Raising a glass with Camper Vin



Will, tell SoGlos readers a bit about yourself and where you work.

My name’s Will Spiers, I’m 32, and I am the founder and owner of CamperVin, the ultimate mobile bar business. I was born and grew up in Cheltenham but I’m now a country convert, living in Bourton-on-the-Water.

What’s your background?

I have worked in hospitality since the age of 14, whether it’s been my main job or as a second job while I worked in financial advice and recruitment, but it’s always where my heart lay.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love it. Every day is different and there are so many challenges, ultimately the buck stops with me and it gives so much satisfaction when we do a great job for our clients.

How long has CamperVin been established?

We launched in May 2013 with our first van.

How did you come up with the concept?

It evolved in all honesty, I had seen some vehicle and caravan-based bars and decided I was going to take the plunge and do something similar. Initially the plan was to build a bar around a VW camper but it was suggested we modify the vehicle to be the actual bar and then we worked with some great designers to bring the concept to life.

Have you always been a fan of VW campers?

I have, they have such a classic feel to them and ever since I was little I thought they were fantastic. It’s amazing to see how many people they appeal to as well.

Did it take a lot of work to restore your vans?

It was an enormous amount of work; this hadn’t been done before so there were a lot of obstacles to overcome and a lot of things to learn about how it needed to be done. We didn’t have a plan or set of drawings to work from so it really was an evolution.

We love the name of business; did it take long to come up with it?

I’ll be honest; it was the first name I came up with driving back from my recruitment job one day. I loved it and stuck with it.

What is CamperVins’ drinks specialism?

We serve a great range of products and everything has been carefully selected to offer a premium offering. We believe our drinks are fantastic and love working closely with our suppliers to showcase the effort and passion they put into making them.

What sort of drinks do you sell?

We offer a full range of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails as standard but the offering is flexible so we can do a specialist wines, Champagne, cocktails or even a gin bar.

What sort of events do you attend? Has there been a favourite in Gloucestershire so far?

We do a huge variety of events including horse racing, food and drink festivals, charity events, music concerts, weddings, birthdays, firework parties and more. My favourite so far would have to be Cheltenham Races, I love going there as a visitor and it was great being on the other side of the fence for a change.

Are you busy year-round or is more popular in the summer?

We do have bookings and events all year round but the summer season is much busier; from the end of April through to the end of September we have only had one weekend without a booking.

Can you tell us a bit about your new sister company?

We are delighted to have launched Willy’s Wine Bar; it is a converted 1969 Rice Trailer horsebox and has been finished to an incredible standard. The wines we offer are really premium, and the reaction to it has been absolutely amazing, in fact delighted would be an understatement.

What is your personal, all time favourite drink and why?

I’ve really fallen in love with gin and tonics recently. They used to be so generic but there’s so much variety and the quality has improved so much in recent years that there is so much choice now. My personal favourite has to be Cotswolds Distillery’s Dry Gin with Fever Tree Tonic and fresh lime.

What do you get up to outside of work?

I have much less social time now, especially at weekends, but I try and play golf, hockey and cricket as much as possible. I love watching rugby, following Gloucester and England, and I’m really looking forward to the World Cup later this year and getting along to some games.

Where else do you drink in Gloucestershire?

The Black Horse Inn in Naunton is the best local imaginable and I always hit The Retreat in Cheltenham whenever I am in town.

How do you think CamperVin will have changed or developed in a year’s time?

I think we will move out of the food festival market and aim for more horse racing, weddings and corporate work in the next year or so.

Do you host any events or have any special offers you think our readers might be interested in?

We are attending some great local events in the coming months and we are still offering a no booking fee for events within 25 miles of Cheltenham if they are booked this year. For more information call Campervin on 07500 802753. – See more at: http://www.soglos.com/drink/39073/Raising-a-glass-with-Will-Spiers#sthash.fAXWvogC.dpuf



Turbo-speed historic VW Camper Van up for auction


MORE used to attracting dedicated arts’ lovers, David Lay’s Penzance Auction House could be swamped with surfer dudes next Tuesday.

At their general and household sale, a recently restored 1981 VW camper van – the classic wheels of choice for many surfers – will be one of the lots up for grabs.

The van has undergone a Subaru engine conversion and with a two-litre Impreza engine, and David Lay has been told that it can easily manage 70mph uphill.

As well as having bags of speed, there is also plenty of space as the van has the much sought-after Viking ‘Spacesaver’ pop-top roof which can sleep up to four people and has been resprayed in ivory and Porsche aubergine.

David Lay estimates that the campervan will fetch £4-6,000.

Also in the sale is another vehicle designed for serious speed – this time on water, an Aquador 21 WA speed boat with a 225 Honda outboard engine.

It comes on its on twin-axle trailer and has a guide price of £10-15,000.

These items, as well as other vehicles in the sale, can be viewed at the Penzance Auction House in Alverton, Penzance on Saturday and next Monday, July 20.

The sale starts at 10am on Tuesday; for more details, contact David Lay’s offices on 01736 361414.

Volkswagen unveils a one-off Amarok ambulance


 Volkswagen unveils a one-off Amarok ambulance

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has created a one-off Amarok ambulance for the East Midlands Ambulance Service in the United Kingdom.

Designed to rescue patients “who are often stranded miles off the beaten track,” the ambulance has 4MOTION all-wheel drive and a snorkel which helps the model to drive through water that is up to 500mm (19.6 inches) deep.  The ambulance also has life-saving emergency medical equipment and a load area to transport patients.

The model is currently a one-off but Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK Head of Fleet, Chris Black, said “… the vehicle is already beginning to receive a great deal of interest and I am sure that we can expect to see similar Amarok ambulances in the future.”

Source: Volkswagen

Skoda Van Spied During Testing, It’s Based On the New Volkswagen Transporter T6


From 1950 to the present day, Volkswagen revolutionized the van industry through its Transporter series of models. 65 years after the lineage started production, VW prepares to roll-out the Transporter T6 while Skoda is working on its version of the VW Transporter T6 light workhorse.

Mladá Boleslav and Wolfsburg are brothers in arms after the VW Group acquired control of Skoda in 1994. Both of the manufacturers share an immense parts bin between each other, so it’s not that surprising for Skoda to produce its version of the Volkswagen Transporter T6. Spied by the peeps from Novinky.cz, the Skoda van at hand is a pre-production mule that was spotted somewhere in Eastern Europe.

While much of the front fascia is wrapped in camouflage so psychedelic Jimi Hendrix would turn it into a purple haze, it goes without question what’s under the veil. The windshield rake, curvature of the A-pillar, shape of the side mirrors and wheel arch cutouts are the tell-tale signs this is a VW T6. If you look at the shape of the tailgate and the placement of the taillamps, there you have it – a Transporter T6 Multivan.

As a Multivan, this prototype has a generous glasshouse. It is not known if the production-spec Skoda van will be a run-of-the-mill panel van or an 8+1 passenger-oriented Multivan. It’s hard to determine what’s changed, from a visual point of view, over the 2015 Volkswagen T6, but except the obvious: different headlamps and taillamps, a Skoda grille, and some Skoda badges. Care to guess what we will receive under the hood of the Transporter’s brother from the Czech Republic?

No surprises, sorry! Front and 4Motion all-wheel drive, DSG double-clutch transmissions if three pedals are too much to handle, adaptive suspension, City Emergency Braking, as well as a selection of turbo diesel and turbo petrol engines. Oil burners range from 84 PS (62 kW) to a TDI BiTurbo with 204 PS (150 kW) while petrols start from 150 PS (110 kW) and top at 204 PS (150 kW). A chassis cab body style could be offered for the upcoming Skoda light commercial vehicle as well, joined by a high roof panel van variant

VW Kombi sells for record $202,000 at Melbourne auction


The fully restored 1960 Volkswagen Kombi '23 window' Samba bus.

The fully restored 1960 Volkswagen Kombi ’23 window’ Samba bus. Photo: Supplied.

A restored VW Kombi bus was sold for a cool $202,000 in Melbourne on Monday night.

The 1960 Volkswagen Kombi Samba attracted frenzied bidding at the Shannons Auctions in Cheltenham, auction manager Christophe Boribon said.

Believed to be one of just three examples delivered to Australia in this configuration, the 23-window Kombi sparked a wild bidding frenzy at the Shannons Auctions in Cheltenham, nabbing a record price for the vehicle in Australia.

260E1C3300000578-2967614-image-a-3_1424818714344“It was beautifully restored,” Mr Boribon said. “And it got a great result, absolutely.”

Only a handful of the split-window Sambas made it onto Australian roads, he said. The one sold at auction on Monday had undergone a $100,000 restoration over five years.


Once the preserve of hippies looking for cheap transport, the Kombi now enjoys a more mainstream cult following, with many models becoming highly collectible.

“We had over five phone bidders, several floor bidders and a couple of online bidders,” Mr Boribon said.

Bidding opened at $100,000 before the packed showroom, and climbed to $150,000 within 10 minutes.

“There was quite a lot of commotion in the room once it reached $150,000,” Mr Boribon said.

“The bidding slowed down from there, but it kept going back and forth until it reached $202,000.”

The winning bid was placed by a buyer over the phone, and the new owner wants to remain anonymous.

We believe the van is going to stay in Australia,” Mr Boribon said.

“It definitely is an auction record in Australia for a Kombi.”

Last year a battered old Kombi in need of a full restoration sold at auction for $30,000.

In late December, a restored Kombi camper sold for $74,000 at auction.

“There has certainly been a renewed interest and following in Kombis,” Mr Boribon said.

Unique VW camper van sells for £67,500


For an entire generation the VW camper van was the ultimate symbol of freedom, the utility vehicle that would allow them to drive off into the sun in search of new thrills and experiences.

For some it was a dream which eschewed material possessions in favour of spiritual enlightenment, for others it was a cheap and cheerful way of going on a family holiday around the country or across to the continent.

So it is not without some irony that a particularly rare example of the German designed camper van was sold at auction, on Saturday, for the not insignificant price of £67,5000 to an anonymous UK buyer.

The Volkswagen Type 2 Samba Microbus was never officially imported to Britain and, as a result, the SGP 62 sold at auction in Warwickshire is thought to be only example of its type in the country.

The right hand drive camper van was built at the original VW factory in Wolfsburg in 1955, before finding its way to what was then Britain’s original VW dealership – Colborne Garages, run by John Colborne-Barber, in Ripley, Surrey – from where it was sold on.

By a stroke of fortune – at least for all VW enthusiasts – the SGP 62 appeares to have been kept in storage in the West country for 30 years, where it remained in good condition before being discovered in 1992. It has since being lovingly restored to the original specifications, with a new ‘Devon’ interior modelled on its original 1950s period design.

Nick Whale, of Silverstone auctions, which sold the SGP 62, said: “This is a beautiful and rare samba- Microbus, and it is historically important in terms of VW’s legacy in the UK. These vehicles are hugely popular.”

Peter Colborne-Barber, 71, who took over his father’s dealership until he sold it in 2001, remembers the enthusiasm with which his father greeted new models such as the SGP 62.

“This particular model had front opening windows, which were traditionally made for warmer climes, so goodness knows how it ended up in Britain,” he said. “It’s a lovely example of a VW camper van and looks even better following its restoration.”

It was Mr Colborne-Barber Snr who set up the first dealership in Britain to specialising in VW cars when, in 1949, he bought one of the first VW Beetles to be manufactured in Germany under the reconstruction programme supervised by the Allied forces at the end of the war.

The 1947 Beetle had been brought across by former Army officer George LaHaye who part exchanged it with Mr Colborne-Barber Snr for a Wolseley 6/80.

Mr Colborne-Barber Snr’s son bought the car back into family ownership in the 1980s when, by chance, its then owner drove it onto his garage forecourt for repairs.

It then remained at the family dealership even after it changed owners, as a historic memento of VW’s origins in Britain.

“My father loved that car,” said Mr Colborne-Barber Jnr. “They were robust and reliable and could take you to Scotland without any problems. He knew straight away they would be popular with the British motoring public. And they obviously still are.”


Vintage VW campervan helps raise Alexander Devine cash



The team from the newly-opened Gigney’s Restaurant in Peascod Street is doing a series of events during its launch week, one of which included a photobooth inside a campervan and tombola, with all proceeds going to the Alexander Devine charity.

Photos with fun props in the van were free but donations for the charity were asked for if you took a print out.

The tombola included prizes such as a free burger at Gigney’s and a tub of ice cream.

Michelle Heywood runs the Best of Windsor website and helped to set up the fundraising event.

She said: “We chose Alexander Devine because it’s a great local charity. The restaurant is all about helping local businesses and the community so fundraising for charity fitted in with that.”

New Labour MP planned to sleep in camper van with family as London prices so expensive


Jess Phillips crammed sheets into her battered, “clapped-out”, second-hand VW and set off for the capital with her family after being quoted £1,450 for a three-night stay

Jess Phillips crammed sheets into her battered, “clapped-out”, second-hand VW and set off for the capital with her family after being quoted £1,450 for a three-night stay

Jess Phillips the newly elected MP for Yardley in Birmingham

Transport minister: Jess Phillips with her ‘clapped out’ VW camper van

A newly-elected Labour MP planned to bed down in her camper van with her husband and kids because London hotels were so expensive, she has revealed.

Jess Phillips crammed sheets into her battered, “clapped-out”, second-hand VW and set off for the capital with her family after being quoted £1,450 for a three-night stay.

She is allowed to claim £150 a night for a hotel as an MP, but would have had to cover the other £1,000 herself – and realised she could ease the burden on taxpayers.

It was a stark welcome to the corridors of power for the 33-year-old – and confirmed her worst fears about parliament’s attitudes to families.

“After I got elected I rang the travel office and said I was going to be bringing my children with me for a few days. It was as if I said I was going to bring a nuclear bomb to Westminster,” she said.

“Lots of people kept ringing me back saying, ‘We can find you a bed in this hotel’, and, ‘You can have an adjoining room with your children’ – but they were quoting about £450 a night for three nights.

SWNS Jess Phillips the newly elected MP for Yardley in Birmingham
Hotel hell: Jess Phillips wanted to ease burden on taxpayers

“I just thought that was totally ridiculous. It made me think even more that this isn’t a normal place for normal people with normal families.”

Showing her young kids to her new workplace was important to Jess in helping them understand why their mum would be away from home three nights a week.

So, in her refreshing style that is fast becoming famous around the Commons, she decided to make her own arrangements.

“I just thought, ‘Sod it, we’ve got a VW Camper Van’. I love it, it’s like a member of our family,” said the MP for Birmingham, Yardley, who used to work at a domestic and sexual abuse charity.

“We packed up duvets, rolled-up mattresses and shoved them in the back.”

The family – husband Tom, 36; Harry, 10; and six-year-old Danny – clambered aboard and headed down the M40 to London intending to park up for the night.

In the end, friends with a two-bed flat in South London said they could crash in the living room for a few days.

But the episode highlighted the difficulties, and cost, facing MPs with young families.

Parliament’s working hours have improved over the past 20 years, with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and, more recently, Speaker John Bercow putting in place family-friendly reforms, including installing a crèche.

But Jess feels there is more to do – and is ready to lead the fight for politicians who are also parents of youngsters.

Harry and Danny certainly made the most of their visit to Westminster, performing knee-slides in the airy atrium of Portcullis House, the £235million office block for MPs opened in 2001.

And encouraging kids to feel at home in the heart of Britain’s democracy is key to keeping MPs grounded and in touch with their constituents, said Jess, who ousted Lib Dem MP John Hemming on May 7.

As well as campaigning on benefits, domestic abuse and sexual violence, she hopes to use her unique experience to breathe new life into Parliament.

Jess added: “It’s really not geared for families at all, but hopefully we can change that.”

Get a drink from the VW camper van…


NOW you’re really buzzing! We’ve had the Golf coffee bar, and the Mini reception area.

Now we have… the VW camper van bar in a pub. And how cool is that!

The Car Expert tweeted us with the picture, and said: ‘I’ll see your VW Golf coffee station and raise you a VW Type 2 bar’.

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 14.39.52

The bar is in the garage-themed pub Jubilee Garage pub in North Street, Bourne, in Lincolnshire.

According to its website, the Jubilee changed to a new theme pub because it was originally a garage. Upstairs boasts this 1972 VW camper van which has been adapted to a bar. The building showcases an array of vintage and retro car memorabilia including old Castrol signs, hub caps, a 1950s petrol pump and exclusive BRM photos from the 1960s.