At the beginning of the year I talked about getting a few things done in 2015. Now that we are nearing the end of the year I owe you an update. I want to start this by saying, I’m not surprised things didn’t turn out the way I imagined they would – in fact I’m used to it now – so I managed things accordingly, taking small but steady steps and easy turns to keep everything on track. Don’t be surprised, nothing has been done from the list I put together as Project 2015 – hack hunting… that being said, it turned out to be a great base for Project 2016 – I tried to document everything that happened this year on the VWheelmasters Facebook page and summarise it here:
First and foremost I’ve decided that I’ll take the bus back to the UK to vwJim’s workshop – the reason is simple – I trust Jim. I can go on endlessly about professionalism, honesty, visibility on every single little step of the project he works on while keeping the client involved… however these overall build trust, that is unfortunately really rare, but it’s so important that I don’t mind putting the bus on a trailer and taking it to the UK – again and again.
So following my previous list I started off at the end, trying to find a solution for the side windows. I tried for years and the dilemma has always been the same: to replace or not to replace the window frames. I love the fact that my bus is unique in many ways – one of the things I specifically like are the panel vents. But if I replace the window frames they just won’t belong there anymore. I think the first time I looked into the option of fitting crank out type Hehr windows was around 2010 when I saw a set on TheSamba for sale, by the time I got to discussing the options of even shipping them to Europe they were sold and I haven’t seen a nice set surfacing until recently when someone (now my friend Alain) posted a set for sale on the SSVC facebook page. I was so excited that I overlooked the fact that the set contains two different type of windows, mostly for normal window openings – but it was too late – I already committed to buy by the time I realised – and in the process I made up my mind that the final solution will have to be the oldschool Hehr crank-out windows that were used in mainly US panel campervan conversions like E-Z camper and Sundial. The hunt continued and while I was turning the internet upside down for windows I found someone (now my friend JC from Poland) who specialised in Hehr window restorations. We exchanged a few emails (100’s ever since) and he instantly took on the challenge. One thing led to another I ended up buying windows from the SSVC forum (a set of 5 smaller types but with the correct crank mechanism that were vital) and finally a complete set from TheSamba (right type, square edges for panel fitment, complete). Now I had everything to send to JC to start the resto on the windows that is currently ongoing to finish a set of 6 (or mabye 8 if there are enough parts) Hehr windows, and to create a bit of disturbance they (as nothing on the VWheelmasters) won’t be restored to original – they will be custom restored black to match the bus, and will be super unique. See the gallery below for pics of the above mentioned:
Sometimes I feel I have already gone too far and there is no turning back. This is exactly how I felt when I bumped into SPACE ROOFS @vwcamperroofs on twitter, and clicked through to their website to find an amazing straight lift roof kit that is fully customisable to my needs (again that was key). Their 3/4 Length Straight Lift Roof is something I always dreamed of – having 3 kids – and by following the drive to make a dream reality I decided to go for it or as kids these days say YOLO! So before the bus goes to Jim, it will actually have it’s first stop to have a nice big hole cut to it’s roof.
So I had a chat with Jim again and we agreed that the bus will need belly pans and as I’ve been in in several discussion with John Alba from Grumpy’s Metal when I had my own little internal debates on whether to change window frames or not and if yes then a samba roof would also make sense (that didn’t happen at the end). So I ordered a set of 1960-1967 TYPE 1 VW BUS BELLY PANS (SET OF 3) and to give things a little twist John suggested I order these from Creative Engineering, who actually stock them in the UK. I have a long and great relationship with Mandy and David at CE so it was an easy and straight forward process.
For now this is how I stand ending 2015 – and I’m happy with how the year went. I am closer and closer to making my dream reality even through the ups and downs of everyday life, and that makes my happy.
To be continued…