Travel down memory lane
IT'S an iconic vehicle that many hippies and surfers would set their dreadlocks on fire to own.
But at an estimated cost of tens of thousands of dollars to custom-design and build, what is billed as the world's first super-stretched 1950s VW Volkswagen Samba Kombi is a bit rich for most.
Fortunately, you can hire the red vehicle for considerably less as it's the pride of the fleet of Luv machine Limousine Hire based in, where else, but Byron Bay.
Luv machine co-owner Kushi Noruzi fell in love with Kombis when he worked as a mechanic at Volkswagen's German base and wanted to create something more in keeping with the local vibe after being offended by the site of a stretch-hummer in Byron one day.
It took a couple of years to source the parts and thous- ands of hours of work to create the unique vehicle.
The stretch Kombi, affectionately known as the Luv machine, is about seven metres long and boasts 36 safari windows, an open roof, luxurious and authentic upholstery and a quality sound system ideal for blasting the Grateful Dead. The other Kombi in Luv mach- ine's fleet, a standard-length 1964 split screen, is Lola.
The service comes complete with Kushi as the chauffeur fitted out in 1970s garb.
Kushi, known as Mr Ideas to his friends due to his creativity, enjoys the smiles and laughter the eye-catching vehicle generates wherever he goes.
"We get hundreds of photos taken every time we go out," he said.
Says Kushi's wife and co-owner Sarah: "Everybody's got a good memory of a Kombi . It brings back a lot of good fun."
The Kombi was an instant hit when it reached Byron streets in 2010 and Luv machine has weddings booked for most weekends this year.
Byron Bay Weddings owner Che Devlin said the vehicle added a distinctly Byron vibe to the local wedding industry.
Luv machine is now on the market with Kushi and Sarah looking to embark on a new adventure.
After 63 years of manufacturing, Volkswagen recently announced they will be ceasing production of the much-loved Kombi this year.