Category Archives: Member’s Stories

Trips, restorations or anything else you think might be of interest

Member’s Motor – Glenn George – Mavis

In December 2016, Club member Glenn George from
Dartmouth, Devon, alerted us to the fact that his
trusty 1973 Bay Window Devon camper “Mavis”
had been used as a getaway vehicle during the
heist of a security van during a Pirate Festival! This
was not the usual getaway that Glenn was used
to; he preferred the kind that involved camping!
However there was no need for alarm as “Mavis”
was used for filming an episode of BBC1’s
“The Coroner”, now in its second series and
with an episode titled “Pieces of Eight”, “Mavis”
provided the perfect cover for a robbery during
Lighthaven’s Pirate Festival and Glenn has given
an account of his experience below.
It started with a phone call from Adam at AJs
VW in Paignton (where Mavis has been serviced
for 43 years), Adam told me that he had been
asked if any of his customers had an old camper
and were willing to take a couple of days out for
filming in and around Dartmouth. As I work just
a few miles over the river in Brixham I thought
this sounded like an interesting proposition so I
agreed. The next few weeks I spent speculating
what would be involved, as it is BBC policy to not
give too much away. I asked around if anyone
knew of this “Coroner” series, as I must admit I
hadn’t heard of it myself

When the day finally arrived I headed off to
Bantham and was quite impressed with the
military precision that had gone into the
planning of the day. I was sent a list with details
of all 70+ people and where and when they all
had to be. I arrived at 9am and found an assistant
Director who fetched a couple of wardrobe
assistants. I got a bit nervous at this point, but
it wasn’t me they were going to dress up, it was
Mavis! At this point I was concerned with what
they might do to her, but they assured me that
they would clean her up afterwards. She was to
be dressed as a Pirate Van, she looked a bit funny
but they were very gentle.

I was asked to drive Mavis down a very steep hill
to a small sandy cove where there is a beautiful
view of the river and an old boat house. “Drive her
on to the sand a bit” I was told, whilst surveying
the green tinged last few cobbles of the socalled road, I didn’t think this was the best idea
but was persuaded by the crew. So I drove half
on and then reversed a bit to see if she’d get off
again and she wasn’t going anywhere, well and
truly stuck! This was when I realised how friendly
everyone was as they all chipped in with pushing
and pulling to get Mavis back on to firmer
ground. During the rest of the day’s shoot, Mavis
only moved about 3 feet and it took till gone
6pm to wrap the scene which lasts about 90secs
on screen! Once this shoot was finished, we had
to negotiate the very steep hill again, this proved
to be a challenging ascent which was assisted by
the 4×4 Mule usually used to transport lighting
rigs and camera equipment.

The second day of filming was eventful in a
different way, no steep slippery slopes but
filming in the centre of Dartmouth. It was here
that I learnt Mavis’ role was a getaway vehicle and
I also learnt the sense of humour underpinning
the show! When I was told that they would
hi-jack a security van and bundle someone into
the back of Mavis I laughed because I know
that all things T2 happen at their own usual
relaxed pace.
The first take was in progress when the “Pirate”
tried to quickly open the door, he used a few
nautical phrases that were heard echoing around
the Dart Valley. I offered a solution for myself to
crouch inside the van and persuade the door
to open with my foot as the handle was pulled
down. The director agreed to try this and it was a
successful 2nd take.
Our first experience with the Beeb was very
interesting and fun. I’m not sure we get to see
Mavis at her best, or any of the really fun scenes,
but I will keep my eye out for the out-take shows!

Member’s Motor – Helen and Dave Salisbury

My wife and I had always wanted a Type 2 Bay
after spending a weekend in Newquay in 1993,
we didn’t know it at the time, but the Run To
The Sun festival was on and after spending the
weekend watching Campervans and Beetles
drive around we had been bitten by the
VW bug. However, still being an apprentice
and being on apprentice wages there wasn’t
much chance.
Fast forward 7 years to November 2000, I had
heard about a van from a lady that I worked
with and she told me that her husband who
was a gardener, had spotted it in a barn at a
large house in the Cotswolds that he had been
working at. When the gardener asked about it,
the owner told him that it had been sat there
for 2 years and that they wanted to sell it.
When I heard about it, I rang the owners and
arranged to go and see it.


It was poking out of the barn with one wheel
arch split through with rust and hanging off,
a damp fusty smell inside of it, some of the
brakes were seized, the engine was running
on 2 cylinders, there was various rust holes in
all the usual places and it generally looked very
sorry for itself. The owner agreed to get it taken
to a local garage on a trailer to let them have a
look and give me an idea of the work required
to get an MOT pass on it. After looking at the
fail MOT sheet, we agreed a price and the van
came home with us.


It was placed on my in-laws’ drive and work
started right away. I spent most of the
weekends that winter welding and replacing
parts with a view to getting the van ready for a
trip to Cornwall the following Easter. After lots
of cold, hard work, 2 weeks before Easter we
got our MOT Pass certificate and had a great
first trip.

The Mechanic – Brakes

This issue takes a look at a submission from club
member Ian Crawford, who had a problem
with his brakes at MOT time, something we all
want to avoid!
Having owned my Type 2 for 43 years, I have
never had an MOT failure, until September
2015.
If failed on the brakes being “unequal” from the
N/S readings compared to the O/S readings
when tested on the rolling road.


The tester said I had 10 days in which to get
the problem sorted and return for a free retest.
I immediately drove to the garage I have used
for 43 years (Francis Tuthill), to see if he could
resolve the problem for me within the 10 day
window.
I showed Francis the above figures and his
immediate response was to say “you probably
don’t use your brakes all that much. I’ve come
across this situation before”.
His response was to jump into my van and
drive it around the village for about 5 minutes
doing numerous “emergency stops” in order to
get the brake linings warmed up. On returning
he said I should go back to the MOT garage
now and get it retested as he couldn’t find
anything wrong with them.
This I did and when retested the brake figures
obtained were now:


My van now passed its MOT. Panic over! So
the moral of all this is if, like me, you don’t drive
all that many miles a year and you tend to
hardly use the brakes “in anger”, make sure you
warm them up before going for your MOT as
you might end up like I did, with a (temporary)
MOT failure.

Eric the Viking – a restoration in many parts – December 2021

Spend since last report: £294. Total hours labour since last report: 12.2

What is the key upside of our camper vans over motorhomes? The Type 2, from the first split screen, the Bay, the T25/T3/Wedge/Brick, T4, T5 and even the T6. They can all be driven on a car licence, because they are all small enough to be about the same footprint as a standard car. No need for special car parking spaces.

What is the key downside of our little camper vans over motorhomes? Space inside.

Have you ever been a little frustrated at permanently having to move things around? Or finding that the cupboard or drawer has something in front of it or on top? Trying to navigate the tiny floor space past a loved one?

In general, across all models that are termed the Type 2, we have a similar layout. Seating at the front, sometimes that swivels, a seat towards the rear and maybe boot space behind that. In between all of that is about 5 feet or 1.5 metres each way of floor for the living quarters. That gives you maybe a buddy seat, the sink, the fridge, the cooker, the toilet. Perhaps the removable dining table on a pole, or a cupboard but not much else as there simply is not the room.

During an evening conversation with a T5 owning friends, he mused that it would be great if our little vans had a sliding side like the huge expensive motorhomes and so an idea was planted. Fast forward several months, a lot of thinking and some hours experimenting in the garage. The non-sliding door panel can be seen in some models as a traditional sliding door, sliding backwards and called a double slider. Therefore, Volkswagen are happy that this does not impact the strength of the vehicle and that is good enough for me. As noted in the last write up, Eric’s non sliding panel has seen some accident damage and the repair was not great by me a few years ago and was removed. With that composite side panel and sill gone, I added a new outer sill.

Some extra heavy duty kitchen drawer runners were purchased and the original idea of two runners and two roller bearings has now become four runners at the bottom and two at the top. These runners will slide the external panel of the vehicle including the middle window out from the van. To make it secure and weatherproof, new steel will be added to form the floor on top of the runners, sides of the structure and a roof. The entire unit will be on an electric ram and the entire kitchen will be in there.

In summary, the floor space taken up by the fridge, hob, sink and associated cupboards will move away from the van giving back all of that floor to the inside. In addition, with easy access below the sink, the water bottle can then live outside giving more cupboard space inside as well.

An item called a linear actuator was ordered, which is the gas ram that pushes and pulls. Not expensive and then I also got the controller for it… Effectively an in button and an out button and it stops at any point along the way. Sheet steel picked up from the local ironmongery is hopefully big enough and the project started.

The two outermost runners are within an inch of the B post and C post to give strength at the edges. Then a further pair on the van floor between those runners but only six inches apart which means that one is just under the other side of the fridge and the other is just under the corresponding place for the other cupboard. Under the centre of the whole unit will be this actuator to push and pull everything. The slide out tray then received a little box to hold the worm screw of the actuator plus the whole tray had some strengthening lines pressed into it and the sides folded up to attach to the pod sides in due course.

Now we have a working plan. A tray sits on runners and slides out of the van. Attached to that is the outer wall of the van complete with the window. Attached to both of those are vertical sides either side of the window and the whole thing has a roof that will be inclined not flat, to help water run off.

The tray is the easy piece. Finding exactly where it does against the outer wall when the outer wall is not fitted is a little trickier.

Trying to shape the sides as the outer wall is not flat is quite fun, and the sides need a 90 degree flare to attach to the outer panel as well. After much wasted time, I finally made a template from wood of the inside wall and transferred that to the flat sheet steel.

Having four runners means that to get them working they need to be perfectly parallel for the tray to sit on them. Lots of adjustments there, plus making brackets to attach them to the floor and the tray plus clearance for everything to move.

It is not finished by a long way, but the kitchen takes up around five square feet (3.5 feet by 1.5 feet) or half a square metre (1 metre by 0.5 metres). When your floor space is about 25 square feet / 2.25 square metres, you can potentially gain 25%. That’s a lot of floor space.

Next time, I hope to be able to report that the majority of the box is built. Courtesy of eBay, I have an inexpensive fridge already, and I managed to get a three ring new cooker with glass lid as well for a great price too. “All” that I need now is to assemble it all and hope that it glides in and out!

Member’s Motor – Phil and Sophie Aldridge – Bluebell – Part 2

Bluebell is a ‘79 Bay Window, Devon Moonraker
conversion with a full side elevating roof.
When we first decided to take the plunge into
campervan ownership, we had our hearts set
on the Moonraker conversion as the interior
space was excellent both in the elevated roof
and the interior build.


We spotted Bluebell on eBay and watched her
sell very quickly, much to our disappointment.
But then, whilst searching further, we noticed
that she had been relisted and jumped at the
chance to investigate. So after a short phone
call confirming some minor details, we were off
on a trip to Frome in Somerset for a viewing.
When viewing we found Bluebell to be in
original condition, apart from some interior
wooden surfaces had been replaced for pine
and the exterior paintwork had changed from
Sand Beige to an unknown Blue. This was
perfect, the bodywork and paint had been
worked on within ten years, keeping it fresh and
clean (with receipts for work). After a test drive
through the countryside, a deposit was paid
and date set for collection.
We had several trips away in the first few months
of ownership and during a trip in Wales had
our first spot of engine trouble, only firing on
3 cylinders. We spent some time investigating
but couldn’t work it out so decided to limp
home (back to the southeast!) and investigated
further. It turns out that we had a burnt valve
and so the start of restoration commenced. We
took the opportunity to give the engine a good
overhaul and carry out required repairs and
paintwork in the engine bay area.

Once these repairs were completed we got
an excellent year of camping from Bluebell,
including a trip back to Wales for a friend’s
wedding and a 20 day trip around the
Southwest during the summer.
Winter came back around and we decided that
Bluebell’s bodywork and paint and needed
attention in a few places, with the white, top
half of the van needing most of the attention
around windows and roof guttering.
After talking to a good friend (who also
happens to be a classic car restorer) we had
set a date to get Bluebell into the workshop to
begin the strip down and repairs.
These repairs included removing all glass,
repairing all window frames, replacing any
scratched or dull glass, removing the elevating
roof (it is huge!), repairing roof areas and
replacing the pop top material.


This work had to be done to keep her looking
fresh and clean, but we really needed to give
the interior some attention as well as the wood
was rotten in places and looking generally
tatty and the original upholstery had also seen
better days. So we took the decision to remove
the interior and started looking for campervan
interior design and build companies.
So with all top half work completed, Bluebell
was sent to The Campershak in Ormskirk to
have a new interior fitted in the same Devon
design, but with some modern and personal
tweaks, including a new overhead side locker.
Work completed on the bodywork and interior
in time for another excellent year of camping.
Winter had arrived again, now phase 2 of the
bodywork and paint was to be done. This time
the work would incorporate the underneath
of the van… this turned out to be around an
extra two months of work!

With all work completed, we have had another
excellent summer of camping and looking
forward to a winter where the work required
on Bluebell is reduced somewhat!
Despite all the hard work and effort, we
wouldn’t change our campervan and the
memories we have with her.
Here’s to more memory making and we
wish our members happy memories in their
vans too!

Daisy has a classic bank holiday

From the archives, this is taken from Issue 143 from November 2016.

From Publicity Manager Derek Leary

With less than a week away from the start
of this year’s August Bank Holiday, a request
popped into my email inbox; “Wanted –
Volkswagen Bay Window Camper Van with
original livery for a photo shoot with 99 other
classic vehicles”. The request was from Practical
Classics Magazine.
Requests such as these are either deleted or
farmed out to a fellow member, however it
was a chance to fly the VWT2OC flag and I was
looking at the bus with the required spec in
my driveway.

Since retiring Daisy from camping duties, her
role in life is the classic car scene. So with
picnic, flasks and camping chairs packed,
we set off at some unearthly hour to get to
Millbrook by 10am.
On arrival, the outer car park was filling up
with various “Pride and Joy’s” and Daisy’s
bright bitter-sweet orange colour meant she
did not arrive unnoticed. Christie and I felt a
bit conspicuous parking up against more
subdued coloured classics but were soon
joined by a bright green beetle, not a standard
VW green but defiantly a tone to be noticed.
All mobile phones had to be presented to
security and the camera lenses sealed. NO
PHOTOS inside the facility were allowed,
what a shame, but hey ho go with the flow.
We were then escorted into the facility a few
cars at a time and each vehicle photographed
individually with and without their owners.
Daisy was called to go in with the third
batch just as I had nipped off to inspect the
plumbing…! However Christie got Daisy into
line picking me up on the way. Once that part
of the shoot was over it was picnic time and
the sun came out, adding to the jollity of the
occasion of 99 other classic cars to look round
and their enthusiastic owners to talk to. We
were given an extended lunch break to make
the most of the occasion and were so relaxed
that when we were needed again, the officials
had a job to get us going.

There was one final shoot of the day where
all 100 classics were driven onto the famous
Millbrook test track; a 6 lane super highway
with a velodrome style embankment. Daisy
was near the back of the line up but can be
seen with a magnifying glass as an orange
smudge. Not to worry, we had a wonderful
day out and Daisy had lots of admirers. We
have subsequently been sent a PDF file of
her portrait as a thank you and there is a
chance for any member wishing to buy the
December issue of Practical Classic Magazine
at a discount.

Eric the Viking – a restoration in many parts – August 2021

Spend since last report: £471. Total hours labour since last report: 31.3

Recap

For those who had forgotten and for those who have joined as new members recently, I will start with a recap. My name is Nick, I am 50 and since I was a teenager, I have always wanted to restore an old vehicle. My previous experience and skill until I bought this first project was minor tinkering with renovating a set of brake disks, and replacing an alternator. My wife Lorna bought a 1972 Volkswagen called Poppy back in 2011 and that gave us the bus bug and we joined the committee of this club back in 2016, you may have met us on the club stand at some point.

Six years ago this month, I put in a bid on a 1973 converted panel van online having never seen it and I knew nothing about which is a good one to buy. My offer was accepted and Eric the Viking came to live with us. Named after my comedy hero Eric Morecambe, the panel van came with a plastic full length roof called a Viking roof and the most famous Viking being Eric, it all seemed to work and Eric was born. At that point I owned minimal tools and had never used a welder. I went online, started reading, bought a book on restoring Volkswagen Bay windows and started having a go. If you try woodwork and make a mess of it, you throw it away or glue new bits on. When working with metal, if it goes wrong, you take the angle grinder, chop out the wrong part and have another go. No-one knows! Well they know if you write about it at length in a club magazine.

The more recent story

Apologies for the delay in further work, you may have heard of this COVID thing. I spent the first month of lockdown in the garage every day then I was asked to help dig some footings in the garden. 6 months later, every weekend had been spent building walls, foundations, a sun terrace and a lot of new lawn planted. Winter came, spring came, then more gardening and Eric was left languishing. Finally in July, I decided to get back to the grind (literally).

Pull up your drink of choice and join me on my next journey of discovery about how badly treated Eric was under previous ownership.

Rear brakes

Rear brakes on my Bay are drum, and with Eric spending a lot of time rotting outdoors, they were in a shocking state. The castle nut in the middle of the rear wheel was so rusted to the end of the hub that no amount of leverage would shift it but an hour with an angle grinder got it off in pieces! Then the drum refused to budge until a lot of heat and persuasion on the bench freed it off. Inside looked ok at first but a CV joint bolt was jammed and needed cutting off which meant that I had to chop through the brake back plate to access it!

Rear suspension

The rear offside was dismantled last year, stripped and primed. That left the driveshaft (whatever that is) and the CV joints (vaguely heard of them) attached to the gearbox somehow. In other words, I was vaguely familiar with the concept but that was about it. Everything was filthy covered in rot, rust, grease, grot and generally in need of love.

Front suspension

Waiting on parts deliveries from Just Kampers (don’t forget your club discount), I turned my attention to the front suspension and brakes. Calipers are expensive to replace and generally only need a good clean, reassembly and new rubbers on the ends of the pistons. I did that job 15 or so years ago on my Matra Bagheera as the only job I really did on it. Quite pleased with the bright green caliper paint finish and you can follow 2 articles on how to do it that are on our club web site (thanks Jonathan!) as well.

Starter motor

The starter motor was in the way of getting to the underside of the fuel tank to restore that, so I unbolted it, separated the two cylinders and cleaned them before spraying them black.

Underside

Eric has been on his side now for 20 months and I finally got him ready for the topcoat on his bottom. I chose to use L90D synthetic enamel as I wanted hard wearing and easy to apply since I am a novice.

Front suspension

Attached to the front beam are the front suspension arms. Pressed into the tops of 2 of these on each side of the Bus are the ball joints. I dutifully borrowed a ball joint press, inserted the arm and ball joint but could not work out how to press it out. I tried various options, I made a little jig out of 10mm steel railing, I watched Youtube videos and eventually with the help of friends, I found out the trick. The ball of the ball joint sits in the cup of the joint, if you angle grind the shoulders off the ball joint, you can remove the ball, once that is done, you angle grind from the top, cutting just the top of the ball joint and not the arm holding it.

Once the top of the ball joint is ground through into a hole with the angle grinder, you need to cut it with a hacksaw to split the ball joint cup into 4 pieces being careful not to cut the arm at all. It is back breakingly tiring, hot and dusty. Each one took an hour and I have the other 2 on the other side later this year – if anyone has any faster ideas do please get in touch! FINALLY the 2 ball joints were clear of the arms allowing those to be cleaned up ready for top coat and with their ball joint holes ground back of dirt and rust ready for the new ball joints to be pressed in using the borrowed press.

More another time, hope to see many of you at Busfest!

Member’s Motor – Bex Randall – Florence

I have always dreamed of owning a T2 VW
Campervan, but until last year (2016) I had
never been in a position to do so. Being a
complete novice when it comes to anything
mechanical (I can just about do the tyres and oil
on my car), I soon realised that buying a T2 was
a complete minefield, for which I was woefully
ill equipped. I wanted one that I could drive
and enjoy straight away and not a renovation
project, so it had to be in very good condition,
both mechanically and bodywork wise.
This meant I needed help; Hubbie is not
mechanical either, so luckily my help
came in the shape of a friend’s husband,
who not only is a trained mechanic but owns
his own racing car business (featured on
Dragons’ Den), AB performance Ltd.
So in 2016, the hunt began in earnest and after
several failed missions with Andy telling me
“NO!!” because of rotten bodywork or needing
too much interior work, I spotted Florence. She
was for sale in Gloucestershire, a long way from
home and too far to extend the good will of
Andy to help inspect her.
From the advert and pictures, Florence looked
perfect.
She was born on 01/09/1974 in Australia and
only had one owner whilst over there. She was
originally an 8 seat micro bus, with an 1800
petrol engine but when imported to the UK
in 2005, she had been extensively refurbished
with fresh paintwork and an engine re-build
with new twin Solex carbs. Florence has a no
fuss camping set up, with sink, gas cooker, rock
‘n’ roll bed and 12v leisure battery. There were
only two previous owners in the UK, making me
her fourth proud owner.
In the interest of not wanting to buy a duffer I
decided to use the services of Type 2 Detectives
in Burwell. They acted on my behalf and went
to inspect Florence, carrying out a full external
and internal examination. Paul’s words to me on
the phone were “I’ve never seen such a good
example of a T2 and if you don’t buy her, we
will”. There was some work that needed doing
and bearing that in mind, Paul negotiated a
price at £21,500, £3,500 off the asking price
of £25,000. The owner was very reluctant and
sad to sell her, keeping her in a garage with a
dehumidifier, but needs must. So Florence was
brought back to Suffolk by Type 2 Detectives
on a trailer, where they then did some work on
her. They completed full rust proofing as her
under carriage was perfect, rewired the choke,
fitted new shifter couplings, new front discs and
brake hoses, new clutch conduits and a few
other bits and pieces. Florence has the added

bonus of a roll out canopy, which has proved
invaluable for doggy events!

So on 29th June 2016 I became the very
proud owner of Florence, a dream come true!
I purchased her with 54,772 on the clock and
she has averaged 120 miles a month from her
importation date to the UK in 2005. So what do
I use Florence for? I run a Doodle club with two
friends called “Doodles Do Splashes N Dashes”
(any poodle cross). We currently have 345
members and me and my chocolate doodle
PERCI have so much fun! We organise doodle
dashes (walks) and splashes (swims) and also
fundraise at our events for our local hospice “St
Nicholas Hospice” with an aim to raise £1000
this year. Florence is used as our base camp at
these events and we use her as a stall on our
fundraisers. This year we are going to Doodlefest
for 3 nights – a kind of Glastonbury for Doodles!
I just love every minute we spend in her, making
us and lots of other people happy. I have now
finally got her interior exactly as I want her. A
lady in our club Christine Winkless who owns
the Doggy Cookie Company has made all the
doggy accessories, campervan designed dog
bed, leads, collars etc. I feel privileged to be
able to own and thoroughly enjoy a piece of
history. Florence has clearly been cherished for
43/44 years and I will continue to do so. She is
currently having her winter health check with
Mark at M&J servicing and repairs. Mark is a
VW fanatic and air cooled specialist who will
continue to cater for Florence’s needs in my
mechanical ignorance!

Members motor – Phil and Sophie Aldridge – Bluebell – Part 1

For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look at
how our Editors’ Bay “Bluebell” played a key
role in their wedding day.
On December 21st 2018 Phil proposed to Sophie
at Chatsworth House, somewhere they had been
visiting traditionally at Christmas for most of their
relationship. So when they were looking for a
wedding venue, it’s no surprise that Chatsworth
won the day and began to plan for their wedding
in August 2020.


With almost two years to plan, they had most
major parts of the day organised by early 2020
and then in March, the world was turned upside
down. The Coronavirus Pandemic hit the UK
and just like that, all social gatherings were off,
including Weddings. As the year progressed, it
became clear that the wedding would need to
be postponed until 2021. With April set as the
new date, 2020 passed and with the situation
still unimproved in January 2021, the date was
postponed again to August 2021.
With plans now underway, it was only right that
Bluebell would be used as the main wedding
car on the day and on 21st August this year,
that is exactly what happened. The wedding
successfully took place.


Bluebell was decorated with flowers from the
Chatsworth estate by the Chatsworth house
florist and then used to drive Sophie and her
Father to the church (on time), driven by one of
Phil’s best men and then Phil and Sophie drove
themselves from the church to their reception.
On arrival Bluebell then took pride of place in the
middle of the courtyard at the Chatsworth House
Stable Block.
Bluebell did Sophie and Phil proud on the
day and they then had a week away after the
wedding camping together in some of their
favourite spots in the UK, still decorated with the
flowers!

Member’s motor – Paul and Vicki McManus – Beryl

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
than happy!

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
Ernst exhaust.
‹ 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
seat belts.
‹ 12v socket for charging of phones etc
and an iPod compatible stereo.
‹ New pop top canvas with side
opening windows

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
without issue!
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