Busman's Holiday

If you own a VW van and want it to sound better, take it to Accutek

Busman’s Holiday

 

 

Founding partner of Accutek Stuart Crombie is an unabashed VW fan. Any vehicle which carries that iconic badge has at sometime or other come under his and business partner Chris Payne’s scrutiny and in Stuart’s case, left behind a growing encyclopaedic knowledge of the “People’s Car” in all of its forms.

 

Stuart owns both classic and modern Beetles as well as the captivatingly brown T25 transporter pictured within this piece. It is his own van and my need to give it a close look and listen that took us to Kingsworthy near Winchester to take some pictures and talk to one of my favourite characters in car audio.

 

Stuart is extremely self-effacing and quietly passionate about car audio and I like him for that. Shortly after arrival I am desperate to get in his van and have a listen. I really like the Audison Voce install in Stuart’s modern Beetle and was expecting something beautiful however, his van simply has a pair of Rainbow Sound Line components running straight from an Alpine head unit with a Rainbow inteli-8 powered subwoofer mounted under the drivers seat! What’s going on? Stuart explains; “This is my family holiday vehicle. We take just about every holiday in it as well as most weekends in the summer months. As a family, we don't really listen seriously to music on the move. My children play games in the back and my wife and I like to talk and listen to the radio and sometimes a CD but a full-on system isn't what we require.” – In fact due to the liberal use of Skinz sound-deadening and panel liner which Stuart always recommends to other van owners, it does sound surprisingly good as it is. I am still intrigued as to why he has put so much effort into other aspects of the vehicle though.

 

Stuart tells us the story; “I have had many vans which I have taken apart and put back together again. This latest one, I have had for about three years now. It has been totally gutted and rebuilt. It has a Subaru Quad Cam 2.5Litre engine in it a Vauxhall Corsa power steering rack, twin headlight grilles from a 1990 Caravelle, Porsche wheels and it has been lowered. I have corrected a couple of minor design defects including fabricating a frame to go around the rear windows on the inside providing a much nicer finish which won't rip and let condensation travel down from the window, rotting the metal below. I have also installed new kitchen furniture, which is made of real wood. Two of the doors are a totally different colour as they have just been fitted but within three weeks they will match the others. These are all modifications that appeal to owners of this kind of vehicle and I wanted to know exactly how to do them myself. Most summer weekends I go to VW meets and spend happy hours nattering away to other owners and sharing knowledge and ideas. This all helps with the business of course as sooner or later owners will get on to the subject of audio. These meets are not really the place for me to be demonstrating audio although there are many of my customers who do. Interested potential customers are always encouraged to come along to the workshop where I am able to demonstrate different levels of install and talk about their specific needs.”

 

As a result of Stuart’s enthusiasm and close connection with other owners, he ends up taking on quite a few VW Transporter projects. These tend to be ongoing and although his business interest is in providing audio systems he will also take on refits, trim work and is increasingly commissioned to “project manage” major restoration projects.

 

Stuart had organised an array of transporters from over the years for us to look at. All of these are ongoing projects some of which have been in and out of his workshop as the owner’s time and money has allowed. A huge spread of customers with different budgets and tastes take vehicles to Accutek and we will run down the status of each of those we were introduced to on the day.

 

The T1 or “Splitty” has recently had a system consisting of a Hertz HDP5 amplifier, running a pair of Hertz HSK 165’s in neatly tailored enclosures installed. Despite the low position of the tweeters, the image still plays at ear height – testament to the dispersion characteristic but also indicative of Stuart’s tweaking ability. The customer wanted plenty of bass, which would drive through when sitting at 70 MPH on the motorway and so a pair of 8” Hertz High Energy subwoofers in a beautiful custom box are mounted behind the front seats. A pair of Hertz ECX 100 coaxial speakers provides rear-seated passengers with a sense of what is going on up front.

 

The T2 or “Bay” is a work in progress and owner Ricky joined us for the day. His restoration project is looking great so far but audio has not been fully tackled yet. Having said this, Stuart has managed to install a double DIN head unit into the dash partly to cover up a poor attempt by a previous owner at fitting window switches under the original DIN slot. These are now mounted below the new head unit.

 

The silver T5 is part way through what promises to be a spectacular audio system build. Featuring two Hertz HCP1D monoblock amplifiers each running a Hertz Hi-energy 10” subwoofer both of which have been built into a tricky custom enclosure which cleverly fits underneath the incredibly sturdy rear seat/bed chassis. A Hertz HCP4 amplifier runs a pair of Hertz HSK 165 components up front and a pair of Hertz ECX 130 coaxials in the rear. My initial thought is to keep well away from any campsites that might be visited by this absolute beast of a system. However, it has been so heavily soundproofed that Stuart tells me he can play it extremely loud in his workshop and with the doors and windows closed, hardly hear it!

 

The final vehicle on show also belongs to Ricky and is a T6 considered by many to be a T5 with a facelift - but that is an argument for other publications and forums. This has had an Alpine 8”-screened head unit neatly installed up front which drives Stuart’s favourite Hertz HDP 5 amplifier. This drives a pair of Hertz HSK 165’s up front which are seated on solid wood mounts with a waterproof membrane as VW drain residual water from the window rubber through the inside of the front doors. This is a very neat and deliberate feature but one that can limit the life of a speaker due to water damage. Alas, we were not able to get any internal shots but perhaps we will arrange to carry out a full review on this vehicle in the next issue.

 

A visit to Accutek with your van can only end well. Stuart employs such skill, knowledge and attention to detail that you are guaranteed a fantastic result. Even his wiring is beautiful and almost a shame to hide away! Your journey begins with a seat at his “information station” and a guided tour through an enormous gallery of images of previous installations carried out. You will always be sold the system that is best for you in all respects.

 

Ricky’s Top 5 Driving Sounds

Avicii - Wake me up

Jason Derulo - Talk Dirty

Chromeo - I’m not contagious

Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow

Sam and the Womp - Bom Bom

 


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