First and foremost, we should introduce you to the lady of the hour – her name is Doris and she is 45 years old.
Being an RHD late Bay window she is an increasing rarity as so many of the RHD’s have succumbed to the relentless rust bug.
She has had some too. In fact; when we bought her some 17 years ago, as completely green newbies, unbeknownst to us she had more than her fair share.
It would be fair to say that we have lived that very steep learning curve that some of you might find yourselves on!
We’d been toying with the idea of a VW for a long time. Like many we had drooled from afar and despite both having fathers who were big into their cars – racing Imps and Morrie Minors meant that VW’s hadn’t really figured throughout our respective youths!
What we had gained was a love of a vehicle that leant itself to the DIY mechanic and we felt confident that, Robert Bentley Manual tucked under our arm, there wouldn’t be much that we couldn’t cope with.
This was back in the day when you actually bought an Autotrader and rang the number on the ad’. So, Shaun called and headed off with a promise just to look… (Mistake number one!)
What returned was him and orange and white bay that smelled profusely of petrol in the cab! It was “alright” though because he got it for “an absolute steal”! Looking back, I think that was fair, but I didn’t necessarily feel like that when he rocked up with a big smile on his face (obviously high on the petrol fumes)!
We used her for a long time as was - running her to different VW shows with our own little side line business; as with many people our family of two became three and then four, and, we wrapped the business up to chase a more sustainable income.
Shaun found his way to JK – taking anything to get a foot in the door, he started as a temp in the warehouse, quickly rising through the ranks and I was soon to follow. We’ve been a part of the JK family for quite a spell now and that is how Doris came to see so many changes since her time with us. Clearly the temptation to spend money on our VW’s doesn’t get any better if you work here; the exact opposite seems to be true.
She has had a ground up resto to remove all the rust ridden panels- she did in deed look like an extra from the Flintstones as you could put your feet through the floor. A new engine, gearbox, new colours (gone was the orange and white to be replaced with green and white) all followed. She has been lowered to the nth degree, put on alloys, had dual carbs, every conceivable add on and shiny thing – has gone full circle and is now back entirely to stock. She has literally reflected us. We have grown up together!
She was our wedding vehicle, took our son on his first holiday aged 4 months and has taken us all to countless shows and holidays since. Our kids are now aged 13 and 11 so Doris has always been a part of their lives.
Recently we seriously considered selling her – the practical and sensible option, but, as is often the case with these beloved vehicles practical and sensible gave way to the heart wrenching realisation that we simply couldn’t be without her! It would be like selling a member of the family. And so once again we have fallen back in love and look forward to more adventures and happy camper times.
Secretly my hope is that she will always be there, to take the kids to proms, to be transport at their weddings and eventually maybe one day to take grandchildren out!
She is one of the family after all – now imagine explaining that to someone who doesn’t own a VW!
VW: Type 2 Bay Window RHD Westfalia Berlin
Age: 45 (1974)
Work Completed: Extensive Full Ground Up Resto, Engine, Gearbox, Respray, 34 Ict Dual Carb Kit, Alloys, Resto – Do Over, All back to stock etc, etc
Worst Experience: We’re lucky to be able to count the number of breakdowns in 17 years on one hand – she’s been super reliable, but the worst experience was a breakdown on a major motorway where there was almost no hard shoulder. Being heavily pregnant and with a toddler in tow we had to wait roadside just the other side of the barrier as vehicles screamed past – I’ve never felt more vulnerable or scared in my life. Comes to something when you’re relieved to see a recovery truck!
Best Experience: Pretty much every other one but highlights are of course being driven by Shaun’s dad away from our wedding ceremony as Mr ands Mrs, and, taking our kids on countless happy holidays, to be honest – even a cuppa on the drive is a special occasion in Doris!
Top Tips: When you first go to view – have someone who knows their stuff and take a magnet! (Even the prettiest looking VW will often hide a multitude of sins under paint!), Don’t be afraid to admit your limits and get yourself along to a basics course if you don’t have someone around to teach you – you’ll be happy you did!, carry spares – hopefully you’ll never need them but often a friendly AA man can get you going again with a basic part that they will not carry, wave at all VW’s – there’s no shame, and always wear sunscreen…!
Any other VW’s Owned: Beetle 1959, Beetle 1973.