Rebuilding Ruby, Part 2.

So, we’re a month into the Ruby rebuild, and here’s how things stand:

  • The engine case has been sent to a bloke called Andy for him to examine, and ascertain does it need line boring or any other kind of fettling.
  • We need to decide whether it will be rebuilt as a 1641cc, 1776cc or 1835cc – which will involve different heads, different barrels and pistons. A larger engine won’t be under so much strain when cruising at motorway speeds and carrying all our camping gear.
  • When we’ve decided on the engine size, then we can decide on carbs – we’re upgrading to twin carbs for a bit more oomph, and after conversations with the lovely people at Eurocarb,  we’ll be going for Dells or Webers.
  • Gearbox mounts are being replaced – new Rhino mounts going in, and the gearbox oil is being drained and replaced.  The gear selector linkage bushes are to be replaced to make gear changes less like stirring your tea – currently we play a game of gear change roulette at every change!
  • A new clutch kit is to be fitted.
  • The old exhaust has been removed – a stainless steel Vintage Speed tuckaway exhaust is on back-order from VWHeritage – apparently this could take a month, despite them saying that it is a week turnaround on their website.

And at the front end…

  • The steering box and column has gone to Simon (Rusting Hulk on the SSVC). He gave us a possible price range when we contacted him, from best to worst case scenario. Unfortunately, as we suspected, our steering box needs a lot of TLC, including new worm gear and peg, which will be replaced with NOS parts. The case and bracket will also be shot-blasted, and new bushes and seals fitted, and new grease and paint applied.
  • We will also be freshening up the steering with new tie rods, drag link, steering damper, and a new swivel pin kit.

Other things to consider…

  • Kulh-tek air scoops. Particularly important if we are increasing engine size, to try and keep it as cool as possible.
  • We’ve discussed a fire suppression kit. Although we discussed this at the Type 2 Bootcamp and the general feeling there was that it was not necessary in a well-maintained engine, we both feel that it would be worth it for added peace of mind. We’re considering VW Aircooled Works Fire Extinguisher kit, fuel lines and Fuel Tank cut off solenoid, as we’ve heard good things about it.
  • Uprated brakes. If we’re fitting a bigger lump, it’ll need more to stop it. A servo kit from VW Jim has been suggested to make our drum brakes more effective.

So, that’s how things stand at the moment. It’s a waiting game, and we’re hoping that we’ll have the van back on the road for at least part of the summer!

Are you doing any work on your bus at the moment? Let us know in the comments!

Rebuilding Ruby, Part 1.

So, as previously mentioned, Ruby is with Accrington Beetles and Campers, having her rear end and undercarriage fettled.

A fortnight in, and things look like this:

Engine is out!

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The bumper had just a leeeetle bit of oil on it:

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The engine is off to be rebuilt this week.

Exhaust is off too, and going to be replaced with a Vintage Speed one.

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Then it was off with the front wheels and the steering box:

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Last time I saw a dashboard like this, it was because someone had broken into my Fiat 500 and stolen my airbags and seatbelts, even down to the steering wheel in the footwell…

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So the box and column are now out, ready to be sent down to Simon for refurb:

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Leaving Dave with a footless Ruby to continue fettling.

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Of course, it would have been rude when visiting not to say hello to Carmen and Ringo from Vintage VWs 4 Hire:

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We can rebuild her. We have the technology.

So, today was the day. We picked up Ruby-choo, and drove her to Accrington Beetles and Campers for her engine rebuild and other repairs and improvements.

That makes it sound very straightforward. Let me elucidate:

We drove to the barn where Ruby is stored. We realised that neither of us have the codes for various gates and doors saved anymore, as we have both had new phones since we first stored Ruby. Thankfully, Rooobarb’s memory is even better at retaining random information than we thought.

We took Ruby’s cover off and found that her gutters were full of spiders, and that she had been marking her territory on the floor of the barn. We also found that her battery was completely flat, so attached the booster pack and got her started. We then noticed that her back O/S tyre was flat, so used the compressor on the booster pack to pump it up. Whilst doing this, Rooobarb turned her engine off again. So she needed more booster pack to get her started. During this, Custard found a bar of dark chocolate on the bulkhead that must have been left there during our ill-fated last trip out in September. Result!

We set off, Rooobarb driving and Custard following behind, and Rooobarb announced that he was going to stop for some petrol. Turning the engine off whilst waiting for a man to finish filling his screenwash at the pump meant needing the booster pack again. However now, for whatever reason, the immobiliser, which has been somewhat of a mystery since we bought Ruby, decided now that the battery was being tampered with, and prevented the engine being started. Oh, and the battery seemed to have gone in the immobiliser keyfob. And the garage didn’t have the right size replacement battery for sale.

This meant having to push the van away from the pumps, down a slope, then up a slope into the non-functioning car wash, where it would have to be left whilst we found somewhere that sold a replacement battery. (Lady in garage: “How long are you going to be?” “How long does it take to find a really obscure-sized battery?”) Thankfully, the next garage down the road had one, although the LED on the fob still didn’t seem to be lighting up, and thanks to the traffic, it still took about half an hour to sort.

Back to the van, push to pumps, finally put some fuel in, attach booster pack, fiddle with immobiliser, get van started. We finally hopped on the motorway and cruised up to Accrington at a heady 55mph with the sun shining, to arrive with Dave and discuss our plans.

On Monday the engine will come out and be examined, we will see how much of our current engine can be used, what needs to be replaced, and start drawing up a plan for replacing other parts, such as the exhaust, clutch, gear linkage, and steering box. Fun and games!

Accrington Beetles and Campers

Custard has been a busy bee!

As you may well be aware from previous posts, Dave at Accrington Beetles and Campers is a good friend to Ruby and Rufus (and to Rooobarb and Custard!) and keeps them maintained, fixes them when they go wrong and is only ever a phone call or text away when we need a bit of advice.

Unfortunately, at the end of last year, Dave’s website was hacked and had to be shut down. As he was very busy with moving to a fab new unit and doing lots of restorations, Custard stepped in and built a nice shiny new website for him.

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Please go and have a read and a look at the photos and the stories there – there will be lots of updates from the new bigger unit, including lots of work on Ruby, as 2015 is The Year of The New Engine.

You can also keep up to date with Accrington Beetles and Campers on Facebook.

Please let us know what you think of the new site in the comments below!

I have not been paid to promote Dave’s new website. I have created it for him in exchange for spannering hours on our dubs. Bartering is good. Play to your strengths – I’m better with words than I am with tools!

The Evolution of Van, aka, How Custard spent her half term!

Remember last year, when I said I fancied doing The Evolution of Van for my pumpkins this year?

Next time I have an idea like that, tell me no. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have noticed a tiny bit of whinging at my own idiocy that led to me have seven pumpkins to carve.

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Unusually for me (not) I decided to leave carving to the last minute, although I had been organised enough to draw out my designs on them a few days earlier:

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Halloween came, and I decided that I’d best get carving. I put the pumpkins on the floor whilst I wrapped my dining room table in polythene sheeting (you can take the teacher out of the classroom…) and Teddington Bear decided to help by chewing on their stalks…

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I decided to start off with the splitty, as so many of my friends have suggested that I carve a split over the past couple of years. After a few minutes, my helper had conked out, and I’d found out just how sharp my knife was!

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It was soon completed, but I decided that attempting to do a barndoor Samba was a daft idea, as all the windows had affected the structural integrity of the pumpkin and it was very wobbly.

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As was proved the following day, when the weight of the roof had just got too much for the spindly window frames:

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I’ll be honest, the fiddly and time-consuming nature of the splitty got me down, but with Rooobarb on the scene to help with scooping out, I moved onto the No Worries badge. I was really pleased with how it turned out!

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The last part of the project was the Evolution of Van, that I had decided on last year.

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I tried to recreate the line up of the original VW ad,

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but I think it might have looked more effective with 3D style drawings like the slammed Beetle pumpkin of last year. Now to start planning for next year!

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Long see, no time…

Life has got in the way of posting. Generally, life involving work, dogs, and broken down VWs. But here’s what you’ve missed:

  • We went to Tatton Park. It was good fun and we met up with some friends. Teddy decided that he’s really not a fan of VW shows, especially those with music, crowds and other dogs. That’s all of them then.

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  • We revisited our mis-spent youth with a weekend at Coniston Hall, which generally involved swimming, sunbathing and messing about. For once, we were in the nicest splitty on the campsite (er, ok, the only splitty…)

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  • We went to VWFestival. Again, friends, cider, crowds, cool dubs, staffy generally behaving like a bit of an ASBO dog. Including chewing through his lead whilst Custard was distracted by cider. Ruby appeared on Look North (Rooobarb and Custard we both having a bit of a nap at this point though…)

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  • We bought a roofrack for the van, started off to go and collect it, and turned round and came back thanks to an engine bay full of oil. Meh.
  • We pooled our birthday spends and bought a frontier stove for camping. The next step with be a Glawning because they’re just too cool for words.

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  • Operation Car Port is pretty much finished. Hurrah! Photos to follow soon.
  • After six weeks of running like a dream, Rufus decided to give up on starting again. A new starter motor bush sorted that though, and after some fettling once again to rear hubs, he got an MOT certificate. Big up to Dave at Accrington Beetles and Campers for once again taming our errant child.

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So, what next? The beetle needs some more little jobs doing, and sadly we’ve had to admit to ourselves that the ride height is causing more problems than it solves, so Rufus will be going (slightly) up in the world. Ruby needs a bloody good service, and probably an engine rebuild.

And finally, last weekend, Rooobarb and Custard decided to lob themselves out of a plane for charity! So the normal quiet life here at Hooligan’s Island then…

Dubs at the Castle and Homeless Hounds

Yo Yo Yo!

Teddy Homeless Hounds

Right, first up, I should probably explain who I am. My name is Teddy, and I used to live with some ace people at Homeless Hounds – Dogs in Need who did look after me for a while in this place called kennels. It’s like a hangout for loads of different dogs, and some people come and take you for walks, and to go and visit their houses and stuff if you’re good. I went to visit Danni’s house, who is a friend of Custard, and Danni put some photos of me on her Facebook page, and Custard did fall in love with me (it is only to be expected, I am after all very handsome).

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So Rooobarb and Custard did speak to a lady called Emma, then came and took me for a nice walk, and then Emma had to do something called a home check, then that was it, I was off to my new home!

I’m having a really good time here, we go for lots of walks, and do lots of playing, and snuggling, and Mum likes to sit in something called a Beetle and read her books, and I like to sit with her, because I love being outside.

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I also get lots of post from my friends, including Loki and Frankie The Fit Dog, who is my Brother from Another Mother. He is a very good blogger, and I would like to be as good at writing as he is one day.

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I like to play with my humans, and wrestle them, and generally spend time with them. I am very much a Dog of the People. Custard is writing this right now sitting on the floor in the back yard because I wanted company. We are sitting on a blanket with a big hole in it, because I wanted the blanket out, but I couldn’t work out how to unfold it, so I chewed it a bit instead.

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Rooobarb and Custard were very excited this weekend, because they were taking me Camping. I wasn’t sure what camping was, but it involved filling the back of the car with loads of Stuff, and driving to meet someone called Ruby.

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Ruby turned out to be this AWESOME VAN that I wanted to climb inside and sit in, and Mum said that that was a good job really, because we were going to be sitting in her for a long time.

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I alternated between sticking my head out of the window, and sleeping on Dad’s knee. It was very hot, but I love Dad. Lots of people smiled when they saw me grinning at them out of the window. We stopped a few times at the services so I could have a drink out of my bowl, but I preferred drinking Mum’s Evian out of her hand whilst we were going along. I got quite a lot of it in her lap, and when we stopped the last time, Mum looked like she’d had a wee.

When we arrived it was still too hot, and very busy, so Mum was getting my lead on so that we could go for a walk whilst Dad parked the van. I had other ideas, and jumped out of the van window. Good job Mum had got my lead on me first. We got parked up, and I was too hot to do anything else. I made friends with a nice man in another van nearby and I wanted to sit in his van too. We rested for a bit and Mum and Dad got the awning put up and loads of other practical boring stuff like that.

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Then we went up to the show itself so that Mum and Dad could enjoy cider and paella and music and stuff. I decided that I didn’t want to do that, so I barked at some other dogs and got very grumpy, so we went back to the van. During the night there was loads of rain and thunder and lightning. I wasn’t bothered by that at all but in the morning Mum said “Oh bugger,” because the cargo doors had leaked and her’s and Dad’s shoes were all wet. I was ok, I don’t wear shoes.

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I also discovered that the doors of the awning aren’t like real doors, and I escaped out of them to find out why the lady next door was screaming. I decided it was probably her chocolate lab’s fault, so I barked at him. Nobody would grab my harness because I’m a Big Vicious Staffy.

I have decided that VW shows aren’t really my thing yet. There are lots of crowds, and noises, and other dogs, and I found it difficult to cope. I did very well and Mum and Dad said I was a Very Good Boy, but I think I would prefer some quieter camping first. We saw some cool veedubs though.

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My favourite bit was cuddling and playing with Mum and Dad near our van. And climbing all over them in the middle of the night when they were trying to sleep.

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If you are a Human who doesn’t have a Dog in their life, then you need to get in touch with Homeless Hounds. There are loads of PAWSOME dogs like me just waiting to come and make your life better. Tell them I said hi.

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Gotta go now, lots of adventures to have, squirrels to chase and rope toys to chew. Laters, homies!

 

Luv Teddy xxx

 

 

The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo Part 2

In the first part of this post I recounted the tale of Ruby’s previous ownership and restoration, and I was most pleased when last week I had some comments on the post from Ian:

Blimey!

I know this van. My dad bought her as a panel van way back in the early 70′s from a garage in Coltishall Norfolk.
He cut all of the windows himself. He made a mould from timber to make the elevating roof from fibreglass and got Jeckles of Wroxham (a chandler) to make the PVC parts. He made all of the furniture inside, then resprayed it himself orange and white.

Now all this seems a bit odd as the van in these images seems to have no windows in it. Perhaps the registration got switched..

I am 52 now, we holidayed around the UK throughout the mid 70′s. I particularly remember touring the country of two weeks in the blisteringly hot summer of 1976.
He sold it at the end of the 70s for… £600!

I had a look back through the DVLA paperwork that I sent off for last summer, and found Kenneth John Fulcher on the photocopied registered keeper page of a logbook – the earliest piece of paperwork I have. This was Ian’s dad – so proves that Ruby was indeed the van that he’d enjoyed childhood holidays in. Glenn mentions that he had removed a Devon pop top and Bay-style windows from the van, hence the confusion over her differing appearance.

Ian says:

Different strokes for different folks.

All I can say is that Dad did a brilliant job in turning a working van into a holiday bus for us kids – although Glenn’s point that she was adulterated maybe today well founded. But then VW panel vans were not as affectionately revered as they are today. You wouldn’t get the same reaction by someone who did it to a Ford transit or Commer of the day… or would you?

Indeed, did anyone foresee the cult status that the splitty would attain today, or the prices that they would command? Will we look back at the mods that people are doing to buses nowadays and be horrified?

The bus gave Ken and his family many happy holidays, as evidenced by these fantastic photographs that he scanned in for us, having to go and buy a slide scanner especially!

LPW 219E before the conversion

LPW 219E before the conversion

LPW 219E converted prior to respray

LPW 219E converted prior to respray

LPW 219E with Ken, Sylvia and Neil.

LPW 219E with Ken, Sylvia and Neil.

LPW219E with Ian and Sylvia.

LPW 219E with Ian and Sylvia.

LPW219E with Mum Sylvia

LPW 219E with Mum Sylvia

We feel very privileged to be able to see some more of the history of our van, thanks to the photos from Glenn, Marc and now Ian. Thank you so much for sharing some more of Ruby’s history with us!

 

SSVC AGM at Victoria Farm and Stanford Hall 2014

Early May Bank Holiday can only mean one thing: Vicky Farm and Stanford Hall!

We had a great journey down, and arrived in good time to get a good pitch, get everything set up and catch up with a few mates before it got dark. As always there were lots of fab splitties to see:

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van awning

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Bleedingmoody

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Polly's Parlour

Thank you to Polly’s Parlour who made this gluten and dairy-free girly very happy with a delicious tub of raspberry sorbet!

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Single Cab Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Mark Pindar Gerry

Amazing Gerry! Please read the story of this restoration, what an amazing bus, built by a top bloke!

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Mark Pindar Gerry

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Mark Pindar Gerry

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Single Cab Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Hi-top Van

Darren Yip’s hi-top, a show and shine winner at Bus Types.

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Rikki James

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Beetle

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Rikki James

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Buzz Van of the Year 2013

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

Another Rhubarb and Custard bus! With *flames*!

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van

Sunday morning saw the cruise to Stanford Hall:

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

 

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

SSVC Victoria Farm AGM Splitscreen Camper Van Stanford Hall Cruise

And the show itself was awesome, as always:

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

 

Please could somebody lend me £42000? I promise to invest it responsibly.

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show Hayburner

 

Always worth a visit to the Hayburner stand.

Stanford Hall VW Show Hayburner

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

 

Brilliant line up of Beetles:

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

 

The SSVC provided an awesome line up of buses, as usual!

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show The Stiff Shifter!

Stanford Hall VW Show

Stanford Hall VW Show

Bus Types 2014

We set off bright and early to pick Ruby up. The sun was shining, so we paused for a quick “Make Love not War” photo at the Leyland tank, before heading down to Oswestry Show Ground for Bus Types.

Bus Types 2014

We did a Pindy on the way:

Bus Types 2014

And arrived to find a very busy showground, but found just enough space to squeeze Ruby into, to get set up in order to enjoy a relaxed evening:

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Whilst the show was overcast and breezy for much of the weekend, there were lots of traders with a good variety of clothes, handcrafted goods, autojumble and food to enjoy, and some excellent Volkswagens in the Show and Shine field:

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

Bus Types 2014

We set off on Sunday shortly before the heavens opened, and Custard managed to drive Ruby back and get her under cover before she got all wet and dirty.

Bus Types 2014
Bus Types 2014

Bank holiday Monday provided ample opportunity for Rooobarb to get down and dirty with Rufus’s rear hubs, which are going to need some different castle nuts in order to fit on properly. Fun and games!
Bus Types 2014

See you at our next show – Stanford Hall!