Karmann-Go
VW Bus T4&5+|Issue 100
When you own ‘The fastest motorhome in the world’,getting to the campsite on time shouldn’t be a problem
Alan Hayward
This might be the most famous bus we’ve ever featured in the magazine. It is certainly a one-off, literally. As a Karmann Colorado owner, it has been on my radar for a long time now. It was built by Karmann-Mobil in Sprendlingen, near Mainz in Germany. Based loosely on the Colorado 655 TI layout and dubbed the Colorado RS, it is the only one Karmann built or indeed, will ever build.

First off let’s say it is a fully operational motorhome, officially a four-berth, it is more practically a two-person motorhome. With a fixed double bed in the rear, with a separate shower and WC to the side of this. There’s a wardrobe, a sink, a triple burner, and a reasonable amount of storage all laid out in a practical manner. Belted seating for four people including the driver. The rear passenger seats and table convert into a double bed. The front seats are one-offs and sit a little closer to the floor than normal.

Is any of the above what makes this bus famous? No, this is the fastest motorhome in the world! In the hands of racing driver, Sabine Schmitz, the Nurburgring specialist and occasional guest on Top Gear, it can lap that infamous and sinuous ribbon of tarmac, once dubbed ‘The Green Hell” by Sir Jackie Stewart in around eleven minutes! Search on YouTube and you will find videos of that feat. To put that lap in perspective, Sabine managed to lap the same circuit in nine minutes and twelve seconds in an unmodified Jaguar S-Type in 2004. The unvarnished facts are that this bus retains the original 5-cylinder 2.5 diesel engine. Unlike mine, it puts out a little more power than the perfectly adequate 174bhp that VW intended. With a new larger turbo, new injectors, quite possibly some undisclosed internal enhancements and some clever wizardry remapping the ECU, it now pumps out 350bhp. Capable of achieving speeds of up to 191kmh, or 119mph if you prefer.

It has uprated brakes and sits around 17mm closer to the ground with the aid of a trick set of KW coil-overs, without which it would definitely have fallen over at the Ring. Wheel wise at first glance the rims are similar to the 17” Sportline style hoops fitted to a lot of Colorados. A closer inspection reveals they are in fact 20” monsters. A little digging reveals they were custom built by C&W, who would have supplied the original spec rims, the tyres are load-rated 255/25/20 by Falken.

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