Campus Life

Student vehicles: from big BMW to limousine

| Lars van de Zandschulp

From 'bourgeois' biscuit tins to hulk-like powerhouses; many a student house, fraternity, sorority or association has its own means of transport. Four of these vehicles are in the spotlight in this article: how they were acquired, what much-needed improvements were added, and – of course – the antics they get up to.

The Thorbak – Fraternity Thoridor

It is undoubtedly one of the most glitzy student cars in Enschede: the new car of the Thoridor fraternity. Popularly known as the Thorbak. This BMW 5 Series is the replacement for a more modest Honda Civic. That car was discarded when the keys were lost in a climbing forest and replacing the locks would have been many times more expensive than the car was worth. The gadgets added at the time, such as a spoiler and built-in megaphone with accompanying moaning sounds, had not done the market value any good.

According to car manager 'Bilenpark-Forvaldor' Pieter Hes, there were some disadvantages to the spoiler. 'There was a leak as a result of the assembly, but that didn't spoil the fun. A bit less practical was that at a hundred kilometers per hour there was so much downforce on the rear that the front wheels hardly had any grip. Not so comfortable for the driver, but for of his passengers all the more reason to  egg him on to drive faster.'

The Thorbak always has the right of way

Thus, a new ride had to arrive. A past member of Thoridor wanted to donate, on condition it was a proverbial dikke (big) BMW. And so it happened. Although it already has 280 thousand kilometers on the odometer, Thoridor hopes to be able to use it for a few more years. For example, to transport twenty crates of beer to drinks at the Rutbeek or to visit fraternities in other cities. The win of the rally celebrating the 7th Taste lustrum was also recently added to the list of achievements.

Will the new Thorbak also be pimped with a spoiler and megaphone? Vehicle manager Hes prefers to keep the BMW tidy – according to student standards, for which life-sized sticker livery will suffice. If it were legally allowed, he would have removed the mirrors, because according to Thoridor's men, the Thorbak always has the right of way.

The ‘Boskampmobile’  - Huize de Boskamp

If there is a built-in bar in your student house, it is useful if you can acquire and move the beer kegs yourself. That is the main function of the Boskampmobile of Huize de Boskamp. The purchase price of 1000 euros for this 1998 Renault Megane was quickly collected: in their basement there were still fourty empty kegs with enough deposit value.

According to resident Joep Alink, this is not the last vehicle in the long line of house cars. 'Younger housemates always have to learn how to drive stick, so we wear out quite a few clutch plates. As we speak, there are more lights blinking on the dashboard of the current mobile than in a Christmas tree. But it's not always the powertrain that fails. Someone once drunkenly broke off the rearview mirror. We thought we could simply reattach it, but when the entire windscreen then burst, it was once again time for a new mobile.'

A car in exchange for the deposit of fourty empty kegs

Although there are 'only' 115 thousand kilometers on the odometer, there is always a chance to get stranded along the road. The Renault doesn't often leave the city of Enschede. When it's time to drive to Gronau with a trailer behind it for a fresh supply of kegs, it's always remains to be seen if the Boskampmobile will come back in one piece.

The fact that there seems to be a curse on leaving Enschede was also evident when a resident had reserved the car to drive to the Randstad for a job interview. A broadly smiling Alink recalls: 'When he wanted to leave early in the morning, the car was not standing on wheels, but on crates. As it turned out, a befriended student house had gotten up even earlier to literally keep the ti(r)es warm. Try explaining why you're late for your job application then!'

Senaatsbak  - student association Audentis et Virtutis

Many student boards in Enschede sometimes walk around in three-piece suits, but there are few who allow themselves to be transported in a limousine on those occasions. The Audentis Senate does have that privilege and is happy to appear on the scene in their Senaatsbak. Four years ago, they bought this Cadillac Moloney 60 Brougham, including built-in carpet, minibar and television. To maintain the chic look of the Senaatsbak, there are no further plans to pimp this ride.

That effort can be better used for maintenance. There are already more than 235 thousand kilometres on the odometer, but with the help of his experienced handyman committee, Ab Actis I and Senaatsbak manager Dirk Thijssen expects to be able to use this sled for many years to come. 'If the car still has to go to the garage, it has to be a special limousine garage. It's too long for a normal car bridge.' Such an exclusive garage does have the disadvantage that it sometimes takes longer to fix breakdowns. As a result, the Senaatsbak was also in absence for the planned photo shoot for this article.

A limousine with carpet, minibar and brick TV included

When operational, however, the Audentis senate has nothing to complain about their four-wheeler. 'It's a pleasure to be with six people in the back of this American, even if the brick TV doesn't work,' says Thijssen. 'Because if you’re in a three-piece suit, you don't get on your bike or drive yourself. We have the so-called College Chauff available to transport us. It is also necessary that these are somewhat experienced drivers, because the car steers like a boat. That's why we prefer to avoid driving through the city centre.'

Where the sloop cán reach each destination, is on campus. 'If we have a constitution drink in the Horst or at the O&O square, we obviously don't park at P2. Our drivers will announce the XXXIXth Senate via the intercom located at the bollards. Before you know it, you’re parked at the revolving doors of the building in question. We also like to be transported to the annual board weekend of the Landelijke Kamer van Verenigingen, where many boards used to have such a limousine. Now we are the only ones, which of course attracts a lot of attention. Backseat drinks with befriended associations can sometimes get out of hand because of the minibar.'

The Hulk - Windsurfing association Hardboard

Most student vehicles are a nice extra to be able to transport the owner in style. Not so the Volkswagen Crafter bus from sports association Hardboard. Member of the transport committee Geert van der Hulst says: 'As a surfing club in Enschede, it is of course crucial that we can move our equipment – and ourselves – to open water. Fortunately, we have The Hulk, named because of its color and size, which we acquired from construction company BAM in 2015. If the wind lends itself, we gather early in the morning at the Spiegel, where the keys are and the bus is also nicely in plain sight of every campus visitor.'

A contractor's bus with flashing light not to be missed due to color and size

Before the former contractor's bus could make its first trip to the IJsselmeer or the North Sea, the transport committee had to make it 'Hardboard-proof'. What does that mean? 'We have built in three levels, so that all the material can be easily loaded and unloaded. Even if you're exhausted after a nice day of kite or windsurfing,' says Van der Hulst.

'It's also really nice to see how the members of Hardboard care about The Hulk', Van der Hulst continues. 'If something is broken, everyone in the group app is sad, and when something is repaired, the mood drastically changes! Fortunately, we have experienced former members who can determine how a problem can be solved based on just an audio recording.'

In addition to day trips to the Dutch waters, there is also the occasional multi-day holiday in the route planner. Denmark is often the destination because of the favorable winds, but you can also enjoy surfing in France. Van der Hulst: 'The village streets of Gravelines are not designed for such an extended surf bus, but it always attracts nice attention. When you drive onto  a campsite, the flashing light inherited from BAM must of course be switched on for the children present. On the way to such a distant destination, we entertain ourselves with the old CD collection, which contains very eclectic mixes. Of course, the sports of Hardboard involve a lot of sand, which does not benefit the quality of the CD music...'

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