swap out the engine for a swap cost of $3k and a hit to authenticity. Repainting the car (removing anything beyond the rust, dents and mold) also costs $1.5k- the patina, while not the prettiest, is authentic, so if you can think of something interesting to do with it, it will play to your advantage! You may swap panels, but it will also incur the repainting penalty and hurt authenticity heavily. You cannot swap chassis materials/type or add chassis quality. If you keep the stock engine, you cannot change the block or head material. Changing engine orientation costs $2k and is probably pointless, but if you want to, go for it!

Other Crucial Information

For this challenge, you will be allowed to have a short interview with Mike to gain a little more info about any parts of the brief or preferences he might have. You are allowed to ask him 2 questions total. Don’t worry, he will be more succinct than in the initial brief! To interview him, please DM me with your question and he will respond! (Credit to @cake_ape for this idea, which he brought up possibly adding quite a while ago)

If you keep the patina on the Bus, you get an authenticity bonus of 2 points.

Because the VW Bus is a lot larger and more open for creativity than an average car, interiors are especially important in this challenge and will be scored as an important part of the overall design!

As always, it never hurts to provide a good backstory to tie your build together! If you can justify engineering decisions, chances are a lot higher that unconventional or otherwise odd decisions will be let slide… At the end of the day, all engineering decisions will be judged in the context of your overall build, so please consider that in the process of creating your car!

Make sure all stats are better than the original car!

The naming scheme for this challenge is Model/Engine Family- ARM8- (your username). If this naming scheme is not followed, you will be instabinned.

The year on the family and trim of both engine and body must be set to 2020.

You must clone your car's engine family/variant and body model/trim completely before beginning work on it.

In case you have forgotten how to properly clone a car completely or are new to ARM, this video is super important to avoid an instabin:

Here is the car file:

ARM8-_(forum_username)_-_VW_Transporter_T2.car (64.3 KB)

The deadline is midnight on July 28, Pacific Standard Time. You may submit as soon as July 14th. Good luck to all!


One slight question on the format - what sort of format will the interviews take? Should we send our questions here, for everyone to see, or should it go in DMs?

Ah, might miss this one, I am coming back on the 24th, will be tight to do something in 4 days, good luck all!

DMs. Should have mentioned that, my bad!

generally you send questions in the main thread for clarifications, but you send .car files through DMs

OOC: This is a more realistic approach to how a restomod firm would ask the client questions. The idea is that you would get the same base info, and then they might email the client with more specific questions after. That is typically not info that would then be given to everyone unless the specific firm asked for it. I don’t want everyone to get all the extra, more specific info about Dave because at the end of the day, I want the cars to be interesting and unique approaches, rather than super specifically based on the extra sixteen questions people ask! The main brief already says a ton as it is.


After some feedback, some requirements have been adjusted and rebalanced! Please double check the requirements again if you have started building to avoid a potential bin.

Finally, a restomodding challenge that doesn’t have performance in mind as a major judging criterion. I’m sure that comfort and drivability will be major priorities, though.

And in the context of this challenge, patina refers to the array of decals placed on the base trim and chosen carefully so that they simulate rust, faded paint and mold after decades of neglect.

I am missing a mod. Is there one I need to download?

Yes, there are! The Bus uses a few mods, although I tried to be very sparing with my use of them. The ones that you might be missing: the Camper Window mod (I think the name was something like that?), perhaps the rims (can’t remember the name), or maybe the rust/moss mod (which I also forget the name of). It also uses Patchwork, but I assume you have it. Try importing it, it should be pretty immediately obvious what’s missing, then you can grab the mod off the Workshop and reimport!

Submissions are now open!


I recognize that the submission window has already opened and therefore I probably shouldn’t be editing the brief further, however, I realized there was something important that needed to be cleared up, thanks to a message @cake_ape sent in the Discord about the Practicality stat:

After thinking it over, I decided that it probably made a lot more sense to base Practicality on the space usage of the exterior and interior of the vehicle rather than the stat, which I had intended to use. If you go up and look at that section of the brief, that has been edited to match! However, after Cake pointed that out, I also recognized that I hadn’t done a good enough job breaking down the scoring for everything else. As such, in the Judging section, you can now see exactly what aspects of the build are relevant to each category! I’d recommend looking over the rules one last time just to make sure it is all clear. Assuming nothing else like this comes up, I intend to leave the rules as is from this point on! Anyways, happy building, and I can’t wait to see what wacky and wonderful things you all come up with!


Bespoke Restomods is proud to present…

The Bespoke T2 Woodstock Tribute

With a livery inspired by the posters for the very first Woodstock festival, the T2 hearkens back to a simpler time, a happier time - but once you strip it away, it’s all modern. The car has been polished off, lovingly restored and rebuilt to perfect condition. Every last piece of rust and mold has been removed, the paint has been stripped off, and a new metallic green coat has been added.

The interior has been filled with premium leather and wood, and enough screens for all the grandkids. A leather soft-top has been installed, to get all the fresh air into the cabin. Seven seats have been installed, enough for a party with room to spare - but comfort has not been compromised, utilising moulded seats rather than benches. The middle seats have been configured as rear-facing, with padded tables built in, to allow for people to enjoy socialising during the drive. All of the technology on the interior has been designed with safety in mind as well, featuring advanced biometric monitoring, impact detection and automated emergency calls, alongside plenty of sensors and assistance.

The Woodstock edition is designed for mobility and dependability. With All-Wheel-Drive and a manually-lockable differential, it will take you wherever you want to go - from the beach, to the festivals, to the childrens’ houses. BRM has taken advantage of their performance knowledge to add advanced intake ducts into the logo, for further cooling, and high-performance brake ducts which provide dependable stopping power on the vented steel brakes. The original panels have been retained, but a rustproofing treatment has been applied to ensure a lasting finish free from wear and tear.

The Woodstock Tribute comes with a modern turbocharged inline six. This new engine delivers incredibly low emissions, noise and vibration, meeting the most stringent of environmental standards. BRM has paid the utmost importance to fuel efficiency, using individual throttle bodies in the direct-injection system, a twin-cam design and advanced, friction-optimised pistons. The resulting engine is so efficient that you could easily get from San Diego to San Francisco on a single fill of the T2’s stock 56L tank. It is paired with a modern 7-speed automatic transmission; the original suspension setup has been kept, but new springs, dampers and sway bars have been installed.

A basic kitchenette has been included in the rear, featuring a sink, and the ability to dispense boiling or chilled water. These features are all computer-controlled, and are protected by cutoffs which disable the systems when the car is taken out of park. Storage is provided under the sink, as well as in two easily-accessable vintage cloth chests, restored to match the rest of the interior.


As we are now nearing 1 week left and the deadline becomes more relevant, I have created a countdown timer so it is easy to find out exactly how long is left to finish your build!



for an engine swap does the 3k price cap come from the material cost of the engine or price the whole car?

The $3k fee is added to the price of the whole car.

Mons Customs

Introducing the

Volkswagen T2 "Pullman"

Dear Mr. Richards,

Please accept this letter as our formal offer to restomod your iconic 1972 Volkswagen Transporter T2. We understand your love for this vehicle and all the memories you have built in it. True to Mons Customs tradition, we aim to preserve as much of the original vehicle as possible while giving it a refreshed yet authentic look and feel. If you choose our custom shop, we guarantee the best experience in your custom modded VW that you can imagine!


Mons Customs has opted to retain much of the original components of your VW. It sports the original paint, panels, and naturally aspirated boxer-4 engine. While much improved in many areas under the skin, and sporting a brand new totally custom hand-built interior, this car remains authentic and true to itself, and will make you feel right at home in your orange bus!


Mons Customs has taken all of its talent and resources to make this vehicle as comfortable as possible. On the mechanical side we swapped in a MultiLink rear suspension and installed a comfortable hydropneumatic system all around for the smoothest ride possible. The interior is fully rebuilt by hand and features high-grade materials all around, and includes the latest and greatest technology at your fingertips.


Due to the new all-wheel drive system, user-friendly advanced automatic gearbox, ESC, electric variable power steering, perfectly tuned brakes, and modern safety features, the car is extremely easy to drive and safe to handle.


The original engine of the car has been retained, but has been rebuilt and retuned by the Mons Racing team. The 1.7L B-4 engine now runs much smoother, quieter, and more energy efficient, while producing 2.5 times as much power as the original. Thanks to many off-road oriented components, this bus is also fully ready to take on any trails you might want to take during your cross-country treks and camping trips. You will not get stuck in the mud at Woodstock 3, that’s guaranteed!

Mr. Richards, please find attached photorealistic renders of our vision for your VW T2 and detailed specifications. Thank you for your consideration.

Mons Customs

Under the hood

Mons Racing has rebuilt and retuned the original 1.7L boxer-4 engine of your T2 with a special attention to power and smooth operation, while keeping fuel economy in mind. The engine now provides 152 HP and 164 Nm torque, while the bus now manages 21.4 MPG (or 11.0 L/100 km). The power plant has also been repainted with the valvetrain cover painted in the same orange as the bus itself.

The engine is mated to a six-speed advanced automatic gearbox, which feeds power to all four wheels through a modern all-wheel drive system. The off-road capability of the bus is maximized through a manual locker differential, power is kept on the pavement (or dirt) with off-road tires, and the suspension has disconnecting sway bars at the push of a button. The oversized and well-vented brakes provide ample stopping power in any condition and any load.


Mons Customs has aimed to retain as much of the original look of the T2 as possible. We opted to keep the original paint, but removed any mold and rust patches, and weather sealed the exterior to prevent further paint and panel degradation. We think that the original look of your bus, including its weathered look, is a homage to all the memories you have built in it, and it would be a sin to erase that.

There are, however, very subtle changes made to the exterior of the bus. All lighting has been swapped to modern bright LEDs, providing ample and safe illumination even on the darkest of nights on back-country roads. We have repainted the rims and sealed them as well for further weather protection.

In terms of functionality, we have installed electronic steps that extend below the doors to provide ease of access to the interior, and retract during driving. We have installed hand grips on the sides of the vehicle to provide access to the largest exterior feature: the expandable roof!

The expandable roof creates more headspace inside, so now you can stand up and move around with ease. It also lets in extra light, and extra air if the windows are opened. There is also a side vestibule that can be erected over the side of the bus, to create a nice shaded patio when you’re camped out somewhere.

Lastly, with the increased towing capacity of the bus, we have added a towing hook, so you can always carry a trailer or camper on your long trips!


The Mons Customs team has taken painstaking care to make the interior of your T2 as practical as it is comfortable. In the trunk we provide a built-in fridge at the bottom, which you can load with anything you need to keep cold on a long trip. On top of the fridge, the cargo space is ample for all your luggage needs.

In the front, you have two comfortable captain’s chairs, and all the creature comforts that any luxury vehicle would be jealous of, including the latest in HUD technology and the best audio system available on the market today. All of this is packaged in a retro-modern look:

The rear interior has three configurations:

  1. The driving configuration. In this configuration the passenger seats all face forward, providing comfortable seating for seven people in the bus if you want to transport friends or family:

  1. The party configuration. In this configuration the middle passenger seats swivel rearward to face the rear bench. The table moves into position and can be expanded. There is a hidden record player with remote control that normally is housed under the middle console and under the front seats, but in this configuration it can be brought out to play your favourite records too!

  1. The sleeping configuration. When you travel with your wife, you can remove the middle seats, and the rear couch extends into a comfortable bed for you to sleep on.



I did have something that, now, won’t be gracing this post!


You know, you could very much still have a shot at this! Engineering is still important, and there are plenty of ways to think outside the box and get more design ideas! I’d suggest looking at furniture or interior design for some more inspiration, since this is more like a house on wheels than your average car and there’s lots of unique stuff out there! Up to you if you want to continue building, but don’t feel discouraged! There are plenty of different ways to win an ARM. :slightly_smiling_face:


Yeah, I’d hate to see people not submit/post because what someone else has posted already. There are many ways to win. I have taken a risky approach by keeping the original engine and the original paint, and using those funds to maximize the engineering. But is it worth it? Who knows… only the client can tell. It could very well pay off to take either of those cost bumps for a better engine, or for better and more unique exterior looks. The beauty of this challenge is that there are so many options and trade-offs to choose from.

TLDR, I hope to see many posts and submissions, because I want to see peoples’ various interpretations of this challenge :slight_smile: