Even before I completed the restoration of my Kombi, I knew I was going to get myself one of those beautiful Westfalia roof racks. Not just because they looks awesome, but mainly because I needed a way to transport my surf gear to the beach. Luckily it is not very hard to find a descent replica Westfalia roof rack on the internet. A couple of search queries on eBay helped me to find a nice Empi roof rack for a reasonable 395 Euros.
Although I know that a standard roof rack like this will satisfy most of you, I got pretty bothered by the fact that, after 3 months, my brand new Empi roof rack looked like cr*p. The wood slates started to rot and the screws and frame were starting to show the first signs of rust. I figured that this could be done much better so I took the whole thing apart and modified the following parts:
- Got rid of the cheap wooden slats and installed oiled hardwood slats.
- Welded nuts into the framework to get rid of the hassle of loose bolts and nuts to install the clamps.
- Replaced all bolts and nuts with stainless steal ones.
- Sandblasted the painted frame to have it powder coated.
- Polished the aluminium frame.
- Glued rubber* around the clamps to prevent them from scratching the paintwork.
The whole procedure costed 75 Euros, but it has proven to be worth all the effort; my roof rack has been in use for the past two years, it only came off ones to re-oil the hardwood slats.
* The rubber which I glued around the clamps can easily be obtained by cutting used inner tubes in little pieces which fold around the clamps; cheap and efficient!