During a random browse of 'Marktplaats' in 2001, I stumbled across this split screen van in the city of Leeuwarden in the Northern province of Friesland, the Netherlands. As a respected (and only) member of the self founded “Save the Splitty” foundation, I assigned myself to lead this provincial boundary crossing rescue: on 20 October 2001 we set off on a 500 km trip, crossing the Netherlands from South to North and back.

When we arrived in Leeuwarden, it appeared the situation was worse than we additionally thought: not only was there significant damage to the side panel, there was also a big chunk missing from the front! After assessing the chances of survival for this extreme case, we agreed on the ransom money and pushed her onto the trailer; which turned out not to be that easy without a winch!

Second challenge was to figure out how we were going to keep the van from rolling off the trailer with the absence of functioning handbrakes; some tie down straps needed to be purchased! Unfortunately, the Friesian language barrier caused us to visit a multitude of hardware stores trying to find some decent tie downs. Eventually we ended up with four tow straps: lost in translation… It did the job though and we could finally start the journey back home.

Further investigation showed that Hazel Armstrong is an original Dutch Volkswagen split screen van. Sold in 1964 by the Texelse Autocentrale (name of car dealer) at the island of Texel (North-West coast of the Netherlands). The first owner, Mr. De Wit, used the van at his farm until he sold it as a wreck after the accident that damaged the left side of the van. The van was shipped back to the mainland, where it was sold again, and again, and again, without anyone ever really starting the project, making me the second registered owner!