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Reunion with First Volkswagen Speed-Trap Van

Former police officer Heinz Scholze returns to his workplace after 54 years.

What a reunion! They’re two originals who go way back and have stories to tell: Former police sergeant Heinz Scholze (89) and the first radar speed-trap van met again after 54 years at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers in Hanover-Limmer.

Ex-policeman Scholze puts on the old blue police coat and sits down on a wooden chair in the back of the vintage van. The sprightly pensioner turns knobs on the built-in traffic radar machine “Telefunken VRG2,” taps on switches, and jokes: “Give me 15 minutes and I’ll be completely caught up! Then we can head out again.”

It all started for him in August 1961, when he was part of the second radar training course in Lower Saxony. That meant Scholze was one of the first policemen to scan for speeders using the new VRG2 measuring system. He did so on the road, from a Volkswagen van.

And the vintage car experts of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles recently brought just this vehicle out of its long sleep – a 1953-model Volkswagen speed-trap van that policemen used to train radar measurements. The blue van had stood in garages and barns for roughly 54 years, covered in dust and largely unnoticed. Most recently, it was parked at the shop of a master mechanic in Hanover-Badenstedt.

"Give me 15 minutes and I’ll be completely caught up! Then we can head out again"

Heinz Scholze (89), former police officer

Oil change and new battery – the van just keeps going and going ...
Tobias Twele, a project manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, discovered the van. And he still raves about it: “After 54 years of downtime, all we had to do was change the oil and spark plugs, and put in a new battery.” They turned the key – and heard the typical deep bubbling sound of the 25-bhp flat four engine. Twele adds: “The van hardly has any rust on the underbody and load-bearing parts. It’s still in really good shape!” The vintage car experts want to leave it in its original condition. That also goes for the decades worth of dust on the roof and in the drip molding. “That definitely has to stay,” Twele says. “It’s all part of this van!”

But quality is one area where this T-series van isn’t showing its age. And the police still appreciate that quality; in Hanover alone, there are currently over 159 Volkswagen vans in use. The oldest is a T4 built in 1998. So there’s plenty of life in these vans yet!