David Powell had “Always wanted a VW Camper van, ever since I can remember and guess that I just needed to get it out of my system”. And then the enthusiasm of his young daughter Megan provided him with that final bit of motivation to get out there and find one.
“I don’t really know anything about its history, I bought it from Preloved UK where it was advertised as an unfinished project, in hindsight I can probably see why. My first impression was ‘Oh my God’ and when we towed it home on the back of a trailer, some bloke stopped me and offered me scrap value for it.
“I’d looked at a few examples, but they all looked as i they might be hiding problems and I would end up spending much more money on them than I planned. At least with this one, there was no hiding place for work that needed doing. There was no hiding place for anything, the interior consisted of just two broken front seats and an engine. My take on it, was that at least I could see what had been done and what still needed doing!”
David promptly bought a Rota Jig and started by removing all of the suspension and brakes, the entire underside was Sand Blasted on site by AC Blasting Services from Ticehurst. Although a few panels had already been changed by a previous owner, the chassis needed some welded repairs and David had to replace many of the body panels, the rear roof section was cut out and replaced along with the roof gutters. All joints were sealed and the entire underside was painted with U-POL’S Raptor durable 2K polyurethane coating, this was colour matched to the planned colour of the bodywork.
An imported, rust free front beam was refurbished, painted and fitted together with new front brakes; callipers, discs and of course, brand new brake pipes throughout. A vacuum servo from VW Heritage was added at the same time, together with a reconditioned steering box and all new steering linkages. At the rear, a new fuel tank was installed with all new E10 fuel lines and the brakes were again rebuilt. New dampers have been fitted all round. Both cab doors and the tailgate were replaced with rust free imported parts which were dipped to remove the old paint.
Finally, the body work was completely stripped, rust treated and filled, and the van was sent away to Simon and Ade and the guys at CMS Coachworks in Horam who completed the spectacular paintwork that you see here.
“Originally the VW Camper bus was orange and white, but it is now VW vintage white and Ye Ye Green (309 Verde Chiaro) from the Fiat 500 range, I really like the Fiat green, it gives the bus a retro/vintage feel. I was thrilled to see it come out of the paint shop and knew that the unusual paint combination worked really well, then when it was returned home I could start the process of putting it all back together.“Leigh Hicks was the savior at this point, I had completely underestimated the work ahead, but with Leigh’s help we made a start on what felt like a monumental task.
“As far as I know, the engine is the original Type 1 AS 1600 twin port, it was sitting in the back of the luggage area when I bought the bus. It looks like it’s had a rebuild at some stage, but it appears to be OK for now. I’ve had all the tinware stripped and powder coated, there’s a new carburetor & alternator and of course all service items. My thinking was that if the engine is no good, then all the new bits I’ve bought will transfer over on to a new reconditioned unit.
“Leigh and I then fitted a complete, new Vanwurks interior including a three quarter width rock n roll bed. The new seats front and back, door cards and carpets are from Newton Commercial, and in order to co-ordinate the inside and the outside, I chose British Racing Green leather trim on the seats with cream piping and door cards. Leigh was the expert when it came to re-fitting the new headliner and again with the new Devon pop top bellows.” All of the door locks and handles were re-chromed by Ashford Chroming in Kent. “It’s fair to say, that pretty much every nut and bolt has been replaced or restored!
And finally, I drove it for the first time. It was terrifying, and the first time I had ever driven any T2. I took it down to my friend Mick’s garage for a check over, to make sure everything was tightened up correctly, to get the engine set up properly and to get an M.O.T.“There are still a few bits to do, I want to have it thoroughly Waxoiled, but most of all, I want to start using it. We plan to go camping and exploring as a family, there are a few friends who would like me to drive at their weddings and my wife Debbie, plans to use the bus as a Pop Up Tea Room at some local events and festivals.
“It’s great fun, I drove down to Hastings to the wedding of a friend and I kept getting tooted and waved at.”