John Brett

John is a professional engineer with 50 years experience.

John has designed and built many cars, trucks, and vehicle assembly facilities.

John has worked on design of roads, bridges, cranes, transmission towers, and buildings, and operation, maintenance and upgrade of hydro and gas turbine power stations.

John was a LVV Certifier for 13 years. John has long been a whistle-blower, expressing the view that the LVV system is dangerously deficient. John’s authority was revoked in December 2012.

John rides a 1992 Yamaha FJ1200ABS, and is also a keen road and off road cyclist.


“The LVVTA has brought it to my attention that statements I have made in relation to it and its employees may have been perceived as defamatory.

I sincerely regret that and apologise for any harm caused. I have taken down the statements identified by the LVVTA of concern to it.

I have strong views about the low volume vehicle certification process and intend in the future to direct my energies into the public inquiry now being held in relation to it.”

John Brett 7th October 2015


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VW Kombi Stunt-van

This VW Kombi was built many years ago, and was on the road long before Low Volume Vehicle certification was introduced. It has been shortened to 1200 mm wheelbase.

Short wheelbase model

Short wheelbase model

He's obviously not used to doing stoppies!

He's obviously not used to doing stoppies!

There are some hair-raising stories about the stunts it could do, such as wheelies, stoppies, and even a stunt involving a ‘stoppie” on full lock which ended up with the vehicle facing the opposite direction!
The vehicle was put back on the road, and of course now required LVV Certification.

Initial Inspection showed that the structural integrity was fine, and new seatbelt anchorages were installed.

The big challenge was the vehicle stability. The LVV System requires that any vehicle must be able to perform three stops from 100 k.p.h., plus handle and steer in a safe manner.

First drive revealed that when the accelerator was pressed, the van stood up on it’s rear wheels.

When the brake was pressed, the van tipped up and would have done a forward somersault, if the brake had not been released.

Clearly, this was not safe behavior. The problem was solved by adding 250 kg of steel ballast bolted onto the load floor, and a brake proportioning valve limiting the braking at the front wheels.

The vehicle then drove like a very tall go-kart, and performed the full-on brake test from 100 without killing the (very apprehensive) Low Volume Vehicle Certifier.

There is just one problem with this vehicle – the VW is a promo vehicle for the up-market “Establishment” where gentlemen meet nice ladies. The problem is that, as a result of the modifications required to make the VW safe, it can no longer ‘Get it Up’ like it used to be able to do.

Certified by John Brett 0800 LOWVOLUME (0800 569865)

Title: Custom Trailers
Custom Trailers Whether you are on the road to show your products or to promote your company or an event, we can help you get your message out there with a custom trailer or custom mobile exhibit.

10 comments to VW Kombi Stunt-van

  • Hey nice post.
    Conerning Volkswagen recalls, have you heard of the Volkswagen Phaeton? Did you realize it’s just a rebadged Bentley Continental GT? Sad, but true.
    The VW Phaeton was a massive failure in my opinion, the worst thing VW ever made!

    Its Official: VW Phaeton is a total flop!

  • Gary Mclean

    I am the original builder of this Kombi. I had a stock 1600cc VW engine in it, it could be coaxed into a wheelie but under normal take off would not do so. The stoppies were also not achieved under normal or even aggressive braking would not tip it on to the front wheels. I drove this van up and down from Dannevirke to Auckland several times, it always handled like a tall go kart in my opinion. I have run it in a streetkhana event and taken it around Bay Park Raceway and it did exactly what was asked of it handling wise. The guy i had W.O.F. it first time on the road is one of the most demanding testers out there, if it was going to be a problem on the road it would never have got passed him. I believe it was safe when i built it, whoever played round with it later may have just plain over powered it perhaps.

    • johnbrett

      Hi Gary- It is really fascinating to hear from the original builder. I can confirm that this VW went up onto front wheels very easily under braking. Someone in the Ulysses Club told be that they had seen it doing a stunt involving full lock and full brakes, where it would stand on one front wheel and pirouette around to face the opposite way. There is a big difference between Warrant of Fitness and Low Volume Vehicle Certification, the WOF inspection process works on the assumption that the basic design is sound, and the inspector just has to make sure that everything is working as designed. The Low Volume process is about finding out if the design is sound. The WOF inspector does not have to drive the vehicle more than a short distance, the LVV Certifier is required to do a test drive including cornering and steering evaluation, and full-on brake tests from 100kph to 0. I can assure you that on the first brake test (from about 40 kph) I was looking down through the windscreen at the asphalt, until I let the brakes off, and the back came down to earth with a bang! Good to hear from you- regards, John

  • Informative story, saved your site with hopes to see more!

  • […] by Enrique Flores Yang extreem malah yang satu ini … digunakan untuk stuntcar… sampai bisa wheelie dan stopie berbalik […]

  • Peter dunn

    I also had one of these although I never finished it. When it had been shortened it wasn’t that straight and was out by about an inch. Mine had Hillman Hunter headlights can’t remember what was on the back. I sold it in the mid 80’s to some guy who lived on the North Shore in Auckland

    • johnbrett

      Hi Peter- Ah the fun we had in the olden days! I was genuinely terrified of doing a sommersault in this one, and wore my crash-helmet to test drive it- the first brake test I did was at low speed on a quiet street, and as expected, it did a big stoppie! After the weight had been installed on the load floor, the suspension stiffened up a bit, and a pressure limiting valve fitted to the front brakes- I was able to do the 3 hard stops from 100 k. It felt like driving a go-kart with a tall bar stool for the driver’s seat! Before LVV Certification, it had been on the road in a state in which it could not brake hard without doing a stoppie, or a forward roll!

  • Gary

    Bullshit !!!!! This was never a problem during braking on the road. I drove this van all over the north Island and never stood it on it,s front wheels ever ! As I stated in my first reply, The guy that first warranted it would have never put a sticker on the window if it was going to be a problem, he is that particular. As for your wearing a helmet because you feared it was going to somersault ????? I think a certain Tui ad would suit.

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