Our 1970 Microbus - North East UK

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Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
40
Reaction score
55
Location
County Durham
Year of Your Van(s)
1970
Van Type
Microbus
Having joined on here about 3 years back, my wife & i finally took the plunge & bought our 1970 microbus. It was a cali import 8-10 years ago, & restored locally about 2-3 yrs back. We'd seen photos of it stripped out & bare metalled during that process.

We'd been planning to restore the 1963 beetle we've owned since mid nineties, & just got back into the aircooled VW mags & shows in the last two years, but felt a T2 could be more practical for days out with our dogs than the beetle. So the '63 remains mothballed with that decision postponed.

Driving our microbus is a culture shock having not driven our beetle or extended families aircooled VWs in over twenty years. Still on drums, which require some effort & planning, goosed fuel gauge so fill up every 200miles. mystery gearshift to keep you guessing what number you'll find when pointing the gearstick, all part of the charm i keep telling myself.

We'll spend time getting familiar with how it all works, theres certainly more complexity to a Bay than the Beetle.

Heres a picture on our first evening run out to a local beach this last weekend, to see how it would manage over the speedhumps. I'd like to go lower but its not notched, nor tubbed, & front arches have been rubbed previously so need touching up soon.

image0.jpeg
 
Welcome back to aircooled driving! Lovely bus! You'll soon get used to it and want to drive it every day, I have a beetle daily as well as my early bay and I doubt I'll ever go back to driving anything else ;)

Enjoy!
 
Welcome along to you. That’s a grand looking bus you have there. Yes giving yourself enough space to stop and to go is something we all seem to gradually forget about, I like to loiter at roundabouts and try to have a bit of motion pre planned and rolling so that I’m not competing from a standing start, works most of the time but not always .:rolleyes:
The gearstick soup isn’t completely stock and usually it’ll be something along the linkage lines somewhere it’s rarely the box but not completely unknown . I’ve been lowered and eventually gave it up as a bad job and have joined the raised now.

Ozziedog,,,,,,,,, bus looks great for sure :):cool::)
 
Having joined on here about 3 years back, my wife & i finally took the plunge & bought our 1970 microbus. It was a cali import 8-10 years ago, & restored locally about 2-3 yrs back. We'd seen photos of it stripped out & bare metalled during that process.

We'd been planning to restore the 1963 beetle we've owned since mid nineties, & just got back into the aircooled VW mags & shows in the last two years, but felt a T2 could be more practical for days out with our dogs than the beetle. So the '63 remains mothballed with that decision postponed.

Driving our microbus is a culture shock having not driven our beetle or extended families aircooled VWs in over twenty years. Still on drums, which require some effort & planning, goosed fuel gauge so fill up every 200miles. mystery gearshift to keep you guessing what number you'll find when pointing the gearstick, all part of the charm i keep telling myself.

We'll spend time getting familiar with how it all works, theres certainly more complexity to a Bay than the Beetle.

Heres a picture on our first evening run out to a local beach this last weekend, to see how it would manage over the speedhumps. I'd like to go lower but its not notched, nor tubbed, & front arches have been rubbed previously so need touching up soon.

View attachment 6873

Welcome Andrew.

Nice looking microbus; Was that photo taken down at Crimdon?

I'm up in Durham - if you are local, give me a shout.

Also If you looking to meet a few other earlybay bods, there was at one point a regular monthly meet up at the Angel - I haven't been for a few years. Think @mike202 might still go to them?
 
Hi Andrew, first time I've posted a response but had to as your Bay looks very similar to mine.
Mine was already lowered and narrowed when I bought - feel every bump in the road as the wife keeps telling me!!.
The first thing I did was had a Light-Steer installed and I've not regretted it.
What a difference and so easy to manoeuvre now.
Enjoy and maybe meet you on your travels , Roy
 

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Thanks to each one of you for taking the time to leave those kind words and encouragement. I’ll try and respond to a few specific remarks here;

@VeeDubKate i ‘m pretty sure we passed you in your excellent adventurewagon on the way out of dubs int dales a fortnight ago. You won’t have noticed us in our normal car though. We were just going in there late to test drive the bus before making the deal.

@70-CA-Panel not much chance of even getting our dogs into the water, never mind us, especially this time of year. Maybe the clear blue Atlantic off Cornwall in June, but not the grey North Sea in October. (Grey in June too)

@Walt thanks so much for offering to meet up, drop me a message for sure. I’d really appreciate getting together with some locals so I can learn as much as possible. You mention @mike202 and meets at the angel (of the
North, or pub of that name in Durham?) I have followed Mikes travels & progress on Monty, as very inspirational.
Yes, it is taken at Crimdon, we live Peterlee. Full marks for guessing that.

@rambo52 I recognised your bus. It was actually a deciding factor in buying ours. I saw the advert online for yours, but already sold, but thought how cool that I could have a bus very similar myself, colour, wheels, stance etc.

Although I’ve said it’s originally a microbus, the interior has had a really nice camping conversion done using Evodesign cabinets specifically done for Bays, with fridge, hob, sink, 3/4 RnR bed.

Longer term once we get past the various glitches I’ve encountered on gearshift (& hot starting as though fuel is boiling off, filter seems empty then suddenly “fizzes” full a few seconds after eventually firing up) we have a set of brand new flat 4 chromed Fuchs in the loft which were going on the beetle, but possibly now on the bus with the appropriate front disc conversion and figuring out how to convert the rear to 5 x 130
 
Thanks to each one of you for taking the time to leave those kind words and encouragement. I’ll try and respond to a few specific remarks here;

@VeeDubKate i ‘m pretty sure we passed you in your excellent adventurewagon on the way out of dubs int dales a fortnight ago. You won’t have noticed us in our normal car though. We were just going in there late to test drive the bus before making the deal.

@70-CA-Panel not much chance of even getting our dogs into the water, never mind us, especially this time of year. Maybe the clear blue Atlantic off Cornwall in June, but not the grey North Sea in October. (Grey in June too)

@Walt thanks so much for offering to meet up, drop me a message for sure. I’d really appreciate getting together with some locals so I can learn as much as possible. You mention @mike202 and meets at the angel (of the
North, or pub of that name in Durham?) I have followed Mikes travels & progress on Monty, as very inspirational.
Yes, it is taken at Crimdon, we live Peterlee. Full marks for guessing that.

@rambo52 I recognised your bus. It was actually a deciding factor in buying ours. I saw the advert online for yours, but already sold, but thought how cool that I could have a bus very similar myself, colour, wheels, stance etc.

Although I’ve said it’s originally a microbus, the interior has had a really nice camping conversion done using Evodesign cabinets specifically done for Bays, with fridge, hob, sink, 3/4 RnR bed.

Longer term once we get past the various glitches I’ve encountered on gearshift (& hot starting as though fuel is boiling off, filter seems empty then suddenly “fizzes” full a few seconds after eventually firing up) we have a set of brand new flat 4 chromed Fuchs in the loft which were going on the beetle, but possibly now on the bus with the appropriate front disc conversion and figuring out how to convert the rear to 5 x 130
Just seen this, yeah, I was at Dubs int Dales. Did you buy the bus? Which one was it?
 
Having joined on here about 3 years back, my wife & i finally took the plunge & bought our 1970 microbus. It was a cali import 8-10 years ago, & restored locally about 2-3 yrs back. We'd seen photos of it stripped out & bare metalled during that process.

We'd been planning to restore the 1963 beetle we've owned since mid nineties, & just got back into the aircooled VW mags & shows in the last two years, but felt a T2 could be more practical for days out with our dogs than the beetle. So the '63 remains mothballed with that decision postponed.

Driving our microbus is a culture shock having not driven our beetle or extended families aircooled VWs in over twenty years. Still on drums, which require some effort & planning, goosed fuel gauge so fill up every 200miles. mystery gearshift to keep you guessing what number you'll find when pointing the gearstick, all part of the charm i keep telling myself.

We'll spend time getting familiar with how it all works, theres certainly more complexity to a Bay than the Beetle.

Heres a picture on our first evening run out to a local beach this last weekend, to see how it would manage over the speedhumps. I'd like to go lower but its not notched, nor tubbed, & front arches have been rubbed previously so need touching up soon.

View attachment 6873
Seen it now. That’s a lovely looking bus! Enjoy.
 
Seen it now. That’s a lovely looking bus! Enjoy.

The guy selling & his mate who did all the work wanted a last run out in it, so chose the show as an opportunity. They’d just had the engine out recently for sorting a few leaks, so was a chance to make sure all was good.
 
Hi Andy, fellow north east early bay owner here 🖐️

Worth mentioning, on the subject of north east air cooled meet ups, there’s a weekly one through the summer at Millies American diner in Bedlington station.
Also I’m sure the Angel Vw club do an occasional air cooled burger meet up in Newcastle at Hoults yard.

Lovely looking bus you have there! Very nice indeed. Enjoy it and use it plenty, make a snagging list and sort those niggly jobs as you go. 🤙

Also, on a side note…

You have any pics of the’63 bug you’d be happy to share in here?
 
Hello Huey,

Thanks for the compliment & tips on club meets. We used to go to Geordie Buggers club at Consett about 30yrs ago but fizzled out as seemed we were the only aircooled or sometimes even only VW ever there. Our last visit was their cruise through Roker Illuminations in 1993.

I wasn't sure if the Angel VW club was very active as their website refers you to their Facebook page. I have never bothered dealing with FB so far, although i rely on my wife Louise to nudge me when anything good turns up on Type2 Detectives Swapmeet.

We spent this fine dry Saturday getting more familiar with driving it & fitting inertia reel belts up front, instead of the 2 point lap-belts as bought, then a ride out to South Shields seafront. Louise snapped this shot of me waiting for her to return.
This was the best way to have a chippy tea so far, sat on the back seat at the table looking out the windscreen at the waves rolling in, like watching a big telly. It was high tide & very strong waves with some surfers staying upright for a while. The photo doesn't do it justice.
image2.jpeg

As for our beetle, heres a shot of it currently stripped up to its waist to assess necessary repairs. To be fair its not too bad, but we dont have the space to do bodywork & haven't MIG welded in 25+yrs.

Mostly it suffers from its badly painted chassis because someone used red hammerite on no primer, thin repro floorpans past their best, & 90's patching on rear quarters/inner arches using terrible welding skills, which were buried under generous layers of filler, (but no rust hidden). It remains very solid in most of the problem areas. Its a blessing we only ran it from 1997 to 2002 & it was off the road for years before that, so had maybe dodged too much rot.
From the receipts i have its bodywork was done by a Jaguar garage near Malton in Yorkshire, in the early nineties, & i can only guess they let an apprentice loose on it to learn his craft on the humble beetle, rather than risk a Jaguar. There are some bad patches & welding, even brazing here & there i've not shown.

39F7AE66-CBC1-4DA7-B46A-2EB8D07C8649.jpeg

Here is the last time it was on the road, Summer 2002. Notice the terrible fitting repro bonnet with mexican seal, an insurance repair from a shunt we had the previous year that cost us the Original VW bonnet, & both bumpers. I think the bodyshop cashed in on what parts they could to maximise the repairs list.

Spot the dreaded one piece windows, a regrettable decision, but the car came to us ready to be rebuilt but without any quarterlights, & early ones were nigh on impossible to source back then pre-internet, so two perfectly solid doors were wrecked for OPWs....... These ones actually worked well at least, using dual lift winders from a '67.
Front tyres look massive here but are actually Firestone F560 145's stretched on. Narrowed beams & smart car tyres these days make all the difference.

XTY255.jpg
 

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