Meet Walter The Bus, a super-sized replica of a Volkswagen classic that Kirk Strawn, the owner, custom-made out of the chassis of a 1963 fire truck.
It’s a totally groovy party truck that will get you rocking like never before on the road as you can see here:
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Video credit: Rumble
Kirk and his friends happened upon the truck rotting in a junkyard so they decided to make something out of it that would be really out of this world. And so Walter was born, after the Walter Truck Company that manufactured the truck.
Kirk, from Arizona, said: “There’s always a smile whenever anybody sees Walter. You just don’t see something like this driving the road every day.
“It just brightens your day. It opens your eyes and makes you wonder what else might be possible.”
The truck was found in 2003 but it wasn’t until 2006 that it finally came to life after the labors of more than 100 people.
Kirk said: “The team that assembled Walter has really become family and we’ve been doing this for over a decade now. It’s inspired lots of other builds, so much artwork, and so much creativity.”
As a two-to-one scale version of the classic VW bus, its 13-ft 2-inch height and 30.7-foot length certainly garnered a lot of attention.
Kirk has been to Burning Man 11 times and even shows up for Google and SpaceX events.
But it’s not just the imposing size that makes Walter unique. Inside are a lot of features that make sure you can party literally on the road.
The truck runs on a 330-horsepower engine coupled with a 40-gallon gas tank, a three-speed manual with an air clutch and a torque converter.
And to make sure mobile parties are always heard, 85 speakers are scattered throughout the bus, juiced up by four amps on each side of the vehicle for a 360-degree sound system coverage.
The interior is lit up by more than 20,000 colored LED lights while an onboard misting system adds ambiance to any gathering.
Nate Matzenbacher, the lead mechanic for Walter, explained: “There are large crowds of people that are just as astounded as anyone else to see something this crazy. They will kind of forget that it’s a large moving vehicle and will walk right out in front of you without a second thought just taking a picture.”
Good thing the driver’s seat is situated five feet higher compared to the original which allows for a good view of the road ahead, complemented by multiple cameras throughout the exterior for better situational awareness.
“It’s good to be able to see 100% around you while you’re driving,” said Nate.
“We generally have spotters and walkers that come along with us and ensure that nobody walks under a tire or something like that.”
It’s certainly a good post-retirement gig for the former Air Force truck.
“He was at one of the local air force bases,” said Kirk.
“His service was standing by on the runway and if a plane would crash he was designed to drive right up to the crash and discharge the contents of his water tanks, putting a giant gallop of foam over the fire, and trying to save whoever was still in the plane.
“Really he’s only had one purpose, and that was to save lives, so it’s fun to see him having this second chance at doing something different.”
Kirk is hard-pressed to put a figure on how much he has invested into Walter but it’s all beside the point as the important thing is that Walter is very much part of the community he helped to set up.
He said: “One of the most amazing things about Walter is that he spawned a community of people who have come together and continue to create. And the foundation of that is really giving things a second chance.”
Kirk also runs a community-based art and entertainment company, also called Walter, that helps children “express themselves through art and technology”.
Kirk says Walter has played a huge part in the success of the company because of the unique experience he has helped people achieve across the country.
He said: “It was so unlikely that Walter could have come back and could have had all the crazy adventures that he’s had over these years – gone all the places, done all of these things.
“I think Walter is the ultimate ride because there’s only one and he is such an interesting vehicle with an interesting history. He has changed so many people’s lives including mine.”