So, after buying Ruby, we asked around on the SSVC forum to see if anyone knew her. After all, there are a finite amount of splitties in the world, so it stood to reason that someone on the forum might have owned her previously. Also, she came with an SSVC sticker in the windscreen, so we knew her previous owners had been members.
We soon had a message from Glenn, who bought her in 1994:
He told us: “I bought the van in 94 from Spencer Ballis, it had suffered from a 70’s camper conversion complete with devon pop top and long bay window style windows, so that lot was first on the list to go, Spencer kindly had the gear box with the reduction boxes re-built before I bought it, I bolted up a Kadron equipped 1641, lowered it on polished Porsche Fuchs and tooled around it it for the next few years.”
Here’s another picture of her at Run to the Sun in 1997:
And more photos with friends’ buses from around 1986-87:
This picture shows the reason for Ruby’s previous name – The Mambo Bus!
Ruby with pop top, and the owners of the bus behind her also came and said hello in our thread.
As well as asking on the forum, I also wrote a letter to Marc, who restored the bus and sold her to Pat who we bought her from. We were made up to get a reply from Marc and Nikki, who sent us some brilliant photos of her restoration.
She was in need of some TLC. Well, welding actually. Lots of welding.
All stripped down and ready for rubbing:
Rusty parts cut away:
New parts welded into place:
Steering rack and bits:
So, wow! In some ways she has changed so much, but in other ways, she is recognisable straight away as the same bus. We’d love to see photographs of her in her earlier days. We’ve contacted the DVLA to see what other information we can find about her. We know from her M Plate that she was due to roll off the factory line on 14th February 1967, was light gray and was destined for Ramsgate. She was first registered in the UK in March 1967. I wonder what she did before she became a camper?
Do you have a bus with an interesting past?
Are you one of Ruby’s former owners?
Let us know in the comments!