Apprentices Transform Volkswagen Van into Currywurst Stand

  • Classic van morphs into Currywurst stand
  • Spectacular art project with sculptor Erwin Wurm ahead of his exhibition at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg

Together with artist Erwin Wurm and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Volkswagen apprentices have converted a classic 1975 Volkswagen T2b van into an original Currywurst stand in just under four months. For the duration of the exhibition “Erwin Wurm. Fichte” (until September 13), this spectacular work of art will be positioned on Hollerplatz in front of the Kunstmuseum. Every day at around midday, the genuine Volkswagen Currywurst will be prepared and served in the van.

Artist and car fan Erwin Wurm, well-known for his spectacularly deformed objects and sculptures, is enthusiastic about intensive cooperation with the Volkswagen apprentices. “It was great to see how the young people enjoyed themselves and how creative they were. They never said ‘no’,” Wurm reported.

Together with the Director of the Kunstmuseum, Henning Schaper, the artist received the keys to the vehicle from Dr. Stefan Kreher, Head of Volkswagen Vocational Training, in mid-March. “Our apprentices can be proud of what they have achieved, which included a number of technical challenges,” said Dr. Kreher. “The Curry Bus is a unique automotive work of art. Young people training in six different vocations have contributed their entire knowledge and skills.”

The six young women and 11 men aged between 18 and 25 cooperated closely with the Austrian artist and the Kunstmuseum. The team headed by project manager and instructor Ralf Zeh also received support from Volkswagen retirees. For example, former employees of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles had located the classic bus, which was no longer roadworthy. The T2b panel van built in 1975 had been used in Greece until 2012, after which its registration lapsed.

The work of art, modeled mainly from expanded polystyrene and construction foam, was a challenging training project. “The demands were high and there was a tight time schedule for the project. The apprentices worked with new materials and tried out new working techniques,” project manager Zeh emphasized.

The metamorphosis of the T2b van included six stages with one vocational group responsible in each case. The automotive mechatronics technicians removed virtually all the mechanical and electrical components. The construction mechanics took out large sections of the cargo floor using cutting tools and welded in steel supports and a lower kitchen floor. They cut through the sliding door from top to bottom and created cutouts for windows in the side walls of the body. Then the technical model makers and process technicians glued a base frame consisting of expanded polystyrene blocks onto the body of the bus. Budding model makers and vehicle paint technicians provided the necessary stability with adhesives and fillers, giving the Curry Bus its final rounded shape.

The vehicle, which can only be steered to a limited extent, was painted by specialists from AutoVision in Salzgitter. At this point, the automotive mechatronics technicians came into play again. They installed the components that brought the work of art nearer to its origins as a T2b van. The front end bears the typical round headlamps, large Volkswagen logo and narrow radiator grille surrounded by oblong direction indicators. The interior was completed by the automotive mechatronics technicians and vehicle interior fitters together with other specialists. The former cargo space was equipped with work areas, shelves, a cooker, a deep fryer and a high-performance extractor hood with special spent air ducts.

The exhibition “Erwin Wurm. Fichte” can be viewed at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Hollerplatz 1, until Sunday, September 13, 2015. In connection with the exhibition, the Museum is offering a number of special events including a dramatic reading on the myth of the Currywurst with performers from Brunswick State Theater on Thursday, June 18, 2015.
The apprentices of the T2b art project (by vocations):
Vehicle paint technicians: Laura Häusler (18), Marc Hoffmann (20), Marcel Rowek (19) and Osema Zouari (25); construction mechanics: Thomas Becker (22), Niklas Hildebrandt (19) and Mark Lehmann (21); automotive mechatronics technicians: Julian Schorle (20), Fabian Paetzold (20) and Dominik Petzold (20); technical model makers: Kira Kaaz (21), Celine Fürst (20), Jaelle Janzen (20) and Charleen Hellemann (20); process technicians specializing in plastics and rubber engineering: Nadine Scherwinski (19), Jörn Hauptmeyer (21) and Adrian Zeqiri (22). Some work on the T2b Curry Bus was also completed by vehicle interior fitters.