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. 
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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:

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