For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look
at Paul and Vikki McManus’ recent purchase
of Beryl, their 1973 Early Bay Window.
I’m Paul, I work as a designer in the civil service
and Vikki works in HR with the NHS. We have 3
children: Ella 20, Dylan 18, Jonah 15 and Buxton,
our 3 year old Cockapoo.
I have always wanted to own a classic vehicle.
My dad was an engineering fitter by trade and
a talented mechanic. I have fond memories of
watching him work on the family cars and he took
myself and my siblings to the annual Steam Rally
at Shanes Castle in my native Northern Ireland.
My love of classic cars was nurtured there and a
favourite family photograph shows me sitting on
my Dads Citroen DS Safari! Vikki’s first car was a
VW Beetle which her mum christened, Baldrick!
We decided that we wanted to buy a VW camper
whilst we were walking Buxton in the grounds of
the local cricket club, when a gentleman pulled
up in his late bay.
The brief conversation we had with him
continued as we walked, and a seed was planted.
I tend to research things fairly thoroughly before
committing. It was important the van suited our
lifestyle and it was something we were both
keen on. My research led me to Westfalias, which
I understand were one of the few companies
that purchased mini buses to convert, others
opting to buy panel vans and cut their own
windows. I particularly liked the interior styling of
the Westfalias. It was then the question anyone
who’s bought a classic vehicle has to answer
what condition and how much?! We did consider
a project, but as we looked further, we came to
the conclusion that a fully restored Westfalia Bay
was what we wanted.
Our search criteria was fairly specific and I
was able to locate a few options online and
discovered our van on Facebook; it’s a 1973
Westfalia Continental, first registered in 1974.
I contacted Adam, who had restored the van and
was very impressed by his knowledge and the
work he’d done. I asked if it was possible for him
to send me a video and he and his partner Alex
kindly did so a few days later.
I kept Vikki fully informed on the vans I’d found
and we both agreed Adams van was one we
wanted to go and view ourselves. We set off
to Doncaster in August 2021 and met up with
Adam, one of the pictures shows Vikki standing
next to the driver’s door and her smile says it all.
It was love at first sight!
I had a slight concern that Vikki might find driving
a classic off putting, but it brought back lovely
memories of her Beetle and she was hooked.
The van looked even better in real life too, Alex,
Adam’s partner, had chosen the upholstery and
we loved the nod to the plaid interiors of the late
70’s bays and how it toned with the overall colour
scheme. The interior is completely original aside
from the upholstery, the floor and the fridge.
I agreed a price with Adam subject to an
independent review, but was somewhat
embarrassed to get a second opinion, as to
my untrained eye it appeared to be a stunning
restoration. Adam was more than happy to have
someone review his work however and Nick, an
aircooled specialist in Doncaster, put the van on
the ramp and inspected it thoroughly.
Nick was so impressed by the van that he refused
to take any payment for the review, saying he
was delighted to find someone with Adam’s
expertise locally and reviewing such a van had
been an absolute pleasure. This was my first taste
of the special bunch of people that VW owners
are. Nick runs a Splitty and his mate has a show
winning bay. Nick said Adam’s van would provide
stiff competition for his mate’s van, so I was more
Some of the work carried out during the restoration includes:
Paintwork taken back to a bare shell.
Welding repairs to body and chassis.
Running gear and steering overhauled with
new parts where necessary.
Braking system has had a full replacement of
all hydraulic and friction components.
Engine stripped down to bare casings,
cleaned, inspected, and rebuilt with all new
bearings, seals, refurbished cylinders and
pistons, reconditioned genuine cylinder
heads and finished off with a genuine
The original Solex carburettor has benefited
from a strip, clean, and rebuild.
The fuel pump has been upgraded to an
electric version with safety cut off.
The ignition has been replaced with an
electric item to eliminate the constant and
often problematic maintenance of the
points and condenser.
A large, fully functioning fridge is in place of
the old cool box.
Underslung fresh water storage tank twice
the size of the original has been fitted.
240v mains hook up with the addition of a
leisure battery for off-site camping.
All seating has been recovered and the
rear bench seat has been fitted with three
12v socket for charging of phones etc
and an iPod compatible stereo.
New pop top canvas with side
As soon as Nick confirmed the van was indeed
the superb restoration we believed it was, we
paid the deposit and I began clearing the garage
to ensure she had a new home. We drove over to
Doncaster again in late August 2021 and I drove
the van home over the M62, which I understand
is the highest motorway in England.
I have to admit, I was slightly nervous, having
only had a brief test drive up to that point, but
she never missed a beat and coped with the hills
Strangely enough, I saw 3 other cars at the
roadside that day with overheated engines and
another on fire!
Since getting her home we have named
her Beryl. She is painted Beryl Green and Lotus
White, so ‘Beryl’ seemed like a good fit. I have
installed a period VW Stereo and the batteries
are linked to a Noco Genius 2 x 2 to keep them
in tip top condition.
We bought Beryl at the end of the season but
have managed a day trip to see Vikki’s parents
in Thornton Cleveleys and an overnight stay
with Buxton our Cockapoo at Bolton Abbey in
Yorkshire. We loved staying in Beryl and look
forward to many more trips and shows in the
coming years, perhaps we will meet a few of you
along the way.
Paul and Vikki