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Joey Kelly: To China in a Van

Extreme athlete drives more than 12,000 kilometers from Berlin to Beijing in a restored bus with his son, Luke.

In a restored T1, the extreme sportsman and TV star, Joey Kelly, wants to travel from Berlin to Beijing together with his son, Luke (18). In late June, they started their journey to the Chinese capital without any money for gas or food – they wanted to earn it on the way by doing odd jobs.

The 45-year-old received support from Volkswagen Classic Parts for the repair of the van. Together with the Classic Competence Center Auto Wichert from Hamburg, they got the old T1, which Kelly had discovered in a barn in southern Germany, in shape for the long journey. Everything had to be overhauled, from technology to interior fittings. What was important, however, was that the classic needed to remain a classic. The looks remained untouched, and there was no room for the latest technology.

12,000 kilometers in a restored T1: Joey Kelly and his son Luke (18) are driving from Berlin to Beijing.

As an extreme athlete, Kelly is used to rough situations: seven years ago, he hustled his way from west to east through 17 US states without money or food. He has already run 50 marathons, more than ten desert runs, and well over 100 half marathons. His son, Luke, emulates his father, himself also an enthusiastic marathon runner who climbed Kilimanjaro at the early age of just 15.

Final check: an employee explains the necessary repairs to Joey Kelly.

Nevertheless, the more than 12,000 kilometers across Russia, Mongolia, and northern China pose a special challenge for the two exceptional athletes. Kelly: “Siberia gets very hot during the day in the summer. And after Moscow it’s a real no man’s land. The roads in Mongolia aren’t very good. We will have to concentrate especially hard there to avoid damaging the bus.” Stefan Neubacher, CEO of Volkswagen Classic Parts: “Two legends hitting the road! The T1 and Joey Kelly embody and accomplish what others can’t.” You can follow the journey on the TV program “Stern TV” on RTL. A broadcast date has not yet been set.

"Two legends hitting the road! The T1 and Joey Kelly embody and accomplish what others can’t."

Stefan Neubacher, CEO of Volkswagen Classic Parts