Rothfink vs Andy Rudd’s Ace Trucking Co.’s T25
I have to say, when I first meet him, I’m struggling to think of famous transport links to Wolverhampton to try and jibe a reaction out of Andy other than Sunbeam cars. Just so I can appear seemingly researched in order to make some kind of sarcastic comparison. After not doing that, as I am a thoughtful journalist (who enjoys lying) I still can’t think of a single export from the midlands to compare this to. In fact there’s nothing it could be compared to which is a good omen, because the only one thing I will ever think of now when I am reminded of Wolverhampton is this unreal T25.
I purposely didn’t instigate cheap wisecracks about the lack of trophies for his hometown team Wolves either, as this isn’t about football. I’m too afraid to even ask if he enjoys the sport, he’s an instantly likeable and intriguing character, and I partly fear for my safety so the last thing I want to provoke is a football related blarney.
Even If he says hop in, I’ll just say no. I just like how it looks right now. Stationary.
Telling him when we meet up that I’ve pretty much seen every conceivable idea and perversion that boldly emblazons a VW badge, I’m telling the truth when I say I have never ever seen anything like this. He cracks a smile. I’m intrigued and I want to know what is actually going on in the mind of madman from the Midlands. What makes him skip lunch and dinner spending hours out in all weather covered in oil and grime? What is this jaw dropping machine he’s spawned like a real life Black Country Dr. Frankenstein.
Does the bloody thing even move? Because this wagon isn’t on the ground, it’s in the ground.
I dread to think how fellow motorists react when they’re cruising innocently down the M5 on their merry way. Do they slow down thinking maybe the hazards don’t work, and Andy is actually in fact darting for the hard shoulder with double axle failure? The T25 is a vehicle that will always be brought up in ‘you wouldn’t believe what I saw today’ type conversations, only to be instantly greeted with scepticism. It’s not a head turner, it’s an off with his head turner.
With around a hefty 2cm of clearance, we have a photo of a human toe barely getting underneath it as proof (which I add was almost lost). I guess this T25’s shipping days are well and truly over. Unless someone is intending to book Andy to ship a few pieces of balsa wood, I’m glad there’s no contact details underneath the logo on the cab doors because I’m actually moving house soon.
So how far back does Andy’s affiliation to VW’s go, what initially inspired him to get involved? “Well my dad had various early VW’s since I was born”, 40 years and counting “so I guess it’s all his fault! I have many fond memories of VW’s, like me and my brother having to squeeze behind the back seat on trips out due to lack of space, you cant buy those memories. When I passed my driving test, the first car I had on the road was a piss yellow VW Variant, one of those nose down arse up wagons with a boot full of house speakers and a home-brewed Kadron exhaust. That car was crazy fun and fast, so from then on I’ve always been addicted to shocking the public at large with my choices of transport.”
Looking at this, I agree, the T25 is a pretty zany concept, what is the history of it, how did you even think this thing up? “A good friend gave me the truck as he was having a clear out to move away and didn’t have the time to commit to another project. It had spent some time sat on a stack as the original doors had tell-tale run marks on them.” And what was its life before you resurrected it? “Prior to that it had been a builder’s van pretty much forever I believe. The whole rear end was pretty much held together with concrete.”
There’s a lot of intricate work I see here though, it must took some thought and gnarly repairs? “All the seams had suffered pretty bad and as a result were beginning to split so I welded near enough all the seams shut, including the tailgate. The actual idea goes back years to sitting drunk with my mates Rob and Chris around a fire, all of us wanting more power! The dropped body look has always been where it is for the ride height, I wanted that coupled with more power. I wanted a wagon where the body style is all about the GBH look. Repair wise, the body seams were all mostly blown and rotten, the only option was to re-panel the outer skin all the way round or just weld all the closures. Which I decided to do.”
I find out that the T25 has had a complete custom lower chassis built. With a 4 inch narrowed Beetle beam, a modified Golf steering rack and a complete Golf Mk3 GTI front end that makes up the rear which is helped out by a reverse gear linkage. It has completely new arches and cab floor, the wheel must be mere millimetres from the swish Ikea cushion Andy plants his ass on. He gets to the engine utilising an impressive sizeable lift-up lid on the rear bed which gives great access to the new running gear. Machine7 provided the 4×100 front discs and a lot of persistence sorted out the rear brake / handbrake. This has taken a lot of thought. What hiccups did you encounter converting this? “Without my big brother Nick, I would have contracted wiring tourettes. I can make almost anything out of metal unless it’s plastic coated copper! I suppose the suspension was the trickiest bit, I modified the standard stuff with my mate Chris over a couple of intense sessions, almost earning myself an ASBO for tandem grinding with 9 inch discs on small grinders without the guards! Hilarious because none of it actually worked.”
It moves like a ghost on iceskates, how is it to drive? “With the custom under tray and a 4 inch narrowed bug beam, modified Golf rack and heavy duty shocks to be honest, it drives f*cking amazing! Even at just under a ton, not that I’ve ever gone that fast” he says as he winks and I nervously believe him. “It’s ridiculously comfortable.”
I’d love to see what else you could conjure up down the line, if you could get your hands on any vehicle right now as putty in your hands, what would it be? “If I could have any car, it would have to be a dropped Zwitter Oval Beetle on fluid displacement with a massive capacity Harley Davidson bike engine on Stiener Rads. In Beige.” Very specific. He’s obviously been asked that one before.
OK, so how was it to have the Rothfink seal of approval, or the tap on the shoulder? “To be honest, I couldn’t believe it, about a year ago I met Jason and he was mad keen even though the T25 wasn’t even completely ready. He must have an eye for this as much he thinks I do. It was exciting that someone else could visualise what I was looking to do without ever seeing anything like it before in a completed state. Phoreal.”
What other aspirations do you have for this project now, or is it completed? “The next year I hope to see it finished with a high canvas back, and underneath the bed needs panelling. And a mahoosive stereo system. I’m even fancying a line of short sleeved Ace Trucking Company trucker shirts. Who knows?”
Latest instalment from Rothfink Industries with this super slammed T25 Transporter Pick Up, courtesy of Andy Rudd. This is some seriously low piece of kit with no airride. Shot on location in Newport, South Wales exclusively for Rothfink by our amigo, Jason Laroza (Retrochase), music by our homeboy Phoreal Williams.
Shouts to Andy & family, Jon & family, Dangerous Decks for coming down and featuring in parts of the video, and the guys at the transporter bridge, Newport.