They were called the ultimate freedom machine and Dr Peter Wilkinson of Wilkinson Orthodontics in Benowa, QLD, owns three Volkswagen kombi vans.
“My first car was a VW Beetle and ever since then I’ve had a passion for air-cooled cars. We were looking for a promotional vehicle for our two practices on the Gold Coast and wanted a vehicle that had character and resonated with our patients; something that was cross generational. The kombi was the obvious choice. Young or old, everyone seems to have a story about a kombi. In Queensland the kombi is an icon of the beach-faring adventures we have all experienced.
“After much research and looking at many rusted shells, I found a classic 60s model with split front windows. The next adventure was getting it trucked up from Sydney and making it look like it belonged to Wilkinson Orthodontics. I painted it in the practice colours which ironically are some of the original colours of the past. Working on that van led to a bit of a kombi obsession and we purchased a 70s model that sits proudly at our Helensvale practice.
“The third one I purchased is just a rusted shell that we plan to turn into an electric vehicle. It’s an ambitious project but we have sourced a unique mechanic who can supply an electric motor and a Tesla 3 battery. This third kombi will be our new age kombi, combining the icon with technology. These classic vehicles have become part of the Wilkinson Orthodontic culture now—everyone knows about them and recognises them.
“We endeavour to give back to the dental community by holding dental education evenings to contribute to the ongoing education of the industry. Our kombis are always a feature at these events. We also enjoy giving back to our community by partaking in school events and information days with the kombi set up for photographs. The kombi is very popular at school fetes with kids lined up to hop inside and take fun snaps all day long. The dads always come over and ask questions about the specs and how long it took to restore. The popularity of the Wilkinson Orthodontics kombis has grown so big, we even have people ask to use them for school formals. Last year, I transported one of my staff members to their wedding. The kombis have become such a feature that external businesses are promoting us by using the Wilkinson Orthodontics kombis in industry brochures. What a proud moment for the Team Kombi!”