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From The Florida Swamp To The Pomona Swap Meet!

A few days ago, we shared a post about a craigslist ad that featured numerous unusual vintage classics, including an exceedingly rare Brubaker Box. The new owner of the Brubaker, Dale, runs a shop with his partner Tomo at Driven.co (yes, no “m”) where they keep an eye out for rare and oddball cars to either sell or restore and sell later on. Right now, they’re considering developing reproduction molds for the original Brubaker, of which only three are believed to exist. Check out the original article here on Barn Finds or head to the renowned Pomona Swap Meet to see it in person!

Many believe the Brubaker is the world’s first minivan, and it’s not far-fetched considering the idea came from one Curtis Brubaker, who felt he could improve upon the functionality of the original VW Microbus. The Brubaker Box was built on a VW Beetle chassis with custom fiberglass panels and a sliding door. The design was a collaboration between Curtis, Todd Gerstenberger, and Harry Wykes. Its fame was short-lived, however, as Curtis Brubaker filed for bankruptcy shortly after a handful of cars were built. Mike Hansen was one of the initial investors that backed the Brubaker Box. He went on to form Automecca and produced the second batch of 20 or so vehicles and kits. Mike passed away two years ago but his daughter Deborah has been keeping the flame alive by hosting the Brubaker Box Fans page on Facebook.

With total Brubaker production believed to be in the single digits, finding a real one is nothing short of a needle in a haystack. Dale and his partner kept a genuine Brubaker at the top of their list of vehicles they’d like to own, and after years of searching, they finally found one in pieces in a storage unit. When the one we featured popped up in a Florida Swamp, they had to have it! You can share in the moment of euphoria and exhilaration in the photo above, or you can take comfort in knowing that they’ve already started working on test molds to assess the viability and potential costs of creating an authentic kit. That’s a replica of the sliding door seen above.

Now, whether you want to own a Brubaker in the future or not, the annual Pomona Swap Meet is an event not to be missed. The Pomona Swap Meet & Classic Car Show is held seven times per year at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. Thousands of classic cars (many for sale, some just for show) from across the country are displayed by their owners in the Car Corral, and you can see one of the very few authentic Brubakers still in existence there – maybe you’ll even make a crazy enough offer to take Dale’s home with you! Be sure to RSVP for the Brubaker unveiling event here; find out more about the upcoming swap meet here.


  1. Ted

    Dare to be different, like to see one of these with Porsche guts….he he…..

    Like 4
  2. Bruce

    The Meyers Manix SR and the Brubaker Box were two of the most ambitious kit cars ever designed, I would wonder where they would get their floor pans these days. I suspect that additional structural framing might be a good idea, but these both are wonderfully different. I for one would love to have one. I would check to see if sidewinder Japanese 4 cylinder engines could or would work with either of these designs. In todays market an automatic transmission would be a critical design and marketing requirement.
    I had heard that there was a problem of drumming at certain speeds. The original Lotus Elite had the same problem as does my Lotus Europa. That is easily fixed by some 1/4″± foam rods, some 3″ wide fiberglass in a few layers and resin used to form interior ribs as required to allow additional structure to firm up the large flat panels. It worked very well on my Europa hood, doors and rear deck lid with almost weight added. I do wish them well and I would love to see a number of them running around on the roads in the near future.

    Like 3
    • misterlou Member

      What do you mean by “drumming”?

      Like 1
      • Rick Rothermel

        Drumming, I’ve called it ‘thrumming’, is the vibration of components at certain speeds or frequencies. My dad had a nice ’60 Borgward Isabella Combi back in the 60s that would set up rhythmic vibration of metal interior panels at certain engine rpms and road speeds. At 45 mph it would be noisy, at 50 it would calm down. Most newer vehicles are muffled and muted to prevent that, with methods as Bruce described above.

        Like 2
    • Blyndgesser

      I’m thinking WRX powertrain transplant.

      Like 0
  3. Brakeservo

    Not sure how a Brubaker could be the first mini-van . . . ever see an old 1950’s era Multipla??

    Like 0
  4. Robert H Liebbe

    I saw a Brubaker at a car show in Texas recently. Original owner and recently fully restored, it was very cool..

    Like 0

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