Vintage vehicle serves up sweet new venture

Paul Scott and his partner Deb Lawton, have set up the Fudge Bus. Picture: Ian Burt

Paul Scott and his partner Deb Lawton, have set up the Fudge Bus. Picture: Ian Burt

Take an iconic vehicle and a melt-in-the-mouth sweet and you could have a winning combination.

Paul Scott is hoping his 50-year-old VW camper van and a supply of award-winning fudge will be the recipe for success after giving up his day job and ploughing his savings into his new venture.

The former shop manager from Melton Constable bought the camper van last year and after sourcing fudge from a producer in Yorkshire he has put the two together to create The Fudge Bus.

He, and partner Deb Lawton, took the bus full of fudge to sell at a couple of events last summer where he soon realised that it could take off as a full time job.

With its shiny cream and green paintwork with the instantly recognisable VW symbol on the bonnet, vinyl seats that turn into a bed for weekend festivals and events, and oak fronted cubby holes cleverly making the most of every inch of storage space, the bus is already proving the perfect shop front for the new business.

Paul Scott and his partner Deb Lawton, have set up the Fudge Bus. Picture: Ian Burt
Paul Scott and his partner Deb Lawton, have set up the Fudge Bus. Picture: Ian Burt

“People are drawn to the bus,” said Mr Scott. “Then they see the fudge and can’t resist it so the two seem to go really well together.”

If the business takes off it will be a dream come true for 42-year-old Mr Scott, who was the shop manager at Pensthorpe Natural Park until last year, as it will be the chance to combine both his love affairs.

“My first car when I was 17 was a VW Beetle and I go to all the VW shows around the country,” he said. “I managed a sweet shop in Hunstanton for four years and made my own fudge so I know how popular it is. So I put the two together and on our first event we sold 50kgs of fudge. We have done some pop-up shops over the winter and now are booking into as many events as we can in Norfolk.

“It has been quite a gamble going from a full time job to working for myself but hopefully this year it will really take off.

“And the bus is a lovely place to work.”

Mr Scott’s camper was built in 1965 and he believes it was first bought by an Austrian and used as a bus to transport a football team to matches, before it was imported to the UK. Its top speed is about 55 miles per hour but Mr Scott prefers it that way as it means stress-free motoring which “puts a smile on your face” and it gets admiring looks wherever it goes.

Get a first look at the new VW T6 camper van at the Motorhome & Caravan show at the NEC

Visitors to the Motorhome & Caravan Show at the NEC this autumn will have the chance to see a collection of the new VW T6 Transporter conversions under one roof for the first time in the UK.

Four exhibitors have confirmed they will have VW T6 conversions at the show, including the original VW campervan converter Westfailia GMBH which will debut its new T6 Club Joker City on UK shores.

Concept Multi-Car Ltd (Stand 11,145) will launch its all new conversion for the VW T6 which is called the Reimo Free Van and expects to have another T6 based model on display.

Nomad Campervans (Stand 11,165) will have its new ‘Ranger’ T6 conversion, unveiling a layout that combines the comfort of saloon car seating with the functionality of a campervan. Taking advantage of the new T6 variable seating layout options of the back passenger area, this new family multi- purpose camper offers seating for 5 on full size seats without the usual compromise of sitting on a 3/4 width rock and roll bed.

Wingamm (Stand 8.08) will have the show’s only T6 coachbuilt conversion, with the new T6 Micro on show in the entrances to Hall 9 and 12.

Westfalia Mobil GmbH (Stand 12,160), widely regarded as the original VW campervan converter, will feature its brand new T6 based Club Joker City at the show. It comes with a pop-up roof and will go into production in autumn 2015. This new model is designed to be used ‘365’ days a year as a go anywhere vehicle acting as both daily driver and campervan at a height of under two meters. It comes with a cassette toilet in the rear and the possibility to include a shower. It also features a compressor-type refrigerator as well as a warm water boiler and heating, with innovative sleeping and seating arrangements.


Other exhibitors also expect to feature VW T6 campervan conversions pending delivery of base vehicles into the UK this September. AutoHaus (Stand 12,86) plans on featuring T6 conversions of all its popular models at the show. Danbury Motorcaravans (Stand 12,60) too expects to have a T6 conversion of its popular Surf model. Hillside Leisure (Stand 11,10) plans on featuring a T6 version of its Birchover campervan conversion. Vanworx (Stand 11,160) also hopes to feature a VW T6 converted to campervan specification at the NEC this October.


James Bissett, Marketing Campaign Director for NCC Events, organisers of the Motorhome & Caravan Show, said: “Our event is the UK’s national leisure vehicle launch show and we are really excited to have a selection of VW T6 campervan conversion models making their UK debut as this will be the first place visitors will see them all in one place.


“It’s testament to the industry how fast the leading converters have acted to get hold of the very first VW T6’s coming into the UK and burn the midnight oil to turn them into campervans. It shows the importance of our Motorhome & Caravan Show. Stay tuned to our social media channels and for updates.”


The Motorhome & Caravan Show 2015 will be opened by ex-superbike racer and ‘King of the Jungle’ Carl ‘Foggy’ Fogarty and is the first place to see a life-size model caravan made of LEGO® bricks revealed to the world on opening day 13 October. All new 2016 motorhome and caravan models from leading UK and European brands will feature alongside trailer tents, folding caravans, caravan holiday homes and lodges, campsites, tow-cars, awnings and porches.


Visitors can enjoy exclusive show only deals, new product demonstrations, the Experts’ Theatre, FREE caravan towing and motorhome manoeuvring lessons, browsing hundreds of accessories, free parking and a free show guide – plus kids go free too!


The show is supported by The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club, fills 11 huge halls at the NEC in Birmingham and features every type of leisure vehicle.

To buy tickets (in advance from as little as £7.50 senior/8.50 adult*) and for more information visit: or call: 0844 338 7799

A van that has lots of people fooled

Chenae Loveridge’s van is suffering an identity crisis.


On the surface the tiny van resembles a classic Volkswagen camper, but hiding beneath the retro trimmings lives a factory standard 1990 Subaru Sambar.

The masquerading VW is a rare sight on New Zealand roads and there have been reports of Loveridge’s dolled up Subaru being the only one in the country – a far cry from the van’s motherland where there are plenty of Japanese motorists navigating the expressways in their kitted-out replicas.

New Plymouth woman Chenae Loveridge baffles fellow motorists with her 1990 Subaru Sambar Volkswagen replica mini camper.

Fairfax NZ

New Plymouth woman Chenae Loveridge baffles fellow motorists with her 1990 Subaru Sambar Volkswagen replica mini camper.

The VW conversion kit – which comprises additional side skirts, an altered front panel, an oversized VW emblem, chrome wheel caps and a slick new paint job – is virtually unheard of here in New Zealand but is believed to be available for purchase in Japan.

Loveridge’s customised people carrier underwent its transformation before arriving in the country and when the New Plymouth woman fortuitously spotted it at a Te Awamutu car dealership she immediately fell in love with the peculiar motor.



But the van wasn’t actually for sale and the car yard, which had further enhanced the automobile’s charm with white-wall tyres and window tints, was instead using the vintage knock-off as a promotional vehicle and was not in any hurry to part with it.

“I looked at importing one myself but they’re notorious for rust and I didn’t want to take the risk of not being able to inspect it myself,” says Loveridge.


“When I called them to ask if they were willing to sell it they wanted to know what I would be using it for before they would consider it.”

The Humdingers Cakes owner-operator explained to the dealer how she planned to turn the fifth-generation Sambar into the custom cake shop’s newest delivery vehicle, and luckily for her the idea was well received.

The petite van underwent the retro transformation with the assistance of a VW conversion kit.

Fairfax NZ

The petite van underwent the retro transformation with the assistance of a VW conversion kit.

About a month ago Loveridge became owner of the imitation VW, which runs a 650cc engine with a five-speed manual transmission, and she says her father had to head north with a trailer to pick it up due to the van’s lack of grunt.

“It doesn’t go much above 70kmh so you can’t really take it out of town.”

The urban delivery van embodies the cake shop’s unique and funky style, which almost certainly explains why Loveridge was so keen on pursuing the van despite already having a company car.

“I couldn’t get it out of my head,” she explains. “I just saw it and had to have it – it was one of those impulse things.”

The creative foodie, who is planning to vinyl wrap the Japanese auto with a nice shade of pink, says wherever the van goes it attracts a crowd and she has even returned to the vehicle to find onlookers taking photographs.

But, she understands their curiosity and although the mock camper tends to confuse a lot of bystanders she says more often than not it has them fooled and they are left thinking it is a legitimate Volkswagen.

“As far as I know it is the only one of its kind in New Zealand. We were really lucky to find it.”

 – Taranaki Daily News

Annual VW car show taking place in Killarney, Canada

Killarney Fairgrounds will be transformed into a Volkswagen enthusiast’s paradise. The Dubs at the Lake annual VW Enthusiast Car Show will take place on Saturday, Aug. 15 and Sunday, Aug. 16 with registration at 10 a.m. and 9 a.m. respectively.

“The first year I planned the event I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I’d be happy if a few people came with their cars,” said organizer Ryan Smith. “There were 54 cars last year and I was more than happy.” The second annual event is already growing in popularity and its sure to be even more successful than the first year with people expected to attend from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Minnesota.

“Word is getting out and there are already people pre-registering.”

The event is open to anyone who wants to display Volkswagen vehicles of any shape, style and description for a charge of $15 for the weekend. A number of vendors are also expected to attend with memorabilia and collectables.

A swap meet on Saturday will add to the excitement as those working to restore their vehicles have an opportunity to connect with each other.

“When you’re restoring a vehicle, you’re always looking for that hard-to-find part and the swap meet will help them out,” Smith added.

A cruise through town is planned for Saturday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. and it will give everyone a chance to see the vehicles in action. From there, the group will return to the camping area for supper on their own prior to a drive-in movie scheduled for dusk.

Smith’s enthusiasm for Volkswagens began several years ago when he started looking for a VW bus. “I finally found one and dug it out of a bush,” he said. Throughout the restoration process he met other enthusiasts and his love of the vehicles increased. “You meet such a neat little group of die hards,” he chuckled. “Everyone remembers yelling ‘punch bug, no return’ and hitting their sister in the back seat.”

Smith was impressed by the collection of cars at last year’s show and invites anyone with anything VW related to attend. “They can come with a fully restored car or one that is full of rust,” he said. “It’s just meant to be a good time bringing everyone together.”

Donations throughout the event will be accepted for the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. To register or for more information on the event, please contact Ryan Smith at 204-523-2060.


VW Festival roars into Leeds

VW 2

The VW Festival is the liveliest motoring event in Yorkshire’s summer calendar, and it’s coming to Leeds’s Harewood House again on August 14-16.

It all started in 2004 when lifelong VW fanatics Paul Scott and Shane Beardsley got together and thought that if they found a suitable location they could start a festival. Very much on the basis that “If we build it, they will come” – and come they certainly did.

The VW festival has grown year on year with the help of a team of 18, and festival-goers now number in their thousands.

As one of the few Northern VW events, it has proven to be a welcome change for VW fans and their families living in the North who in the past have had 300­ mile round trips to get to other shows.

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VW Festival is a family-­friendly, entertainment­-filled weekend that has something for everyone. You can spend the day, or the full weekend looking around some of the best Volkswagens that the UK (and in some cases from overseas!) has to offer, as well as enjoying live music, an awesome live graffiti display, a dog show, as well as a wide variety of other entertainment throughout the weekend.

Previous years have seen chainsaw juggling, fire eaters, stilt walkers, fire dancers, circus performers, an F1 simulator, a BMX display team, and free runners….the list goes on and on, and is in addition to the extensive list of activities permanently resident in the grounds of Harewood House. Prepare to take the little kids (and big kids) home very tired indeed.

The show ‘n’ shine winners parade featuring the finest vehicles displayed over the weekend will take place on the Sunday afternoon, followed by the eagerly awaited charity raffle which sees another fantastic classic VW Beetle, that was lovingly restored by Herbie Hospital, given away.

This year’s chosen charity is Cash For Kids and their volunteers are selling raffle tickets over the weekend, so please help to support them.


VW 4

Looking back as VW Kombi turns 65


A white-bearded man hangs out by his restored VW van in an artichoke field to give cyclists cookies.

“Hi, I’m Kermit,” Paul Aschenbrenner says to bikers, “I’m here to provide free food, free informations and free tools.”

When the road stretches like taffy and the wind won’t go away, the miles tick into the hundreds and not even views of the coast and the crops and the mountains can distract from a blistering backside, something happens.

A prayer is summoned, even if the tired biker doesn’t realize it.

The proof is the angel who appears on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, with free chilled water, maps, PowerBars, tools and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

He’s a 77-year-old man who looks like a hermit and calls himself Kermit, standing next to a vintage green Volkswagen bus with plaid fabric seats and bumper stickers that say things like “OLD GUYS RULE” and “I see dumb people.”

Paul Aschenbrenner is also a self-described, self-deployed “road angel,” as his business card states clearly.

He waves for bikers to stop from his spot on the side of Molera Road in windswept Castroville, next to the Pezzini Farms produce stand and the Choke Coach food truck, from 10:30am to 2:30pm every rain-free Tuesday.

His spot presents bathroom proximity and a literal choke point on the Pacific Crest Bicycle Trail to catch types traveling from as far off as Canada down to Mexico (and vice versa).

Last week, five happy Oakland hipsters happened across him on the way to Baja. They call themselves Bicicletas Por La Paz, and “mobilize in protest of corporate power over people and the environment with bike power.” They run a community kitchen, street events and music tours by bike.

Vocalist Carolyn Herlehy says they didn’t arrive weary, but they were suddenly refreshed. “We weren’t necessarily in need, but we were definitely in need of his joyous spirit,” she says. “He’s such a blessing on the side of the road.”

They stopped, drank, signed his guestbook and played a song on ukulele. Kermit danced. Everyone laughed. They cleaned out his chocolate chip treats and left a sticker on his dashboard.

“The cookies were the best part of our day,” Herlehy says.

On this day Kermit wears a button with a needle that moves a “fun factor” from LOW to HIGH. Someone asks about it, and he gives it to him. He also sports a Kermit hat and has a Kermit stuffed animal dangling from the back of a seat of his restored 1978 VW, which he also calls Kermit because, as he says, he is an extension of the van.

The hat thing is nothing new. During the three decades he was an instructor at Hartnell, he wore a different goofy hat from his collection of 65 every Monday to keep students motivated to show up, if for nothing less than to check his head.

The hats also work as a trademark during his long-term volunteering at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where he’s known as The Hat Guy. For the Wildflower Triathlon at San Antonio Lake, he dances and beats a drum at the very top of “Nasty Grade,” a miserable 1-mile climb in the half-Ironman, while wearing a giant white bunny costume.

Kermit encountered his own misery on his first ambitious overland bike trip with his buddy and fellow college teacher David Shipnuck in the High Sierras circa 1983.

As the air thinned, his quads burned, his body cramped and his tail blistered raw. “I wasn’t ready for that,” he says.

The trip would cover 100 miles a day, and 3,600 in 30 days all told.

But he also encountered adventure and sheer joy. They would ride up to police stations and ask to camp in the city park. They spent a night in Malta City Jail in Montana when the cops offered shelter from an onrushing thunderstorm.

“I love just bicycling and being with a good friend and meeting people,” he says.

The most inspiring stop during his rambles came in Virginia’s part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He ran into a woman named June Curry, who saw cyclists oozing up the hills and asking her for water from the hose. So she put out a sign, “Water for bikers.”

Eventually Curry turned the second of her two homes into a lodge for cyclists, and in the morning she would bake cookies and bring them over warm.

Now, as Kermit counts more than 400 cyclists from some 25 countries and as many states who have signed his register, he’s carrying on her ethic: “Pay it forward, so they’ll do a good deed themselves.”

It’s actually a bit more ambitious than that, whether he realizes it or not. Kermit is teaching folks to have fun practicing kindness in memorable ways, so the lesson lasts that much longer.

Suddenly it makes perfect sense that the two things the old Hartnell instructor taught were sociology and psychology.

VW explores vans and pickups to broaden U.S. appeal

“A worker checks a Volkswagen AG camper van, or microbus, known as a “Kombi” in Brazil, on the…

HANOVER, Germany — Volkswagen, which became part of U.S. pop culture with its bug-eyed Microbus, is looking at getting back into the U.S. van market.

The German company could also sell a pickup truck as it examines opportunities to broaden its range in North America, Eckhard Scholz, head of the light commercial vehicle unit, said at a press conference in Hanover on Wednesday.

“Pickup trucks are a dominating segment,” while there’s also a trend in the U.S. toward compact European vans, Scholz said. “We’re looking at both options intensively.”

Entering the U.S. light commercial vehicle market would complement Wolfsburg-based VW’s plan to become more than a niche manufacturer in the region and catch up with General Motors and Toyota. Light trucks are helping drive U.S. sales at both companies, as cheaper gasoline has turned consumer tastes back toward big vehicles.

VW became the world’s second-largest automaker by gaining market share just about everywhere except the U.S., where it has struggled since losing its No. 1 spot in the imported-car market to Toyota in 1975. It still occupies significant cultural territory for a baby-boomer generation that watched Herbie the anthropomorphic — and self-driving — Beetle in the 1968 Disney movie “The Love Bug” and saw the Bus build VW’s credentials among hippies and surfers.

Yet last year, when VW sold a record of more than 10 million vehicles around the world amid the strongest American car demand since 2006, VW-brand deliveries in the U.S. dropped 10 percent to 366,970 cars.

Part of the problem is a thin SUV lineup and the absence of a rival for Ford’s best-selling F-150. VW’s Amarok pickup truck, sold outside the U.S. where pickup trucks are less popular, is smaller than the Ford flagship.

In addition to the Amarok, VW’s light commercial vehicle division sells the Caddy, Crafter and T5 vans and minibuses. Western Europe accounted for 292,000 of the division’s 445,000 global vehicle sales last year. It also sells vehicles in eastern Europe, South America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Volkswagen is investing about $7 billion in North America after a previous effort to broaden its appeal with a bigger, cheaper version of the Passat sedan for the U.S. market lost steam. VW was slow to follow up with other new models after the Passat’s 2011 introduction.


Deal of the Day: Volkswagen California

Save more than £2800 on the Volkswagen California 2.0 TDI Bluemotion Beach


Pricing for the new Volkswagen California has been released, with the new model starting at just shy of £38,000 when it goes on sale in August – click here for full details.

If you’re looking for a camper van in which to whisk yourself away this summer, the outgoing model has some good discounts available online. Here’s our pick of the bunch.

The car Volkswagen California 2.0 TDI Bluemotion Beach
The saving £2811
The discounted price £33,432
The broker


There’s a lot to like about the VW California. It is easy to camp in, has a smooth and quiet ride and offers adequate performance for the long trips you’re likely to take it on.


There are a few practical annoyances in the cabin, such as having no easy way to access the roof bed without standing on the front seats.

Should I add any options?

There’s a choice of four or five seats as standard. The rear bench folds flat to create a double bed while there’s a fold-out roof bed you get to via the hatch at the front. A host of optional extras are available, including a parking heater with auxiliary heater for £1434 and other camping conveniences such as an air purifier for £114 and two extra swivel chairs for £714.

What next?

Head over to, then select ‘Volkswagen’ and ‘California – Estate’ to see the range of deals available.


The new VW California van you can’t have in California


Here’s a new protest movement for all you old Hippies out there: “Bring the T5 VW Camper to USA”. This sweet ride is like a Robocop update of the old VW bus, full of RV-like amenities including a fold-out bed, a sink, refrigerator and fold-out table; perfect for that cross-country drive to discover the soul of America you’ve been meaning to take.

“The California” as VW calls it, pulls all your emotional strings while appealing to your 21st Century expectations—much like the way Dodge brought back and modernized the muscle car with The Challenger.

The one bump in the road is this: the vehicle is not for sale in the US. What?!

When a friend asked me to join the Facebook group promoting this cause, I admit I rolled my eyes. Then I watched the video tour of of this righteous ride, and I too, was looking for the credit card slot on my laptop. Yo, V-dub, let’s bring this bad-boy to it’s emotional home. You can call the VW bus a “German car” all you want, but we all know it’s an artifact of the California 60s, Man.

From the Facebook page:

“There is a huge vacuum in US market for this great Camper. I don’t get it: Doesn’t VW, the company want to sell and make money? Then bring it to US , where you will sell 5X more than all of the European market. People are buying used 2003 Westfalia campers in US for almost it’s original price even when they have 100,000 miles on them. hear me VW?”