Saturday, 19 December 2015

Just Kampers Christmas Open Day. (part 1 of 2)

This weeks blog is all about the 'Just Kampers' Christmas gathering / open day that they held at their head office and distribution warehouse on Saturday 12th December. Just Kampers are a Volkswagen automotive parts and accessories supplier based in Odiham, in Hampshire RG29 1JE here in the U.K. and for no particular reason they are my favourite supplier of parts for both my 1969 microbus and my newly acquired 1999 T4 transporter. You can check out their very easy to navigate and extremely comprehensive website here: 
(you may need to copy and paste) This Xmas open day event, now in its 3rd year promised to be a friendly fun family day to enable them to thank all their customers in person and to wish us all a Happy Christmas. They said on their facebook page that there will be hot chocolate with whipped cream and marsh mellows, hot dogs, mince pies, and a host of activities to keep the children occupied. There is also going to be Santa's post box, Santa's camper photo booth and a decorated VW competition and of course lots of discounted lines from their huge inventory of stock. As Odiham is about 65 / 70 miles from my hometown, I decided to shoot down there in the new T4, as opposed to taking my 1969 microbus as it would be much quicker and cheaper. I attended the Just Kampers open day back in June, and that was a great day out, so I was hoping for a similar sort of day at their Christmas open day. You can check that blog entry here: (again you may need to copy and paste the address)
To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of this page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.

Approaching the Just Kampers head quarters
I followed this lovely white over orange 1973
T2 Westfalia. This really was a nice looking
bus. There are more photos later in the
blog review of this lovely bay window.

The Xmas event was due to officially open at
10.00am and I arrived at about 09.35 and after
a long drive down I headed inside to find the
toilet. The Just Kampers crew were still setting
up the refreshment stall, which was to be my
next stop.

The event reception area looked festive with the
decorated tree and hanging decorations. The
long table had loads of things to keep the kids
entertained including colouring books and
decorate your own Reindeer.

Another view of the reception area, all prepped
and ready for a Xmas get together. As I said
earlier, I arrived before the opening time which
is why it's empty but within an hour....

...The place was packed. The weather forecast
was for heavy rain, but that didn't put off the
hardy Just Kampers customers.
(I pinched this photo off of the Just Kampers
facebook page, sorry guy's)

In the Just Kampers toilet they had some cool 
VW pictures. I did like this Beetle one.

This cool poster I have seen before but it still 
looked good framed and hanging up. 

My 1999 2.5 TDI T4 parked up at the Just
Kampers headquarters. I have put the winter
wheels on to save the Audi alloy's from the
salt they put on the roads during the winter
months and I have to say that I think it drives
better with the original steel wheels on.

I washed the '99 the day before, and I thought
because of the damp conditions on the drive
down it would be a lot dirtier than it was.

This gorgeous stock looking 1970 Westfalia
was simply stunning. I loved everything about
this bus, from the stock ride height down to the
white painted steel wheels with whitewall tyres.

This U.S. import looked fantastic from every
angle. This early bay proves that keeping a bus
just as Volkswagen had designed it is far better
than lowering it and adding some fancy wheels. 

A nice touch was that the bus still had the U.S.
vehicle inspection stickers on the engine lid.
Judging by these stickers, the lovely bus came
from Hawaii, which could be why it is such a
lovely rust free condition.

This is the lovely 1973 late bay that I followed
into the Just Kampers headquarters. This bus
was amazing, and had a proper surf bus theme.
The steel mesh sun visor looked great as did
the chrome headlight eyebrows.

This lowered '73 Westy looked great in it's white
over bright orange paint. I did like the 3 bow roof
rack, and the fact this bus still has the original
steel wheels which suited this bus perfectly.

I did like the illuminated 'Stop' sign on the rear
bumper and the huge 'Surfers Paradise' sign
attached to the roofrack. This really was a nice
clean and straight bus.

Just a small selection of the surfing themed
stickers that this bus had. This bus would be
perfectly at home on a beach in Cornwall.

This 1990 T25 crew cab pick up looked great
parked up by the entrance to the Just Kampers
warehouse. I do like these T25 pick ups as they
are so versatile, yet still look so cool.

The T25 crew cab is a true work horse and
also a cool ride. This one was a very
example with a lovely coat of green paint and
 very straight body panels.

This lovely looking 1976 late bay I think belongs
to Just Kampers which today they had turned
into a Christmas photo booth. As you would 

expect with a vehicle being owned by JK, the 
bus was immaculate, straight and very solid.

You can see just how straight this late bay is, the
immaculate coat of paint gives off an almost
perfect reflection. The standard ride height also
helps to make this bus stand out.

The interior of the camper photo booth was just
like new. This is how I like to see buses, all
complete and original looking.

Wow, just a lovely original looking interior. This
bus really was stunning. I do like that green
check fabric on the seats.

A better look inside this gorgeous bus. The time,
effort and not to mention money it must have
needed to get this late bay to this standard must
be huge, but it was well worth it in the end.

As my 1969 microbus is a tin top, I'm always
fascinated by how much room there actually is
in a pop top bay window, regardless of whether
it's a rear, front or side hinged roof.

Mark and kerry own this lovely 1967 Karmann
convertible beetle. Wilhelm Karmann produced 
the convertible Beetle from 1949 - 1980 and 
it had many features that the standard Beetle 
didn't have. These extra's included, duel rear 
ashtrays, twin map pockets and a vanity  
mirror in the sun visor.

Other extra's included the lovely stone guards
on the bottom of the rear wings. The body also
had many strengthening modifications to
compensate for the lose in removing the roof.

The hood itself had 1in of insulation and also an
inner lining to hide the mechanism and cross
bars. The rear window was tempered safety
glass. When the hood was down Karmann
noted that you couldn't see over folded hood,
so the rear view mirror was mounted on an
offset pivot. By simply twisting the mirror 180
degress, it raised the mirror by 2 inches which
was enough to see over the hood. 

 This really was a lovely example of this classic
cabriolet. These Karmann beetles really are a
timeless classic that will always be in demand.

There are many convertible Beetle's out there,
but if it doesn't have the Karmann badge, it
really isn't a real Karmann cabriolet.

This 1970 stunning panel van is the promotional
vehicle for Just Kampers and as you would
expect it is immaculate. I have seen this van on
numerous occasions at various shows and it
looks this good every time I see it. I do like a
nice panel van and this has to be one of the best
panel vans in the U.K. at the moment.

The 'Preservation parts' logo on the sides is a
line of accessories that Just Kampers sell. This
van really does look good from every angle, and
if this ever came up for sale, I would definitely
put in a serious offer.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that no VW show
or event is complete without a Fire bus, and the
Just Kampers Open Day was no different. This
1986 T25 Fire bus looked great parked up in
front of the JK warehouse. It belonged to a
JK employee who I had a good chat to, but
I have fotgotten his name. I mentioned that I 

had left my 1969 microbus at home and 
drove down in the T4 as it was quicker and
 cheaper, he said that he left his 1960's split 
screen at home for the same reasons and 
came along in the Fire Bus.

This really was a nice bus. I did like the amber
lights mounted on the roof. The German word
Freuerwehr actually means Fire Defence.

This bronze 1987 T25, and the next three buses
all belonged to JK employees. They really are
a dedicated bunch down there! 

I do like these T25's, they have all the usual
camping benefits with a more powerful water
cooled engine. These really are versatile buses
and when they are this clean, what's not to like?.

This 2002 T4 looked good, I did like that rust
effect chequered bonnet. I'm not sure how the
owner produced the effect, but it did look really
unusual and therefore very cool.

OK, the rubbish weather here in the U.K. has
made this bus all dirty but under all that road
muck is a lovely shade of dark blue. I did like
the Volkswagen script on the bottom of the tail-
gate, which again looked cool.

Another of the JK employee's vehicles was this
gorgeous white T5. These new T5's really do
have all the mod cons and they have evolved so 

much from the original concept of a camper van.

They may not be everyone's taste, especially
all the die hard air-cooled owners, but you do
have to appreciate them for what they are. Oh,
I just noticed my '99 is in the background
of this photo!

This 2015 T5 in a sort or graphite grey colour
looked really nice. The aftermarket wheels also
made this lovely bus stand out. 

These really are nice campers, and if I had the
money I would certainly have one... maybe one
day !

In the Just Kampers reception area they had one
of their front end set ups on show. I'm not sure if
this set up is for a bus or a beetle but it did 

looks very impressive. 

Just a few of the Just Kampers employee
vehicles parked up outside the JK HQ. It really

is reassuring to know that the people you buy 
your parts and accessories from do actually
know what they are talking about, because they
own and drive vehicles just like yours.

So that was part one of the Just Kampers Xmas
open day. Part two will be on Saturday 2nd
January, as next Saturday is Boxing Day. But
it will be worth the wait because you can see
lots more of the customer vehicles, including bays, 
T4's, T25's and beetles and much more. I hope
all my readers both old and new have a very 
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

A New Early Bay in Town.

This weeks blog is all about a new early bay that has arrived in town. Tonya is a member of The Outcast VW Club based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and this is the 2nd bay window bus she has technically owned within a year. The first bay, a '72 cross over model she bought online as an project, and as part of the deal the owner said he could restore it to a roadworthy state and to Tonya's specifications. He said he would get it all welded up, do all the body work and paint it along with fitting the camping interior Tonya wanted. However after a year with slow progress, and concerns about whether it was to an acceptable standard or not, Tonya made the big decision to call it a day and ask for a refund on the money she had invested. Over the past few months Tonya has been very stressed to say the least, and it didn't help that the bus was about 200 miles from her hometown of Aylesbury. The restorer refunded part of her investment with a promise for the remainder to follow shortly and with this in mind, Tonya went back on the hunt for a good solid project and within a day or two she had found another project. This time she had found a solid looking 1971 early bay Dormobile from Bristol. The owner, Steve, works away from home a lot and with a wife and two young children just didn't have the time to get 'Barney' back on the road. Tonya asked me (with my limited knowledge) to go with her to have a look at it, and after about an hour looking around the bus with the owner, Tonya agreed to purchase it. The '71 did look solid, the usual rust places had already been sorted as the bus had a part restoration a few years back and it had a nice coat of paint and lots and lots of spares. It just needed putting back together. This time Tonya arranged to have a trusted local air-cooled VW restorer, 'Oil Droppers' put the bus back together, as they have a workshop about 2 miles from Tonya's home, and who would answer txt's or e-mails. And the best thing is Tonya could always just pop down and see Stuart the owner of Oil Droppers, to ask questions or answer Stuart's questions regarding the reassembly of Barney. (I hope to do a blog review on Oil Droppers in the near future, as and when Stuart gets time as he always seems to be busy). As the bus was a project it would need to be collected on the back of a truck, so Stuart put Tonya in touch with Andy who moves a lot of buses for Oil Droppers on his low loader truck and after agreeing a convenient day for everyone we set off to collect a lovely early bay. Tonya and I went down in my T4, as there were a vast amount of spares to bring back. 
To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of this page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.

Steve gets ready to unveil Barney for the camera
even though Tonya and I had a good look around 
it on the previous weekend.

Barney in all his glory. At the moment the pop
top doesn't have the toggles fitted to lock the
roof down, hence the ratchet strap over the roof.

The bus had been parked up in the corner for
some months and as a result the rear drums
were seized. Andy grabbed a hammer and as
we all rocked the bus Andy was hitting the rear

drums and after a few taps the brakes freed up 
and the bus rolled freely.

Inside Barney. Under the cab mat the floor really
is solid. OK he needs door cards and a few
other parts but that's not a problem and an easy
fix. The bus has the original seats which may
need recovering and another pair of high back
seats with arm rests as spares.

In the cargo area again the floor is solid. It does
have an interior of sorts, which is part original 

and part home made by someone.

Tonya and Steve having a chat about Barney
as Andy manoeuvres his low loader truck as

close as possible to Barney.

The engine is missing but Steve has the rebuilt
1641cc motor, with twin carbs in his shed, which
we shall load into Barney once we're ready to

load him onto Andy's low loader truck.

As I mentioned earlier the interior is part original
and part home made. Tonya isn't quite sure as yet

as to what interior she would like, so the interior
layout may well change in the near future.

Looking down Barney's nearside, the body looks
very straight, but then he did have a part restoration
a few years back.

Before we moved Barney Tonya took the chance
to get some photos for her own personal records.
You can see how straight the bus is from this
angle and how nice the paint is.

Barney really does have the makings to be a
lovely early bay. Once this leaves the Oil Droppers
workshop this will be a stunning early bay.

Once the bus was rolling, Steve and I loaded
the engine into the back of Barney. Steve takes

a breather as he had a bad back and lifting an
engine into Barney didn't help the issue.

Barney has his 1641 engine, OK it's not in the
usual place yet, but I'm sure it won't take Stuart
at Oil Droppers long to relocate it into its proper
place and get it running again.

As well as the 4 wheels Barney already has, in
with the spares there were another 4 wheels. How
many wheels does a bus need! As it turned out,
due to the weight limit on Andy's truck we only
brought 2 home, the 2 wheels with good tyres on!

Now that is a smile from a woman who has had
a huge weight lifted from her shoulders, by
having finally done the deal on a lovely early bay.
Andy couldn't get his low loader near enough
to Barney so we pushed the bus 50 feet into a
position where Andy could attach his winch. Here
Tonya is getting her first drive of Barney, even if
it is only steering the bus
as 3 blokes pushed the 
bus into position behind the low loader.

Once the winch had been attached it was down
to Tonya to steer Barney up the ramps and onto
the low loader. The big smile says it all...

Slowly does it, as Andy winds the winch in  
Tonya steers the bus up the ramps and onto 
the back of the truck.

On the first attempt in getting Barney onto the
truck we hadn't 
pushed the bus into the correct
position and as 
the bus went up the ramps the
 rear wheels were offline
, so we had to let the
bus down and 
push Barney in line with the ramps
 before we tried 

This time even with 3 blokes shouting different
directions to Tonya, all four wheels did line up
with the ramps and Barney was slowly winched
onto the low loader truck.

Almost there... This lovely early bay does look
good from this angle. The VW badge on the
front is actually a laser cut stainless steel item

that Steve had custom made.

The concentration on Tonya's face says it all..
As the bus started to go up the ramps, all Tonya
could see was the sky so she had to rely on the
directions from Andy.

Tonya's view as the bus slowly gets pulled up
the ramps onto the back of the truck. (photo
courtesy of Tonya, Obviously!) 

There wasn't a lot of room for error as Barney
inched up the ramps as this photo shows.
(another of Tonya's photos)

A closer look at how tight it is getting an early 
bay up the ramps onto Andy's truck. In fact 
the only person who wasn't worried, was Andy... 
mind you he's loaded so many VW buses onto 
his truck it must be second nature to him. ( this
is another of Tonya's photos)

And stop, handbrake on. Tonya looks pleased
as punch sitting in Barney having just been

winched onto the back of a low loader truck.

Andy has secured Barney onto the low loader
with straps over the wheels and by keeping the
winch attached. We also reattached the ratchet
strap over the roof to hold it down.

Barney is on the back of Andy's low loader and
heading for the Oil Droppers workshop where
the reassembly will take place. I wanted to follow
Andy to the workshop as I thought I could get
some good 'in motion' photos as they headed
for home, but Andy decided to go back via the
motorway, whereas Tonya and I decided to cut
across country to get back.

This is one of the piles of spares which came
with the bus and included a new bellows for the
 pop top, a louvre window and a sliding side
window, seats, seals, tow bar, bumpers, wheels,
waterproof cover and so the list goes on.

Oh yes and a rust free engine lid, that just needs
colour matching to the bus, wheel trims, a new
exhaust, and two original fold down buddy seats.

In the spares box was this lovely VDO clock that
fits perfectly into the blank dial on the instrument
cluster of a bay window. I did try to convince
Tonya that she didn't need it, and that it wouldn't
look very good in her bus, but she saw straight
through my pathetic attempt at lying !!

My T4 loaded to the max with all the spares that
came with the bus. I did think about taking my
1969 microbus down to collect the spares but
there is no way I could have got them all in the
early bay so I'm glad I took the T4 now.

As well as the brand new bellows and the frame
work for the bellows we had boxes and boxes
of smaller spares that Stuart from Oil Droppers
has got to sort through. Good luck with that!

Even though Andy and Barney took the longer
route via the motorway he still beat us back to
the Oil Droppers yard. This could be something
to do with Tonya and I stopping for a leisurely
lunch at the services. Andy (on the left) and
Stuart were just in the process of unloading
Barney as Tonya and I pulled up

Tonya and Andy having a chat after Barney had
been unloaded and parked. It may be a few
months before Stuart has the time to start on
Barney back on the road as his 'jobs
pending' list is as long as your arm, this includes
painting my 1969 microbus!!!

Barney parked up in the Oil Droppers yard next
to Stuart's early bay which is also a '71. 

Barney is riding at standard height, while Stuarts
bay is lowered and the difference is striking.

Even though Barney is a Dormobile and Stuarts
bay is a tin top the size difference is amazing.

As Tonya and I unloaded all the spares out of
my T4, Stuart got back to work prepping an
early split screen for a repaint. Stuart kindly gave
Tonya some space in his workshop to store all
the spares, unfortunately it was on the mezzanine
floor upstairs right at the back so Tonya and I
had to haul all the spares through the workshop
and up the stairs.

All the spares piled up neatly on the mezzanine
floor. The pile of spares doesn't look so big now,
maybe we should have loaded them into the T4
like this..!

Tonya's pile of spares neatly stacked in the
corner. Hopefully next time I see these spares
they will be attached to Barney.

So that was a brief insight of Tonya's new early 
bay. After the last year I'm so pleased for her
that she has finally got her dream of owning an
early bay, and a good one by all accounts. I know
the stress of having been messed around with
the first one was starting to get to her so hopefully
now she can relax and enjoy the experience of
her bus being in safe hands at Oil Droppers while 
they get Barney reassembled and roadworthy 
once again. You can check out the Oil Droppers
page here: