Huey, our '69 Fire-bay

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983 Huey

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2017
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Been lurking here for a while now and decided it's about time to share some pictures of our project bus 'Huey'.

I've been an aircooled VW nut my whole life, yet somehow (mainly other obsessions with RS fords, Toyota Hilux's, motorbikes and other mechanical distractions) it's taken me until way into my 30's before taking the plunge into bay ownership.

Thankfully my good lady wife shares my love of early bay's and the search began quite some time ago to find the perfect project vehicle.
The criteria was fairly simple, something which required enough work to fit into the 'bargain' price bracket but something solid enough to keep welding and fab work to a minimum.
I own a garage in south east Northumberland and have been in the motor trade my whole life, so mechanical work and fabrication/welding are not a problem, but... being self employed and working ridiculous hours meant the project had to be something I could fit into my schedule without taking years to complete, also we want our daughter Gracie (who is 5 years old) to enjoy the camper life sooner rather than later.

2 years into our search, and after numerous viewings we found our perfect vehicle in deepest south Wales, in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons.
I first spotted Huey (or Idris as his previous owners knew him) on one of the aircooled pages on Facebook a couple of months ago, I liked the look of him but he was slightly over budget, I thought nothing of it and the search continued. Fast forward 6 weeks or so and he popped up again, this time on eBay in auction format. i saved him into my watch list to show Emily (my wife) but by the time I arrived home she was showing me the exact same van, that was it, the seed was well and truly planted for both of us. We watched the auction end, reserve nowhere near met (as is often the case right now, nothing is selling). I contacted the owners, Darren and Bobbie who turned out to be the loveliest people, a date was agreed and a viewing arranged.

2 weeks later we made the 350 mile journey, we were met with this lovely lad hiding in the woods, safe to say it was love at first sight...





Fast forward again a couple of weeks and following a couple of lengthy telephone conversations with the lovely owners of the van, a price was agreed on and a deposit wired down to them.
We then made the 350 mile trip down to Wales... AGAIN, but this time in one of my Hilux's with a twin axle car trailer in tow.

Having not yet heard the bus run (he had sat since 2014) I took down some tools and a battery to get him going. Long story short, myself and Darren got him going and loaded him on to the trailer for the long haul back to Northumberland.



So, a bit of background info on Huey...

He was built in 1969 in Germany and the M plate confirms he was built for use in the german military (lots of the original olive drab green survives under the engine lid, under the floor mats, in the doors etc..).
After serving his time in the military he was shipped off to Portugal where he was converted into a Fire support vehicle and spent best part of 35 years sitting indoors in a fire station. Consequently (indoors in a hot country) he is ridiculously clean and rust free, the sills and belly pans underneath are like brand new, and I don't think I've ever seen arches and cab floor/steps like it in my life!

Best part is, 23,000km from new! The gear change pretty much confirms this, they're all where they should be. lol

He came over from portugal in 2013 and was used briefly for one year, he has then sat since 2014 due to illness in previous owners family.

Plans are to keep the paintwork pretty much as it is, leave him in his livery, but stanced over some retro look alloys (speed masters are current flavour of choice) French slammer beam, drop spindles etc.. nice useable camper interior and a reliable slightly modded powerplant (but nothing too lairy)

Currently working my way through MOT failure items then shopping can commence, no doubt Midland early bay will be getting a call soon!

Cheers, Doog.
Nice bus!!!!
My mate lives in Blyth he has a blue Splitty!
Loads going on locally & local clubs too!!!!!