So with P finished, the great team at Voodoo Restorations in Bulkington were ready to take on Cookie our 1985 VW T25 1.6d.
Cookie is my first van and definitely not in my opinion as solid as P is. I can safely say I probably paid slightly more than I should have for the condition it was in. I am not saying others on the market would’nt have paid it too, lets face it our little buses are fetching more each year. However I am a little wiser and more informed now after a year in the T25/T3 scene.
The chap I bought it off, Charlie was in his mid 70s and a right character, he found the smaller van too uncomfortable now after 9 years of ownership and had bought some ridiculously huge motorhome for a more comfortable stay. I think I took a shine to him as much as I did the van. I will admit now I didn’t know what I was looking for, or at, with hindsight the van had been home maintained for many years and although it was mechanically good, there were certainly a lot of little bodge jobs that would need undoing one by one. Still the price I paid from the auction, he installed new leisure batteries and gave me a wedge of cash back, so all in all I guess I paid the going rate after all but not thanks to my over zealous bidding but to his honesty.
If I did it now I would do it differently but I am pretty attached to the blue and white bus even after only a year of ownership (and two break downs). Fixing a bus with issues is probably more expensive than buying something already done for more cash or buying carefully and getting a rock solid base, but I really like the idea of being aware of all the problems and knowing that I’ve fixed them all too.
So I spent a couple of days stripping out the entire interior, with the amount of welding planned it just couldn’t go ahead with it in, the risk of fire was too high. I also had a better second hand interior to replace it with, which should both lighten the vans weight and provide a more efficient layout.
Well whoever built this wanted to make sure the old interior never came out again, we suspect it was converted into a camper in 1989, when 4 years old. I actually know 1989 is a key date for a fact, as you will find out later. The thing was fixed in place so securely it took me a few days to clear the interior. I am not saying they used a lot of screws but I could get a decent scrap weigh in just from the screws alone.
As it came out panel by panel, I can’t deny my heart sank, I kept finding little rust patches and a few areas of welding not previously identified. I had expected to find more work but it still felt said I was right. Cookie really did look a sad state with all the cupboards stripped out, although I was suddenly aware of how much space there is without the interior in. 😉 As the last of the cupboards came out, I found something folded and stored behind the wooden panel. It would never have been found unless the cupboard was removed but I was hugely surprised.
3 italian coins, a final demand coal bill for £82.60 from 1989 and a German newspaper. The fact they were sealed in gives good evidence that 1989 was the year Cookie turned from Caravelle into Camper, the combination of items in there was utterly baffling however. My imagination fired trying to fathom the events that would leave such a combination in there, but I will be honest it failed and I am clueless. The mystery though adds such a wonderful edge to owning this van.
I certainly intend to continue the tradition when the interior goes back in.
So as I type Cookie is being stripped down to the bare shell ready for the old panels to be cut out and new ones welded in. I chatted with the guys last night and discussed the work, some additional extras to consider, and excitingly the paint and timelines for completion.
Last night, for the first time since I was a little lad, I was so excited I literally couldn’t sleep. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I am changing the colours although not drastically but I hope it will look fantastic. Come back to see how it goes…