Friday, 29 November 2013


Well my humble blog about my 1969 Micro bus has had 20,000 hits. I'm amazed that so many people have read about what I do, where I go and the people I meet, and even more amazed that many of you return time after time when ever I post a new blog. If you have visited my blog only once or you are a regular reader I can't thank you all enough, I must be doing something right, so I'll try to carry on doing what I'm doing. Once again a massive thank you to all of you.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wolfsburg Weed Huggers VW Club meet

On the last Wednesday of each month two local VW clubs hold their monthly club meet. I normally attend the 'House of Dub' club meet because I am good friends with Spike and Zoe who run the House of Dub, however this month my good friend Stuart, from Oil Droppers, asked if I fancied a drive over to The Wolfsburg Weed Huggers club meet and as I haven't seen many of the WWH crew since their very successful 'Open Day' back in June, I was more than happy to join him.

Stuart and I arrived at the Squirrel Pub in Penn
about 7.00pm, and were surprised to be the
first to arrive.

Still, it gave me time to take some photos of
our buses to prove we were there.!
A photo of my bay outside the pub on a dark
November evening.

A slightly better photo of my bay as it peeks
out of the dark.

Stuart followed me over in his turbo '71 bay.
Stuart was hoping for a good turn out from
the WWH,so he could promote his new venture
'Oil Droppers' VW garage / workshop.

A better picture of Stuarts bay, you can follow
the Oil Droppers by visiting and liking his
facebook page:

This lovely orange / mustard bay turned up
shortly after us, and as we chatted to Kez, the
lady owner, it turned out she has only owned
the late bay for 2 weeks, and is from the other
side of Aylesbury...

Needless to say we invited her to attend the
'Outcast VW Club club' meet next week, it
would have been rude not to, especially as
Kez lives in the same town as us.

This lovely '66 bug arrived a bit later in the
evening and again it was owned by a lady
owner, who uses the bug as a daily driver.

Looking pretty much stock, and very clean. 

This really is one good looking beetle,
especially as it's used every day on the rubbish
British roads.

Christian, arrived much later in his lovely 23
window samba.

Apart from another early beetle arriving
later in the evening, which I didn't get a photo
of, that was about the total of VW's in
attendance, which was slightly disappointing,
but given that it is the end of November, and
it's dark and cold outside I suppose most
club meets will have similar numbers attending.
We have our club meet next week and I think
we'll probably have a similar turn out.
Having said that, it was still a very enjoyable
evening, and we met some new faces and I had
an good catch up with Cristian who I believe
is the main man at the WWH. We'll have
make to make more of an effort to go over
to the WWH more often as I bet in the spring
and summer months the turnout is much better.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

My Hot Rod past...

My addiction in cars and motorised things in general started way back around 1974 when aged about 12 or 13, I used to hang out with a friend called Micky, who's dad worked at the local scrapyard, (Junkyard). On school holiday's we would spend all day down there and whenever they got a car in to be scrapped his dad used to let us take all the glass out, and remove the passenger door (for safety purposes) and then take it in turns to drive the car round the field out the back where we had made an oval track until it ran out of petrol. Then we would take it in turns to tow the car into the scrapyard using the tractor. Since then I have been hooked on all sorts of motorised things. In my teens I had the usual array of tatty cars with 'go faster stripes' and 'furry dice' until one day I went to Santa Pod to watch some drag racing and the old style Hotrods blew my mind and from that day on all I wanted was a Hot rod.
Many years later, my good friends Stuart and
Malcolm also got into hot rods and attended
many hot rod shows. Malcolm (on the right)
and me posing for the camera at the1988
N.A.S.C. Nationals at Bruntingthorpe
Proving Grounds. This stack of lager was 
meant our weekend ration, unfortunately Malc,
Stuart and I finished it all that day!

This was my first hot rod, a 1959 Ford
Popular with a stock rover V8, an automatic
gearbox and attached to a live Jag rear end
with Vauxhall Viva front and finished in two
tone pink!

Flared steel rear arches, jacked up rear end
and tinted windows, well it was the early 80's.

I still love the shape of the Ford Anglia / Pop.
This was a true British hot rod car and they
are still popular today within the hot rod
community. I could quite easily get another
Pop, it was great fun to drive around in.

If I remember correctly these were 10" x 15"
rear wheels with 7" x 14" front wheels. The
rear lights are not original Ford Popular but
they are period.

The Pop looks pure hot rod from the front. A
single wiper on an 8" high windscreen is not
that practical when it's dark and it starts to rain
 but it does look cool. With a V8 under the hood
and a narrow front end when the throttle was
planted to the floor, the front end lifted
slightly and the steering became very light.

I attended 2 NASC Nationals (annual hot rod
shows) in this car, and it broke down at the
show 2 years running! It was only a jammed
starter motor on both occasions. It also broke
down when Stuart and I went to the 'Chelsea
Cruise' in London. We couldn't find the fault
so Stu and I had to leave the car down a 
back alley and walk home from the centre of
London, on a very cold winters night. We
ended up walking down the middle of the A40
 (the main route into London from the West)
in the middle of the night. When we got home,
we got in Stuarts car and went back to London 
to tow the Pop home, a few day's later after I
had thawed out I discovered it was the earth
strap from the chassis to the engine that was
broken, which was causing the whole engine to
become 'live' every time the ignition was
turned on.

On the motorway en-route to a hot rod show,
Malc took this photo as they came alongside in
Stu's van . I had a trendy 'Magnum PI' looking
moustache in those days, but then it was the
mid 80's and they were in fashion.!

A nice photo of me driving on the motorway,
taken by Malc.(I think) as they followed in the
van that also doubled as the sleeping quarters.

After a few years, and a few breakdowns I
sold the pink pop, to a mate called Lee,and
bought this beast. It used to be a drag racing
motor back in the early 1970's and had an
extended front chassis section to extend
the overall wheel base to obtain more

Again this had the trusty Rover V8 up the front
end and an Austin Westminster rear axle which
provided plenty of traction. Off the line you
could floor the throttle and the rear end would
squat down and dig into the tarmac and you'd
be off with virtually no wheel spin at all. I drove
this around like this with brushed on grey primer
for a year or two, which really annoyed the shiny
Porsche owners as from a standing start at the
traffic lights I would beat them every time.
This photo from around the same time shows
the Aylesbury Ford Pop crew. Malc's red
pop, Bob's blue pop, my grey primer pop, and
Lee, who bought my old pink pop.
This Pop came with a fibreglass front end, to
keep the weight down for racing, but I decided
to put a steel front end back on. You can see
the original red colour before I painted it in grey
primer. Stuart and I were talking about what
colour I should paint the car in, Stuart decided
it would look good in the true hot rod paint
scheme of black and flames. So Stu got some
aerosol's from the garage and painted half
the bonnet to show me what it would look like.
I liked the look of the flamed paint job, so that
was settled.

With the paint scheme decided Stuart sweet
talked another mate into lending us his
workshop to paint the Pop. The prep work is
going well as this photo shows.

Stuart working hard in prepping the body.

All prepped and ready for paint in the spray
booth. The large bonnet to the left is off a
Camero, and it almost dwarfs the Pop.

Stuart couldn't wait to start spraying my car,
here he is applying the filler primer. which was
sanded down before proceeding.

The gloss black starting to go on, I think I'm
right in saying this was Stuarts first complete
car he had sprayed.

Stuart is in there somewhere... the black is
almost complete. After a few hours in front
of the heat lamps the paint dried quickly.

Once completely dry Stuart then covered the
bonnet in 3" masking tape, and using a sharp
blade cut out the flame design by eye.

After the car had been masked up to avoid
any over spray, Stu started to apply the gloss
white to the grill, lower front wings and front
of the bonnet.

Again after a short period in front of the heat
lamps, the yellow could be applied over the
remaining bonnet and wing area's and over
his masking tape flame design.

The orange was the last colour to go on. At
this point it didn't look much like the flame job
he promised me. But I had faith in him and his
capabilities, and once the paint had dried and
the masking tape on the bonnet had been
carefully removed using a sharp blade, Stuarts
design was revealed.

WOW, What a transformation, those flames
look absolutely brilliant.

It's hard to believe it's the same car car I drove
around in grey primer just 2 days previously.

Nice photo showing Stuarts handiwork.

This is my favourite photo of this car. The
flames are just licking over the front wings, the
deep gloss black paint has a super shine with
some great reflections. The traditional red
steel wheels with white wall tyres complement
the paint job perfectly. Unfortunately a short
time later I lost my job so had to sell her.
A few years later, I was back in work and had
saved some money so it was time to purchase
another Pop. This one was going to be a
salt flat racer type rod, with a 2 litre motor,
fender less at the front with stock rear arches.
I had the louvre boot made, and the exhausts
was going to come through the rear valance.

It had a 4" roof chop, HA Viva front suspension
and it had a lovely stance. I had the rear alloy
fender guards made up and had planned to
have the bonnet top louvred as well, but yet
again I lost my job so it also had to be sold.

So that was a brief insight into my hot rod past,
I do miss those days, but onward and upwards.
A massive thanks to Stu all those years ago
for doing such a brilliant job in painting the car.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

I never 'saw' this blog entry coming.!

Following on from my previous blog entries on sign writing, I'm really getting back into sign writing and felt the need to try something different, so recently I have been looking for an old hand saw that I could make into a fun sign. I have been searching the car boot sales for what seems like ages, then last week I hit the jackpot. I saw 4 old rusting hand saw's under a table at the car boot, I picked one to have a look and the seller said I could have all four for the grand total of 50p, (about 80 cents) so how could I refuse. They were just what I was looking for, the two larger ones looked old and were rusting slightly, the two smaller ones I haven't really got a use for as yet, but for the price they cost me if I try something and it doesn't work then all I have lost is 50p. The idea I had in my mind I got from VW shows I have attended in the past, there is a guy there who sells hand saw's, gasoline cans, push bikes etc and they are all sign written and pinstriped and they look fantastic. I'm not going to be anywhere near as good as him, but we all have to start somewhere, right? and as this will be my first time sign writing on rusty metal, we'll have to see how it comes out.

Bargain find, not sure what I will do with the
two smaller saws, but I'm sure I'll find a use
for them somewhere. For this project I have
in mind I will use one of the larger saws.

This saw has a lovely shaped handle made
by a craftsman, however...

Upon closer inspection the handle is riddled
with wood worm, not sure how long it would
be before they ruined the whole handle so I
opted to use the other large saw.

Although not quite as pretty, it looks like a
good base to start my project.

A good solid handle in a traditional shape. The
blade is blunt and rusting and for this project
I will leave it just like it is.

The first job to do was to sketch out what I
was going to put onto the blade. I thought of
some wording and maybe a pin stripe or two
around the edges. I decided to use an old
looking font just for a change. Here I have
sketched out the wording but it looks bland
at this stage.

To give the wording a bit more body, I decided
to add a 3D look to it. I had decided on a two
tone colour scheme for the lettering.

When writing on an old rusty steel saw, if I had
used a normal pencil to sketch out the design
I would never have seen it, so I used this
Stabilo type pencil. They are brilliant and come
in black and white and will write on almost
surface, metal / glass / wood and rusty old saws.

Brilliant invention that is cheap to buy, lasts a
long time and something I cannot do without.

As this was my first attempt at painting onto a
rusty saw blade I thought I'd better have a little
practise. I got the other large saw, got out the
permanent marker and quickly sketched out
the VW letters. I then painted it in the colour
I had chosen.

OK, so the turquoise went on OK, now to high-
light the letters in antique white. Once I had
completed the white, I got the fine line marker
out and jut tidied up the edges. Not a bad first
effort, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be
painting on a rusty blade.

Feeling confident I started to paint the saw in
the turquoise. That small blob of paint in the
plastic tub was more than enough to give all
the wording 2 coats to ensure it covered the
rust evenly.

The turquoise blue finished, the wording looks
OK at this stage but it does need the 3D look.

I used the same antique white for the 3D
highlights, which I think suits the font nicely.
So that is the wording finished, so time to think
about the pinstripe around the outer edge, just
to finish it off.

I had decided on a brilliant white and yellow
for the 2 pinstripe colours. Yellow is a very
opaque colour so I decided to give the saw
a base coat of white to ensure the yellow
covered. As I mentioned this is my first attempt
at painting on a saw, and already there are
things I should have done differently...

For example, although the wording does get
smaller it still wasn't small enough to add the
pinstripes! Maybe I should have put more
thought into the design before I started to
paint, never mind, live and learn.

The finished piece. OK it's not bad, but it's not
brilliant either. There are so many things I will
do differently next time. I had intended to give
this piece to a mate to hang up in his workshop,
but to be honest I don't think it's good enough.
Like I said, this was my first time for saw
painting, and I'm a quick learner so we'll see
how much I really learnt on the next saw.!