How To – Upholstery: Recovering Seats

Hi all, its Guest Blogger Christian here.

Thinking about revamping your tired interior to give your classic VW a lift, or merely a change of colour? Well, Caught the VW Bug are here to help you guide you through the process. We used seat covers, which you can pick up from several VW Parts stockists. There upholsterers that do offer a service to make seat covers in just about any colour you desire, or to do the full job for you, we at Classic Volks can highly recommend The Trim Shop, you can click here to go to their Facebook page or call Iain on 01900 817499.

Fitting seat covers should in theory be an easy job, but can be quite fiddly and you need to remember the seat covers seem smaller than the actual base, allowing for a snug fit!  Don’t worry if you encounter problems as everything is a learning curve! After six seat recovering jobs, I have still run into problems so it’s always possible to have a hiccup here and there.

The front seats themselves are separated into two parts, bases and backs (high or low) and the rear seat are two separate parts as well, albeit longer than your front seats.

Before I run through the step-by-step guide, you will need the following tools to aid you in the process:

 2 – 3 People
A Pair of Mole Grips
Seat Bases and New Covers
Stanley Knife
Strong Wire
2 Pieces of Cardboard

 Ready? Let’s go!

Step 1: Heating up the New Seat Covers

Now this is a really simple task, find a vacated radiator in the house to place your new covers on. Leave the covers to warm up on the radiator for a few hours. This loosens up the leather and gives you an advantage when it comes to fitting. If you plan to do this in the morning, merely place them on the radiator, with the leather side facing the radiator the night before.

 Step 2: Kettle ‘On’

Old damaged seat

Old seat, looking a bit tired.

Cup of tea or coffee is imperative for this job, as it needs as much relaxation as possible.

Step 3: Separating the Seat and Removing the Seat Lever

Step 3a

Step 3b






This is really simple, a bolt either side of the bottom of the seat needs to be removed and simply lift the back off the seat base. The rear seats should already be separate to each other. The seat lever also needs to be removed.

Step 4: Removing the Old Covers

Whether you want to keep or ditch your old seat covers, you need to remove from the seat bases from the seat itself on both the bases and backs. The seat covers sit in small, sharp hooks that are folded over to hold the covers to the bases. A picture is below:

Step 4..To remove your covers, you need your mole grips to pull the hooks up, make sure you pull them up as straight as possible to help you later on when refitting. There are a lot of these, so it should take about 10-15 minutes to lift up all of the hooks and cover out of the bases and backs.

Once this has been completed, proceed to lift the old covers off of the seat.

Now you should be looking at a bare seat base and back. Whether that’s front or rear, that musty smell is always expected and you’re now ready to replace those tired seats with some new, shiny covers.

 Step 5: Pulling the New Covers onto the Seat Base & Back

Your brand new covers are toasty warm and a little more stretchy than usual. What your team need to do is to pull the cover onto the seat base as fast and as accurately as possible. The foundations are laid here so it’s important they’re on nice and neatly and even on the front and Step 5back of the seat. This can be tough to do, but don’t worry if you don’t succeed the first time as everything is a learning curve! After six seat recovering jobs, I have still run into problems so it’s always possible to have a hiccup here and there!

Double check the seat cover is neatly on the seat base and back when you have placed the new covers on. They need to be absolutely 100% level each side as you’re going to have to pull the cover over on those hooks we mentioned earlier.

 Step 6: Piercing the Seat Covers and Hooking the Seat Covers Down

Grab those mole grips again, along with wire if needed and a hammer to knock the hooks back down.

Step 6

In addition, we used wire to further hold the covers down to give that desired and refreshed shape; along the bars of the seat bases and backs, you can see a few holes in the same place as the hooks, which is handy to use. Of course that is optional, but you need to spin the wire tight enough to have any effect.


To fit your covers; starting one side at a time; you need to squash the springs on the base or back down as best as you can. One person needs to squeeze and hold the base in place while another lifts the cover over as far as possible to the position of the hook. When at that position, Step 6bpierce the seat cover on the hooks and knock down the hooks so they’re touching the bar.

Rinse, and repeat until all the hooks have been hammered down and you’re happy. If you need the extra wire, or have the resources to do so, this can be done in the same process.

 Step 7: Fitting the Seat Lever (Front Seat Only)

Nearly there! The seat lever needs to be refitted or you will have a seat that you can’t move forward to let your fellow VW addicts in to sit in the back!

A small slit is needed in that brand new seat cover, so no pressure! Grab your Stanley knife and you should be able to feel a small gap where the mechanism is to be fitted. Make a small slit in the gap and fold the leather inside, allowing for more room to fit the mechanism. Once completed, simply fit the plastic plate onto the seat first, and followed by the seat knob.

 Step 8: Fit Both the Back and Base Together (Front Seat Only)

Precursor here is that this can be challenging, yet extremely rewarding as this is the final stage.What’s needed here is your cardboard, your friends or family members, the spanner and your bolts as you have to guide your seat back onto the base. Place the cardboard into the bottom of the seat base and slide the back into where the bolts need to go.

Is your seat in position? Awesome, just remove the cardboard and don’t let go of that seat! Fit the bolts and voila, one new seat! Now it’s time to have that obligatory sit down in your new seat and crack open the nearest bottle of wine to celebrate.

Well done!

Any questions, please feel free to comment below and Christian will 
hopefully be able to help :) Have fun!



Picture of campers at Camper Jam

Campers at Camper Jam

Held this year on July 4-6 at Weston Park, Shropshire (Home of the V Festival) This summer Camper Jam will be 7 years old! Borne from humble beginnings it has become the most-loved, sell-out VW show of the year. With people travelling from all over Europe to enjoy the show – the organisers are aiming to make the 2014 event the best yet! Camper Jam is aimed at owners and lovers of the VW Bus in all its models and types, but welcomes everyone! The show offers a chilled out, laid back atmosphere in a beautiful Parkland setting and takes the idea of the VW weekend right back to basics. Great people in great buses having a great time. The venue is simply stunning and the acres of rolling parkland give this show a festival vibe all of its own! You can camp as a club, in family areas or with your friends – room to relax is what this show is all about. Special VW displays, trade areas, beer and cider tents, a fantastic food village filled with unique food and drink traders, live bands every night and our infamous fancy dress parties will leave you spoilt for choice. This year the show welcomes NAVI, the World’s number 1 Michael Jackson tribute! For the kids we have our VW Kids Club, a line-up of entertainers, a complete fun fair, treasure hunts and a full activity programme to keep them occupied, too! Whether you want to camp or simply visit for the day, Camper Jam is a fantastic day out for all the family with a huge amount to see and do. Weston Park is just off the A5 easily reached via J12 of the M6 (just north of the M6 toll). For latest information and advance ticket bookings call 01244 881895 Ext 501 or check out

77 years old today – 28th May 2014

Source: Author: Unknown

On this day in 1937, the government of Germany–then under the control of Adolf Hitler of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party–forms a new state-owned automobile company, then known as Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH. Later that year, it was renamed simply Volkswagenwerk, or “The People’s Car Company.”

Originally operated by the German Labor Front, a Nazi organization, Volkswagen was headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. In addition to his ambitious campaign to build a network of autobahns and limited access highways across Germany, Hitler’s pet project was the development and mass production of an affordable yet still speedy vehicle that could sell for less than 1,000 Reich marks (about $140 at the time). To provide the design for this “people’s car,” Hitler called in the Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche. In 1938, at a Nazi rally, the Fuhrer declared: “It is for the broad masses that this car has been built. Its purpose is to answer their transportation needs, and it is intended to give them joy.” However, soon after the KdF (Kraft-durch-Freude)-Wagen (“Strength-Through-Joy” car) was displayed for the first time at the Berlin Motor Show in 1939, World War II began, and Volkswagen halted production. After the war ended, with the factory in ruins, the Allies would make Volkswagen the focus of their attempts to resuscitate the German auto industry.

Volkswagen sales in the United States were initially slower than in other parts of the world, due to the car’s historic Nazi connections as well as its small size and unusual rounded shape. In 1959, the advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach launched a landmark campaign, dubbing the car the “Beetle” and spinning its diminutive size as a distinct advantage to consumers. Over the next several years, VW became the top-selling auto import in the United States. In 1960, the German government sold 60 percent of Volkswagen’s stock to the public, effectively denationalizing it. Twelve years later, the Beetle surpassed the longstanding worldwide production record of 15 million vehicles, set by Ford Motor Company’s legendary Model T between 1908 and 1927.

With the Beetle’s design relatively unchanged since 1935, sales grew sluggish in the early 1970s. VW bounced back with the introduction of sportier models such as the Rabbit and later, the Golf. In 1998, the company began selling the highly touted “New Beetle” while still continuing production of its predecessor. After nearly 70 years and more than 21 million units produced, the last original Beetle rolled off the line in Puebla,Mexico, on July 30, 2003.

New Kid on the Block

Christian Tracey, Guest Writer

 Christian Tracey, age 19,West Sussex, GSOH, Aircooled Fanatic.

4 Welcome all, my name is Christian and I am the new kid on the block. Please don’t forget to say hello on your way out. I am very thankful for the opportunity to write on behalf of and I take the great pleasure of sharing my story to all of you interested folk. I am writing to you all because I want to share my passion for all things aircooled, reporting on the shows I attend and hopefully inspire a few of you, especially the youngsters to get involved in classic cars after reading my stories.

DSCF9158 My love for VW Beetle’s personally has been a recent affair, spawning in April 2013. However, the love of Beetle’s has been very strong with my family ever since the late 1970’s! Since my family bought their first aircooled VW, as a collective we have owned in excess of 25 Beetle’s ranging from US Cabriolets to a custom dragster.

 After a 10 year hiatus, a young 18 year old at the time (me if you didn’t deduce) was looking for his first car. I wanted something that was a little bit different, something that perfectly complimented my quirky character and was guaranteed to show up any modern supermini, if it started in the morning of course.

 Anyway, I set my eyes on a bright purple 1972 1600 Bug and instantly fell in love with it, I named it Lola after its L registration and it was completely SLAMMED. My best friend instantly thought it was typical of me to buy something as left-field as a purple classic Beetle, to his quip I laughed and quietly agreed. However, we quickly realised that we bought a deathtrap which needed more welding than most projects. Despite that, I tried my best and progressed a long way into its restoration before selling her on 2 months later over safety fears. Although, it brought back many memories of old for my parents and before long we bought another, and another and so on until in a space of a year there was five on our property (and two in our garden) and finally admitted we didn’t partake in just a hobby of restoring Beetle’s but owned a full blown restoration empire!

 I am now personally the proud owner of a 1968 US-Spec VW 1500 with a cracking Alpine speaker system and numerous rare additions such as US Spec chrome rear light and rear numberplate light housings which are popular with Baja Bug owners, highly sought after and custom Cream + Red, one year only ‘Highback’ seats topping off with our mascot, the Tango Man which has been with us in various Beetle’s for as long as I can remember! He is named McCartney after the legend Sir Paul McCartney coupled with an apt use of wordplay on the word Beetle.

67 Currently, I am documenting my progress of the Fab Five at my own blog, Caught The VW Bug, which produces a not too technical, yet surprisingly humorous insight into Beetle restoration as well as the shows we plan to visit and what the little characters get up to in their spare time!

 My plan for this summer will be certainly a busy and very dirty one. At the time of writing, 3 Beetle’s are chomping at the bit to get on the road in the form of a ’75 1200, a ’77 Last Edition and a rare ’67 which I will have the pleasure of transforming these bugs from rustbuckets to show stoppers. On top of that, I will be attending various shows around my neck of the woods and reporting on them both on the blog and with

 It’s all very exciting and I invite you to follow this rollercoaster journey.

 Blog2See you on the other side fellow Vee-Dubbers!

 Christian Tracey

 You can follow my antics here at Caught The VW Bug:

 Or view my images over on Pinterest:

Field of Dreams, Aircooled VW Show, 2013

Article by Roobarbncustard of

Field of Dreams – Aircooled Exclusive is a new show, organised by Kate of Classic Volks. When we booked the show, we didn’t realise that it was its first year, as everything was so slickly organised.

We took a scenic drive along the A59 (apparently causing one of Custard’s old uni friends to play a game of “Follow the Volkswagen” near Skipton – small world!) and arrived at York Racecourse in the late afternoon. The sun was shining, the ground was perfectly flat and firm and the camping was organised brilliantly, with marshalls at the entrance to point you in the right direction, put your wristband on for you and help you line up in your plot neatly. We were given a fab plot, tucked away behind the marshalls’ caravan, under their floodlights, which not only meant we could see to cook in the evening, but also that we felt really safe, if a little bit like teacher’s pets ;) (Which prompted quite a lot of conversation between us in the manner of Karen Powell, Greg Davies’ favourite student, which was one of those “you had to be there” moments.)

We went for a wander around the campsite and took a few photographs of our neighbours for the weekend:

windsocks fish field of dreams

turquoise splitscreen vw camper field of dreams

grafitti samba vw splitscreen camper 23 window

york racecourse field of dreams

vw bay window blue panel van field of dreams

vw bay window orange camper flower spare tyre field of dreams

spraypaint graffiti vw camper beetle camping field of dreams

vw beetle silver relentless gazebo field of dreams

bay window camper cream red field of dreams pop top

split screen camper red black nose field of dreams

karmann ghia pearlescent paint field of dreams

sky clouds brooding field of dreams

On Saturday we woke up to glorious sunshine, but a bit of a breeze, but we weren’t deterred.

Ruby split screen panel van sunshine red yellow rhubarb custard field of dreams

Whilst eating breakfast, we met Vicki, one of our Twitter friends who came to say hello, and then I got my hippy garb on to go and wander round the show (yes, most people don’t dress up until the evening, but it’s dark then, and there’s no guarantees that I’ll be awake!)

hippy red yellow split screen vw panel camper vanThere was a good variety of autojumble, food, craft, clothing and other unusual stands, as well as entertainment for children, a dog show and shine and a hobby horse race (well, when at the racecourse, you’ve got to, haven’t you?)

brown ratty signwritten vw camper van field of dreams

beetle shell primer field of dreams

autojumble speedometer vintage field of dreams

mirrors autojumble field of dreams

rust splitscreen vw badge ratty patina field of dreams

dog costume show and shine field of dreams

boxer dog field of dreams

bay window camper vans vw field of dreams

split screen deluxe trim camper van vw field of dreams

beetle blue sky field of dreams  After a look around we met up with Vicki, Lesley, Lesley’s mum and Dizzi the dog to enjoy a coffee or two from the Green Bay Cafe whilst watching the hobby horse race.

green bay cafe vw camper van coffee field of dreams

dizzi dog collie field of dreams


dizzi dog collie cuddle vicki field of dreams

After grabbing a bite to eat back at the van, we headed back to the show arena to enjoy a pint or two of passionfruit cider and listen to the bands, who were great!

band live music field of dreams

band live music field of dreams

band live music field of dreams evening entertainment

Sunday was a little more overcast and windy, but the rain stayed away, allowing a variety of aircooled splits, bays, beetles and ghias to be displayed in the field. There was a really good turn out, with lots of vehicles to look at, including a few for sale.

Bay window maroon devon interior for sale field of dreams

bay window yellow camper van garfield

bay window vw camper red volkswagger cartoonies field of dreams

blue yellow white black beetle shopping trolley leeds united field of dreams

After another wander round to take in the last of the show and chat with friends, it was time to head home over the M62, where we spotted a couple more campers on their travels!

turquoise white bay window camper motorway

red white bay window camper motorway

Field of Dreams did have its teething problems – the camping and show were split up by a walk around the outside of the racecourse due to last minute decisions that were out of the organisers’ hands, which could make the arena feel too spread out and quiet, and also meant a bit of a trek to get to the show, and the wind made life difficult for the traders on Sunday. But, these are things that can’t be helped – Kate, Kevin and the team kept everyone informed of what was going on, were apologetic, friendly, and had everything else superbly organised. I don’t think we’ve been to a show where the camping was so well sorted, or where the loos were serviced every day!

Small local shows are only as good as the people who support them, traders, campers, day visitors and volunteers, and the Classic Volks team are already planning to make Field of Dreams 2014 even better than this year. Make sure you’re part of it!

Volkswagen T2. A lot of rust. Four crazy thrill-seekers. Big adventure!

Happy Samoje!

Happy with the camper?

We all have dreams we wish one day would come true. Just like these four guys from Poland – but they took a step further and decided to make it happen. They gave up all the things that they ‘had to do’ in their lives and focused on what they actually ‘want to do’ instead. Let’s hear their story… It all started one year ago with just a simple plan to do a Eurotrip in a modern camper van, nice and comfy. However, they felt it could be a bit boring since they don’t see themselves as the kind of people who like doing ordinary things. The ‘ordinary’ plan had to be changed into a bit more of an extreme one. What did they come up with? They have always been in love with a T2 bus, probably since they were kids, so it naturally led to a decision – to buy a classic VW T2 of their childhood dreams and travel around Europe in that iconic hippie bus. There was just one problem – they had never restored or even repaired a car on their own before…

Picture of VW splitscreen at the VW Museum

VW museum

The research started, first on the list was a visit to the Volkswagen Museum in Pepowo near Sopot, Poland to find out everything about their beloved T2 bus. A bit more interesting than a regular day out in the museum!     The main goal of their mission was to find out if such a car can go more than 10,000 km without causing any technical issues. The owner of the museum was incredibly helpful and the guys managed to get to know a huge amount of details about the T2 hippie bus.  Mission complete! However, one pretty massive obstacle appeared on the horizon – the cost of bringing such an old car (of almost 40 years!) back to life. It turned out the price of restoration was comparable to renting a good condition camper van for the whole trip! A lot of thinking had to be done and the decision was not easy… but their love of trying new and extraordinary things took over the reasonable thinking and the decision was made. The search for an old T2 hippie bus began. Eurotrip plans started taking shape – they came up with a marketing strategy and started looking for sponsors. The details of their not-just-ordinary Eurotrip will follow, let’s go back to the restoration adventures now.

Rusty VW camper

This needs a lot of work!

After their visit to the VW Museum they stared looking for a car that would be in as good condition as possible. With constant searching, it took three months to find the right one! It looked perfect on the photo, the excitement was growing… Turned out it was not so perfect in reality, in fact there was nothing to buy apart from a pile of rust. What a massive waste of time and excitement!

Back to searching, luckily it was not long till one of them found another perfect bus! And that turned out to be the real perfect one. They bought it and the restoration process

VW Type 2 camper

This was worse than they’d expected

began. There was a lot of rust at the front part of the bus so the first step was to replace it. This part was quick and easy – all done by a professional panel beater. Not easy for much longer though as they noticed that there was much more rust under every seal… The budget was limited so the guys were forced to do it on their own and secretly hoped for some

Very rusty window area on the VWbus

Surely it’ll buff out?

help from friends and family who knew how to fix the metal issues.

Welding being done on a VW campervan

Time for a spot of welding?

It was time of learning a lot about cars. Their lack of experience did not help – but their massive passion for bringing this old rusty car back to life helped them go through every step of the restoration process. It was a really long process as they ended up having to replace over 50 parts on their own! And that was just the first stage, next to get done was the filling. So much they were in love with this car that they were ready to do it on their own too!

VW Bus with filler

This bus needed some filler!

Okay, car body issues sorted out but to travel more than 10,000 km around Europe they would need an engine that works properly. The car had a 1.6 litre boxer engine that could be started but it was very weak so it was a definite next one on the to do list. The guys would have had no idea how to tackle this problem but luckily one of them was finishing his mechanical engineering studies and with his eye for detail there was no way anything could be missed or done wrong!   6  The entire restoration process started back in March and the body and filling works took more than five months. It was time of hard work, sometimes even seven days a week. After that tough and long process there was time for a more exciting part – the colour! The plan was to go from the old green & gold to a classic blue & white. Sounded easy but even finding a perfect combination of the colour tones took a few trials. Finally, the best blue was chosen.

VW camper ready to be painted

Ready for painting!

Although the car was painted by a professional, guys did not have time off while waiting for it to be done. They split into two teams: engine repairing crew and upholstery team. It worked out very well and by time the car came back with a beautiful new colour both teams completed their jobs. Very efficient!

VW engine being rebuilt

The engine needed sorting



Finally the car came back with its beautiful new shiny colour. That moment compensated for all the hard moments they had since the start of the restoration works! Massive smiles on their faces – the colour turned out to be even better than what they dreamt of!

Volkswagen campervan painted blue and white

All painted and ready to rebuild.

The guys are a bit secretive when showing photos of their restored T2 bus but since it is a part of their marketing strategy we have to wait till they reveal more. There are more details, photos and videos on their Facebook page so make sure you check this out! They said everything was recorded and their next step would be to get the editing done and put some more videos on their fanpage.   They talk about the whole project as ‘not just an ordinary trip’. The plan is to make it an extreme Eurotrip with all sorts of risky and adrenaline pumping activities happening on the way. Some of that could be surfing (photo below) like this one on the Portuguese coast. As I mentioned they’re looking for sponsor, who could allow them to fulfill their crazy plan and hit the trip! In return they will call whole excursion with the name of sponsor, and furthermore during the entire trip their car can be used for sponsor brand stickers: “We have so much advertising space on our car, so we can give it to our sponsor which will be huge benefit for him or her”  There is a lot to follow so make sure you check out their Facebook page!

Surfing in Portugal

Catching some waves!


The Volkswagen Golf has been named Used Car of the Year by What Car? magazine, Britain’s biggest car buyer’s guide.  The 2010 Golf SE 1.4-litre TSI five-door model claimed victory in the Family Car class ‘over £6,000’ category, before going on to win the overall Car of the Year accolade.  The Golf is no stranger to What Car? Used Car awards, having also won its class last year.


The What Car? Used Car of the Year judging panel was made up of experts from all areas of the motor industry including car dealerships, auction houses and What Car?magazine itself.

In commenting on the reasons for the Golf’s win, John McIlroy, Editor of What Car? said: ‘The What Car? used car of the year and family car winner, the Volkswagen Golf has consistently proved that you don’t have to buy big to get impressive cabin quality and refinement.  Volkswagen has got it right with the Golf, each generation of Golf gets better and better making it such a great used car buy.’

The Golf Mk VI is praised for offering buyers ‘genuine value for money’, thanks to an impressive and economical engine, a spacious and stylish cabin with an ‘exceptionally high quality look and feel’ and strong safety credentials.  In short, says What Car?: ‘No other small family car matches the Golf for fun and comfort.’

Collecting the award on behalf of Volkswagen was Head of Sales Operations, Ian Plummer, who said: ‘We’re delighted to win this award.  The seventh-generation Golf has claimed a number of high profile accolades since its launch so it’s tremendous for us that the previous generation is also still winning titles too.  Excellent value for money, high quality and a strong reputation mean the Golf is always a popular choice with new and used car buyers and we’re grateful that What Car? has recognised this.’

Volkswagen’s used car programme, called ‘Das WeltAuto’, ensures that customers not only get a quality product, but also high quality service when they purchase a car from a Retailer.  Rolled out across the manufacturer’s network in 2011, Das WeltAuto is designed to make the purchase of a secondhand car as appealing as that of a new car, with ‘Used cars you can trust. Guaranteed’.

Every car sold under the Das WeltAuto banner comes with a number of features, including a no quibble exchange policy, free servicing for two years when bought with Volkswagen Finance and a used car warranty.  Full details, as well as an online used car locator, can be found at

The full results of What Car?’s Used Car of the Year awards are published in the November issue of the magazine, out 19 September.

An old bus gets a timeless restoration

Enthusiast Jo Hamshaw loves to restore VWs. She has four parked outside her house on the southcoast of England all lovingly labored over by her and her partner; A 1957 Splitscreen campervan, 1971 Beetle, 1991 Golf MKIII and a 1998 T4 Transporter.


When Jo happened upon the 1957 Splitscreen it had been sitting in a workshop for 17 years, unloved and untouched. And, was in need of a serious overhaul.

In usual VW bus fashion, it had quite a charming past. One of the first generations of Volkswagon campers, the Splitscreen was shipped straight to Britain from Germany into the hands of a refrigeration company. After which it found its way into the hearts of a southcoast beat band called the ‘Southbeats’, where it spent it’s days as a DJ tour bus.

As soon as Jo laid eyes on the rusty old bus she was on a mission, and dedicated most of her spare time converting the camper back to its former glory. Which meant stripping the bus right back, and removing all the parts that weren’t in keeping with its original charm.

 “You know how people buy cars and tart them up with performance lights and alloy wheels, they did that in the 60s in a big way. As newer versions of the VW bus became available, they’d fit them up to give them a more modern look.”

 It took about a year of weekend tinkering to get the bus back to standard – but it was Jo’s attention to detail and patience that paid off.

 “I would trawl the internet all day looking for parts. My other half didn’t have the patience. It’s great if you love to shop, which I do. I would spend days finding parts from all over the world.”

 The buzz blue color was not uncommon for a van of that era, however to find the buzz grey hubcaps which featured on that style of bus took a lot of trawling, it was a rare feature on that style of camper and a lot harder to find.

She tracked down a company located in the US which sold the buzz grey color and had it shipped to England. It helped working for Essex firm VW Heritage spare parts when sourcing rare bits from all over the world.

 Jo’s handywork was also applied to the curtains and cushions, which she made out of a blue and white hibiscus fabric she sourced all the way from Hawaii, giving the bus that surf-wagon look it is so well known for. The woodwork and camping interior was made by a chap who specializes in the restoration of vans in British surf haven Devon, called Smith’s of Cornwall.

 Any tips for anyone out there wanting to restore a worn out old bus or any timeless piece of machinery?

 “Just get on with it. There are plenty of resources for anyone wanting to get involved in a restoration. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

 As time moves on and the old beauties become harder to come by, a new generation of vehicles shift into the classic or vintage car space, re-defining what’s considered classic in the eyes of enthusiasts. For example, both the Golf Mk1 and the 90s Golf Mk2 are considered classic cars, and worthwhile investments. And the Mexican VW Beetle, which stopped production in 2003, is deemed a classic car just by definition, even though its only ten years old.

Jo Split

Although, if you’re thinking of going down the route of a conversion for investment opportunities, it’s worth noting that VW’s have a way of getting into the heart’s of their owners. And, as Jo discovered after lovingly nurturing her van back to its former self, parting with her big old blue bus would simply be out of the question.

 Megan McAuliffe is a writer, journalist and blogger covering ethical and sustainable issues in lifestyle, community and culture. You can find her on Twitter @Mxxsy

York nightclub gets a tiki makeover!


York nightclub formerly know as The Gallery recently had a makeover. Although I live in York, I have not yet had the chance to visit but I will definitely be making the effort to go an check it out at some point.

The interior has taken on the look of a Tiki Bar, with VW campervan included!

So if you’re heading up to York for our event ‘Field of Dreams – the airooled exclusive’, why not stay an extra night and head to Kuda Bar.

Split Screen single cab found after 45 years!

Don’t you wish you were this lucky?  A couple were out for a Sunday drive in the foothills around the Idaho Falls area in the USA.  Driving along in their Syncro they spotted this single cab buried 2 feet down.  They later found out it had been buried there since 1967 – 45 years!

The whole process took 9 hours but the video shown here has it condensed into just 15 minutes.  Although not in the greatest condition, having been buried for so long it was fairly rust free.

We would like to see what it looks like now so if any of you know the owners please ask them to get in touch.



The Amarok has been a huge success since its European launch in 2011, and to improve supply and availability, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is now producing this model at its factory in Hanover, Germany (production also continues in Argentina).

The first right-hand drive Amarok pick-up model to be produced in Hanover is to be put into action with the RSPCA in the United Kingdom.  It was officially presented to the RSPCA by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at a special event in Hanover, followed by a tour of the factory.

The RSPCA’s vehicle is one of the latest Amarok models.  It has a powerful and efficient 2.0 BiTDI engine, now with 180 PS, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is new to this model.  In addition, to improve fuel economy and emissions, it is fitted with BlueMotion Technology, which is now available across the Amarok range.  The 180 PS BlueMotion Technology model with automatic transmission and 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive offers combined fuel consumption of 35.3 mpg.

The Amarok will be delivered to the RSPCA in the UK once accessories including a hardtop and protective seat covers are fitted.  It will then be set to work at one of the RSPCA’s biggest and busiest centres, the Southridge Animal Centre, handling rescued animals ranging from domestic pets to pigs, goats and horses.  The Amarok’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive and pulling power will be needed when retrieving animals from off-road locations, and for towing equipment around the 16-acre site.

Kevin Degenhard, Chief Inspectorate Officer of the RSPCA, who accepted Volkswagen’s invitation to the event in Hanover, said: ‘The Amarok is a very impressive vehicle and we are privileged and proud to have the first one from the European production line.  Our staff are looking forward to the Amarok joining our fleet, and I assure you it will be put to very good use and tested to extremes.’

Alex Smith, Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in the UK said: ‘At a time when incomes for charities are under pressure, we are delighted to support the RSPCA with the perfect off-road vehicle with plenty of traction, load capacity and towing power.  The RSPCA is often seen as another of the emergency services, and I know the Amarok will be working hard.’


The Amarok is now even more powerful and economical, thanks to a power upgrade for the 163 PS BiTDI engine to 180 PS, and the introduction of BlueMotion Technology models to offer improved efficiency.  In addition, towing limits have increased from 2,800 kg to 3,000 kg for manual models, while a new eight-speed automatic transmission has been introduced and has a higher towing limit of 3,200 kg.

To improve supply and availability, Amarok models for the UK and the rest of Europe are now being produced in the same factory as the Transporter in Hanover, Germany.  At the same time, new features introduced include: Bluetooth, front and rear parking sensors, heated washer jets, tachograph preparation, cornering fog lights and 19-inch alloy wheels.

BlueMotion Technology improves fuel economy and lowers emissions by using low rolling resistance tyres, Stop/Start and regenerative braking.  This means that although the 180 PS BlueMotion Technology is over 10 per cent more powerful than the previous 163 PS model, it is 3.9 per cent more economical, with a combined fuel economy of 37.2 mpg compared to 35.8 mpg.  Better still, emissions drop by 10 g/km to 199 g/km.

Torque for the eight-speed automatic transmission increases from 400 to 420 Nm, delivered at 1,750 rpm.  It is available exclusively as a Highline model with BlueMotion Technology and permanent 4MOTION for a retail price of £25,105 (plus VAT).  It achieves combined fuel economy of 35.3 mpg with emissions of 211 g/km – the same as the standard manual model.

The new 180 PS BiTDI engine is available with a six-speed manual transmission in Startline, Trendline and Highline trim levels and selectable 4MOTION all-wheel drive with retail prices from £19,795 (plus VAT).   The 2.0-litre TDI 122 PS engine is still available in the Startline range from £18,795 (plus VAT).

‘The new 180 PS engine and automatic transmission make the Amarok even more refined, plus with BlueMotion Technology also now available, it can offer more efficiency, too,’ said Alex Smith, Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

‘The Amaroks from Germany are now arriving in Van Centre showrooms, with demonstrators available for test drives,’ he continued.

Full details of the Amarok range are available at, or by calling 0800 717131.  For the latest updates find Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on Twitter @Volkswagen_CV.

Amarok performance and technical specifications:

Combined MPG 0-62 mph
Previous163 PS 4MOTION Selectable 35.8 11.1 209 1,064 to 1,108
Previous163 PS 4MOTION Permanent 35.8 11.1 209 750
New 180 PS 4MOTION Selectable 35.3 11.0 211 1,091 to 1,145
New 180 PS 4MOTION Permanent
BlueMotion Technology
37.2 11.0 199 772
New 180 PS 4MOTION Permanent
BlueMotion Technology automatic
35.3 11.3 211 1,077

Amarok retail and on the road (OTR) prices:

Retail £ (ex VAT) OTR £ (inc VAT)
2.0 TDI 122 PS 4MOTION Selectable
2.0 BiTDI 180 PS 4MOTION Selectable
2.0 BiTDI 180 PS 4MOTION Selectable
£20,795 £25,926
2.0 BiTDI 180 PS 4MOTION Selectable
2.0 BiTDI 180 PS 4MOTION Permanent BlueMotion Technology
2.0 BiTDI 180 PS 4MOTION Permanent BlueMotion Technology auto


VW Roadside Assistance van
VW Roadside Assistance van

Roadside Assistance from Volkswagen

Over the past two winters, Volkswagen Roadside Assistance has attended 2,500 battery related call-outs and 700 wiper and washer related call-outs, so to make sure your van isn’t a victim of the cold this year, take advantage of the free Winter Check now available from Volkswagen Van Centres and authorised repairers across the UK.

The free, 30-point Winter Check includes essentials such as battery, lights, tyres, wipers and washers, plus screenwash and antifreeze levels.  If the screenwash is low, it will be topped up for free with Volkswagen genuine screenwash, which can cope with temperatures of minus 70°C.  If any items need replacing, a range of Volkswagen approved replacements are available at competitive prices, including winter tyres, which provide extra grip and traction when temperatures fall below seven degrees.

In addition, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has produced a video of top winter driving tips, with help from the Volkswagen Roadside Assistance partner, the RAC.  This can be seen at, or on YouTube at:

‘People don’t realise the importance of basics like good quality screenwash which works at much lower temperatures than cheaper alternatives, or that the correct antifreeze level is essential to reduce the risk and cost of burst pipes or frozen water pumps,’ said Stephen Bateson, Head of Aftersales and Customer Service.

‘This free Winter Check will help van drivers keep their vehicles on the road this winter, and save the cost of unnecessary repairs and lost business if they breakdown,’ he continued.

To find your nearest participating Volkswagen Van Centre, call 0800 717131 or visit  For the latest updates follow Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on or Twitter @Volkswagen_CV.

Biggest Ever Group Test

Which Motorhome, the UK’s number one magazine for motorhome testing, has just completed its biggest ever group test of twelve Volkswagen campers at the Caravan Club’s site in Ferry Meadows.

All campers tested were based on the current shape Volkswagen T5, featuring the classic side kitchen layout with an elevating roof. The campers tested included Volkswagen’s own California, while the remainder were from all the UK’s leading manufacturers: the Bilbo’s Komba SE 35, Bilbo’s Celex LWB, Bebb Sport Lifestyle, Rolling Homes, Jerba Cromarty, Danbury Surf, VWKC Komet, VWKC Karisma, Concept Multi-Car Trio Style, Leisuredrive Crusader and Hillside Birchover.

All the campers were tested by Which Motorhome’s highly experienced road-testers, who found a surprising variation between them. The results of this test, along with the winner are published in the December issue of Which Motorhome, on-sale on 8th November.

Which Motorhome was established in 1986 and is widely recognised as the leading magazine for those looking to buy their first motorhome or upgrade their existing motorhome to a new model.

Which Motorhome has recently been relaunched and includes more motorhome tests than before, while the magazine is often first to test new motorhomes as they are launched. Which Motorhome covers everything from new A-classes to luxury low-profiles and secondhand bargains, so there is something to suit all budgets!

Editor, Peter Vaughan said: “Which Motorhome introduced group testing to motorhome magazines in the UK and we continue to lead the way with this, our biggest ever group test. And with more motorhomers downsizing, as well as rapidly growing interest in VW campers, there has never been a more appropriate time to look at these unique and highly-aspirational vehicles.’

Managing Editor, Daniel Attwood, added: “This issue of Which Motorhome is a must read for anyone interested in Volkswagen campervans. The team have pulled off one of the greatest tests of VW campervans since their introduction some 50 years ago… and it makes for great reading!”



Volkswagen’s latest concept car, the Taigun, has been unveiled at the São Paulo motor show, and previews the look of a possible small SUV based on the New Small Family platform, which underpins the award-winning up!.

Just like the up!, the Taigun is small on the outside – at just 3.86 metres long and 1.73 metres wide – but big on the inside, thanks to a generous 2.47 metre wheelbase.  These dimensions give the Taigun short overhangs (708 mm front and 681 mm rear) and purposeful proportions, while the clear, concise exterior styling follows the unmistakable Volkswagen design DNA.

Powering the four-seat Taigun is a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 110 PS at 5,000 rpm and pushing 175 Nm (129 lbs ft) of torque through the six-speed manual gearbox.  The engine is based on the latest EA211 series, and with the use of direct fuel injection and turbocharging it is able to return a combined fuel consumption of just 4.7 litres per 100km (60.1 mpg), despite being able to take the 985 kg Taigun from zero to 62 mph in 9.2 seconds and on to 186 km/h (115 mph) top speed.

The look of the Taigun is deliberately styled to emulate that of its SUV siblings, the Tiguan and Touareg, as is evident in the rugged side panels, underbody protection and practical roof rails with LED spotlights.  Wide tracks (1,473 mm front and rear) help give the Taigun a purposeful look, while 17-inch alloys with 205/50 R17 tyres, high ground clearance and plentiful torque enable it to deal with rough surfaces.  This is, however, very much a vehicle for the urban environment: the high driving position gives the driver an optimum view in traffic, while there’s plenty of room for luggage, thanks to a practical 280-litre loadspace that increases to 987 litres with the rear seats down.  What’s more, the tailgate is split, with the top two-thirds opening upwards and the bottom third folding down, making loading even easier.
The interior of the Taigun is simple and spacious (headroom is 1,036 mm in front and 980 mm at the back), with controls pared back to a minimum.  The front air nozzles, for example, not only individually control the direction of the air flow, but also the blower speed and the temperature, which is displayed within the nozzle.  Meanwhile the central infotainment system can pair with the majority of smartphones, providing an intuitive interface.  Above this are mounted auxiliary instrument gauges that display oil pressure, coolant temperature and turbo charge pressure.

Volkswagen will be monitoring public reaction to this vehicle before taking a decision on whether to put the Taigun into production.


Whether you are a classic motoring fan, classic film buff or simply a lover of all things retro, this year’s Footman James Classic Motor Show is sure to be one to remember.  With so many stunning classics, all with a great story to tell and all under one roof at the NEC − it’s a classic fan’s paradise.

To tie in with this year’s theme ‘What’s the story?’ title sponsors Footman James’ stand will feature two stars from the screen; Del Boy’s Reliant Regal Supervan from The Only Fools and Horses series and, in honour of  Bond’s 50th anniversary, the Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day is also expected to draw the crowds.   Stand visitors, who obtain a quote during the three day show, which runs from 16-18 November,will also have the last opportunity to enter the annual competition to win a luxury weekend for two and tickets to Beaulieu National Motor Museum  which includes the world exclusive Bond in Motion exhibition.

Another great story from the screen is the tale of the mammoth restoration of the original Roger Moore Saint Car – the Volvo 71 DXC.  Purchased by Volvo Enthusiasts’ Club founder Kevin Price back in 1997 the car commenced its restoration in 2007 and now, some five years later, thanks to sponsorship from Footman James, is to be unveiled at this year’s show.

Classic Film Festival

New for this year, is the Vintage Mobile Cinema which will screen some of the best classic motoring films of all time, as voted for by fans in a Classic Film Festival poll in the run up to this year’s Show.  So, if you fancy a brief moment of calm, pop along to the Vintage Mobile Cinema and catch up with your favourite classic car or bike movie in true vintage style.

Big game show fun

The 45,000 visitors expected at this year’s show can also take part in an exciting daily game show, The Generation Challenge, sponsored by Footman James, will take place on the Live Stage.  Wheeler Dealer host Mike Brewer will guide participants as they battle through a range of motoring challenges to get to the grand final when they will test their memory on the conveyor belt challenge to win a range of prizes including a luxury hamper and a ride in their dream classic.

Andy Fairchild, managing director of Footman James, said: “We have sponsored the Classic Motor Show for 18 years now, this being our third year as title sponsor, and from day one, we have been immensely proud to support the flagship event of the classic vehicle movement.

“In addition to our feature stand at the motor show you can also see us on our stand at the Footman James Classic Motorbike Show.  Once again we will be sharing the stand with our club partners, The Vintage Motor Cycle Club, which will feature a number of show-stopping classics and the chance to win your very own 1973 Laverda SF1 750cc motorcycle − worth over £6000!”

A ticket to ride

A ticket to the Show gets you a ticket to ride, well almost!  Not only can you meet the Footman James team on the Footman James car and bike stands, but also on the shiny red Footman James Routemaster bus, sadly it will be stationary, but a sight to be seen nonetheless.  Throughout the show, visitors can talk to fellow enthusiasts about the insurance options on offer, as well as obtaining on the spot quotations.


Volkswagen Tees Up New Golf For First Customer Orders

The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf opens for ordering today, with prices starting below those of the previous model, at just £16,285* (RRP OTR) and rising to £24,880.

The latest Golf is lighter, safer, more advanced, more spacious, more efficient and better equipped than previous generations of Europe’s best-seller, of which over 29 million have been sold – some 1.6 million of these in the UK.  From launch, the Golf is available in the UK in three trim levels: S, SE and GT (GTI and BlueMotion models join the line-up in 2013).  Four petrol engines and two diesel engines are available, in either three- or five-door form.

The petrol engine range starts with a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit producing 85 PS, rising via a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS and a 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS motor to the 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS with Active Cylinder Technology, which is capable of 60.1 mpg (combined cycle) and 110 g/km (with DSG gearbox), thanks to the ability to deactivate two cylinders under light loads.

The diesel engines at launch are a 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS and a new 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS unit.  Both feature the latest common rail diesel technology for maximum efficiency.  All new Golf models – both diesel and petrol – come with a Stop/Start system as standard, along with battery regeneration.  Gearboxes are a mixture of five- and six-speed manuals, and six- and seven-speed DSG units, depending on the engines’ power and torque outputs.

All Golf models come with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, five three-point seatbelts, ABS with ESP, XDS electronic differential lock and Isofix preparation for two rear child seats.  The entry-level Composition Media system includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio, a CD player, MDI interface (for connecting iPod or MP3 player), Bluetooth telephone preparation and audio streaming and eight speakers.  Also standard is ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning, among a host of other features.

Moving from S to SE trim brings an outstanding range of features, including standard ADC Automatic Distance Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, which can even bring the vehicle to a complete halt if necessary, a Driver Alert System, PreCrash preventative occupant protection, Driver Profile Selection, rain-sensitive wipers, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and dusk sensor (automatic driving lights).

The GT model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, ‘Cherry Red’ rear light clusters, heat-insulating dark-tinted rear glass, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights, and front and rear parking sensors with visual display.  Inside are gloss black inserts, Alcantara and cloth sports seats, LED reading lights, ambient lighting and the Discover Navigation media system with 5.8-inch colour touchscreen.

Options include high beam assist, lane assist, park assist, ACC adaptive chassis control, a rear-view camera, Discover Pro navigation system with eight-inch colour touchscreen, keyless entry and a panoramic sunroof.


The New Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Retailers begin taking orders for the new Golf today, 19 October, with first deliveries due from the car’s official on-sale date of 7 January 2013.  For full details, see the price list*.  For more information visit


Customers who want to mix the performance of a petrol motor with the frugal fuel use of a diesel are in for a treat, as the new Volkswagen Polo BlueBT, which uses ACT cylinder deactivation to maximise efficiency and power, is available to order from today.


The new Polo BlueGT, which costs from £17,400 on the road, features a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 140 PS and 250 Nm (185 lbs ft) of torque, yet it returns 61.4 mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 107 g/km of CO2, whether drivers opt for the six-speed manual or the seven-speed DSG transmission.  Top speed is 130 mph and zero to 62 mph takes just 7.9 seconds.


At the heart of the Polo BlueGT, and responsible in large part for its combination of high performance and low fuel economy, is the new EA211 engine.  Under light and medium loads, the second and third cylinders are automatically shut down, producing fuel savings of up to 0.4 litres per 100 km in the EU driving cycle.  At a constant 50 kmh (30 mph) the savings can be as much as one litre per 100 km, and even at 70 kmh (44 mph) in fifth gear, around 0.7 litres per 100 km can be saved.


Cylinder deactivation occurs at engine speeds of between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm, and at torque outputs of 25 to 100 Nm (18 to 74 lbs ft).  If the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the two cylinders are imperceptibly reactivated.  All mechanical switchovers occur within 13 to 36 milliseconds, depending on engine speed.  The multifunction display in the instrument binnacle lets the driver know when cylinders are deactivated.


While the cylinder deactivation is so unobtrusive that only the driver might know about it, the Polo BlueGT itself is distinguished inside and out by various styling cues.  On the outside, there are multi-spoke 17-inch alloys and GT badges front and rear, while the suspension is lowered by around 15 mm.  Added to this are some features borrowed from the Polo GTI (the rear spoiler, rear bumper with diffuser, plus front bumper with LED daytime running lights) and some from the Polo BlueMotion (side sills and front windscreen rain channels).  A black-painted front grille and black door mirror caps complete the look, while a unique exterior paint, ‘Blue Silk’, is available as an option.


Inside, as in the Polo GTI, the roof lining is in black, while the instruments are also adopted from the GTI.  Up front are bespoke BlueGT sports seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with BlueGT emblem.  Standard specification includes DAB radio with iPod connectivity, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connection and XDS electronic differential lock.  Orders open today, with deliveries expected in mid-December.


Model Engine


Combined mpg

Price, £ RRP OTR

Polo BlueGT 3dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 6 spd man




Polo BlueGT 5dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 6 spd man




Polo BlueGT 3dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 7 spd DSG




Polo BlueGT 5dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 7 spd DSG




Oil Checking

I have decided to start putting some basic maintenance articles here for you – I know I found it hard to find good simple instruction when I first started doing things with my Beetle (less than a year ago).  I’ll start with the real basics and as I learn new things I’ll get them down in writing.

So firstly, one thing you should do at least once a week is to check the oil level on your aircooled engine – I probably check it more often than that and certainly add to that before any long trips.  Aircooled engines are actually designed to use a bit of oil when they are running and oil is not only for lubrication but is one of the main cooling systems of the aircooled engine – more on that in another article but remember how important the oil system is in your aircooled engine.  So, here’s how to check your oil.

  1. Run the engine til hot, maybe a quick drive round the block, then turn it off.
  2. Wait about 10 minutes after turning the engine off to allow most of the oil to drain down to the crankcase
  3. Pull out the dipstick and wipe with a rag
  4. Re-insert the dipstick and make sure it’s properly in
  5. Remove again and look at the level – there are marks, the level should be in  between the 2.
  6. If the oil level is less than halfway then add a little oil – try not to spill any but if you do wipe it up after.

If you check this as regularly as I mentioned earlier then it should never get lower than the lowest mark – if it does then you probably have an oil leak that needs investigating.  Always make sure you replace the dipstick and the oil filler cap.  I keep the can of oil with me at all times just in case.

Camper Jam 2012

Picture taken at Camper Jam 2012
By Kate McCarthy Bedward of Classic Volks & York Classic VWs

After another week of checking the weather forecast every 10 minutes and seeing nothing but rain, rain and more rain we were beginning to wonder if this year’s Camper Jam would go ahead.  We were due to set off from York at 2pm on Friday (6th July) and it was constant rain here in York.  I called the show organisers in the morning to double check everything was okay and yes, it was very wet and very muddy after another torrential downpour overnight but they would most definitely not be cancelling.  I for one had made the decision that as long as it wasn’t cancelled we would be heading down – I had been looking forward to this show for a long time and really din’t want to miss it.

We set off as planned at 2pm, the drive down was dreadful – the rain was pretty much constant throughout the journey, bear in mind we were in our ’69 beetle with wipers that do what they want, and the traffic was very slow with many tailbacks due to accidents and roadworks in different parts.  We finally arrived at Weston Park at 7pm but this was not the end of our journey, it took an hour to get into the grounds and onto the camping area ‘Home is Where You Park It’.

We found a dry bit of ground to put the tent, in fact the whole of the area ‘Home is Where You Park It’ was pretty well drained.  We had lost a tent pole in the wind at last week’s Volkspower and so I had arranged to pick one up from Lightening Leisure on arrival at the show.  So, first stop over to the traders area to find them.  The ground as we walked down to where the traders were located was extremely muddy and we were very grateful for the wellies had bought that morning!  We found lightening Leisure in a foot of mud, picked up our new pole and went to get our tent up.  Once it was up it was time for a wander round to see what there was on site.  The first part of the show we came to was a good sized fairground with waltzers, bumper cars, a crazy bull ride, ghost train and much more, this we would definitely be coming back to later!  Next there were the food traders and what a selection there was! – from the usual fish & chips and burger stands to Caribbean and vegetarian food, a cous cous stand and noodles amongst many others, spoilt for choice I think you’d say! In among this was a DJ in a campervan playing some great tunes – people were having a fantastic time here dancing away in the mud!

There were 2 very large marquees both with live bands – although The Beat who were supposed to be playing were unable to come due to adverse weather conditions (not as hardcore as us veedubbers I guess!).  We had a good look around bumped in to a few friends and had a really nice evening.  It was a real shame the The Beat couldn’t make it as many had been looking forward to seeing them, in fact a couple of our club members had only come to this show because they were playing.  However, Saturday night’s band 16 Stone Pig were absolutely fantastic, I think I can speak for pretty much everyone that was in that tent to see them when I say, we all had a fantastic time – they played some great covers and got us all dancing and jumping around – videos will be uploaded shortly to our YouTube ‘Classic Volks’.   Once they had finished we wandered over to where Druid’s Brew were playing from their split screen campervan – we sat there probably for about an hour, very chilled out acoustic music under a tree, there was a beautiful and relaxed atmosphere, I could have sat there and listened all night.  After this we were relaxed and ready for sleep.

Unfortunately on Saturday night the organisers had to make the very difficult decision to not allow any day visitors in on the Sunday – although it had only rained a couple of times during Saturday, the times it did it was very heavy rain and any more vehicles coming in could have made it more difficult to get people out at the end of the show.

We awoke to beautiful sunshine on Sunday morning!  So we decided the best course of action would be to have breakfast and then pack up the tent etc in case it decided to rain later.  Once packed up we drove down to the show area so that we could get out easily at the end of the show.

The show and shine time was brought forward to give people time to get off the site and get towed off if necessary, some areas were still extremely muddy and this was most like to be the only way they were going to get off.  Some of the traders and packed up and gone home before we even go down there – I think they were worried that if it rained again they may be stuck there until Monday – it had been mentioned at some point that this may have to happen, we weren’t sure if this was true of if it was just a rumour, but there were some that didn’t want to take the chance.

The show and shine was of a very high quality, some fantastic campers on show – both old and new, one of my favourites was definitely the split screen high top.  Rob Henley with his T5 won best in show (his dogs had also won places in the dog show!),  Rob Underwood (of VW Wedding Hire) and his split screen wedding campervan ‘Beryl’  also won a prize as did Rob Newman (of Dubtrips camper hire) with his recently restored split screen ‘Jeremy’ – both of these split screens were immaculate and were restored at Dubtricks of Harrogate, see accompanying photos!

The sunshine did stay all day on the Sunday and it was a beautiful hot day but still very muddy on the showground. We decided to leave after the show and shine to avoid the queues getting off the site as we knew our first stop was the nearest petrol station petrol station!

Despite the weather and the mud I have to say Camper Jam 2012 was a fantastic show and I think the majority of people there would agree that the organisers did a fantastic job keeping the show running and making it an absolutely fantastic weekend!  We are already looking forward to next Camper Jam 2013 and come rain or shine we will be there!

Picture Blog from VolksPower 2012

I have decided to just do a picture blog for this show, partly because I am so busy cleaning mud of everything and doing my usual day job (running Classic Volks & York Classic VWs) and getting ready for setting of to CamperJam 2012 on Friday.  Seems the working weeks are very short currently as I am at shows pretty much every weekend, so I spend Mondays cleaning all camping equipment (all shows so far have been wet and muddy), and then Fridays are spent packing up and getting ready to go, with a day in the middle somewhere to give Miss Betsy (my 1969 Beetle a bit of love ready for her next trip).  We took plenty of pictures so please enjoy.

Dubs in’t Dales 2012 – Organisers Perspective

By Kate McCarthy Bedward of Classic VWs & Louise Battey of Dubtricks
Dubs in't Dales Flyer

Dubs in’t Dales

Let me start by telling you where the idea for Dubs in’t Dales came from.  How we organised our first ever VW Show in just 3 months!

In January this year, Jez Dyke from Dubtricks (a VW restoration company based in Harrogate) attended the first ever CamperMart show in Telford. It was a great show and he came away feeling like he had made some useful contacts, in particular Neil and Gaby from Litesteer who were advertising their new PAS (Power Assisted Steering) system for campervans. Jez was impressed with how well engineered this new product was and as soon as he got back to work he tracked them down on Facebook and Twitter and kept in contact, knowing that it was a product that his customers would love. A couple of months later, Litesteer were recruiting official fitting centres for their power steering system and as soon as Jez spotted this on their website, he contacted Litesteer to see if he could get involved. Litesteer were very enthusiastic and supportive about this, and even suggested that they came up to Yorkshire to hold an open day at Dubtricks.

This is the point at which I got involved in the story. I was sitting quietly in my office one afternoon, minding my own business, (literally in fact, as I was working on my website for,  when I got a slightly panicked Facebook message from Jez. He said he needed to organise an open day at short notice and get as many local VW enthusiasts together as possible. His busy workshop was already stacked out with vehicles and with it being spring, it was lambing season on the farm where his workshop is based, which meant that the farmers would not tolerate a large VW gathering on the grounds. Knowing how active and enthusiastic my York club members are, he knew that we would get a good turnout for any event that we organised, so wondered if we could combine the open day with one of our club meets.

Of course I thought it was a great idea, any excuse for a VW gathering, and I knew my club members would think the same.  Over the next couple of weeks we talked about where to hold it – we were initially looking for a pub with a big enough car park to accommodate the York club members and lots of the Dubtricks customers.  We then thought that because it would be a bit further from York than my usual meetings, a venue with the option for over night camping might be preferable, so started scouting around for a campsite with a pub. Jez asked around local friends and businesses based close to Dubtricks to see if any of them could suggest a good venue, and eventually his friend James, whose family run the local village store, suggested that Nidderdale Showground in Pateley Bridge.

We had not even thought about hiring the showground, as it was far bigger than the sort of venues that we had been considering, but James said they were very supportive of local businesses, and would perhaps do us a good deal if they liked us. It sounded like a perfect location, a lovely flat showground in the middle of a dales village, with all the local shops, pubs and other amenities of Pateley Bridge close at hand, and surrounded by the picturesque rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales, so I drove over to Dubtricks and we met at the showground to very tentatively approached the farmer who owns it, taking James with us in the hope that a familiar local face would aid our cause. In actual fact, the showground owner appeared to like the idea of a car show, and before we knew what had happened, we had hired a showground for the weekend of the 9-10 June 2012. On the 10 minute drive through the Dales from Pateley Bridge back to Dubtricks, the slightly scary thought occurred to us that if we were hiring a showground and holding a VW event on it, we had essentially just signed up to organise our first VW show! Before we had even arrived back at Jez’s workshop, our nerves had turned to excitement, and the ideas started flowing. Within that 10 minute drive we had already come up with the name Dubs In the Dales, but Jez and James, both Yorkshire lads, laughingly said that it really had to be Dubs In’t Dales, and the name stuck!

With just over 2 months to the agreed date for the show, the pressure was really on, as if we were going to do this, we wanted to do it right. I set about doing the online advertising, building Facebook and twitter pages, and creating a forum presence for the show, whilst Jez and Lou at Dubtricks worked on designing logos, flyers and banners, organising the show and shine trophies and dealing with the council red tape. Litesteer, who were also very enthusiastic about the show idea, also helped with the publicity side of things, and James, who also plays guitar for local band Under the Gun, offered the band’s services for free and said that he would find us more bands to cover the whole of the Saturday night entertainment. In a constant stream of Facebook and twitter messages, we somehow managed to pull together all the separate elements of the show from our four different locations.

The last few nights were spent driving around the Yorkshire Dales finalising a route for the Saturday evening cruise, and then Jez recruited help from one of his customers, Mick Barker, to go out and put sign posts all the way from A1 to the showground; we didn’t want to leave anything to chance!

Finally we felt like we had done all the preparation we could, and between us all we had considered every possible eventuality and problem that could occur. The only potential pitfall that we could now envisage, and the one factor that we had absolutely no control over, was the weather. Depressingly for the week leading up to the show, we had seen nothing but rain, and despite obsessively watching the weather forecasts and hoping for some positive news, but it was all looking pretty gloomy with no suggestion of a significant improvement before the weekend. However on the Friday afternoon a slightly more optimistic forecast popped up on the BBC website and a brief brake in the clouds and a chink of sunshine across the Yorkshire Dales gave us a faint hope that the weather might just be kind to us!

Before we new it, the Friday night before the show was upon us and there was nothing more we could do!

My husband Kevin and I drove over to Pateley Bridge late on Friday evening so that we could be ready at the showground in plenty of time to set up and get organised on Saturday morning.  We set our tent up on the eerily empty showground at dusk and in a light drizzle of rain, and prayed that the weather would improve before morning.

Betsy the 1969 Beetle at Dubs in't Dales

Betsy the 1969 Beetle at Dubs in’t Dales

We then took the short walk into the town of Pateley Bridge where we met up with Jez and Lou from Dubtricks and Neil and Gaby from Litesteer for one final pre-show pint and to run through of the following mornings events. The nerves and excitement were apparent as we quickly ran through everything we needed to do the next day. Our biggest hope was that 48 hours on from this moment we would be gathered together again in the same pub toasting the success of our first ever show and knowing that after all the hard work of the last few months, we had actually done it! With that thought in our minds, we all returned to our beds for a good nights sleep.

On Saturday morning I awoke very excited at around 6:30am and peeked outside the tent to see the glorious sight of a clear sky and bright sunshine! I cooked some bacon and eggs on toast to make sure we’d had a decent breakfast, as I had no idea when we would get chance to eat again that day.  At just 7:15am the first of the traders called to say they had already arrived, so we broke off breakfast to get them set up and were thankful that we had camped the night on the showground if traders were going to arrive as early as this.

Jez and Lou and the Dubtricks team then arrived to start putting up event shelters and banners, closely followed by Litesteer and then a steady stream of traders.

Litesteer setting up at Dubs in't Dales

Litesteer setting up at Dubs in’t Dales

Although we had said that the gates opened at noon, people started to arrive at around 10:30, obviously wanting to get a good camping spot, and since most of the traders were already set up, we decided to let them come in early.

Unfortunately the bright sunshine I had woken up to that morning didn’t last all day, and the weather was very on and off throughout the duration of Saturday, a proper mix of sunshine and showers, but to our immense relief there was no heavy rain. When the sun came out it was actually very warm and the grass started to dry out a little.

At 5:30pm we had 35 VWs lined up ready to go on our Dales Cruise, an 18km drive around the beautiful local scenery. The turnout for the cruise was much bigger than we had anticipated (possibly thanks to some enthusiastic rounding-up by Dubtricks customer Jake ‘Sooty’ Shuttleworth!) Unfortunately the weather had taken a turn for the worse again and it was very misty across the hilltops, meaning visibility wasn’t particularly good, and the stunning views we had planned all went unseen!  The clouds did make for some fantastic dubs-in-the-mist photos though, so not all was lost. After a photo stop at Coldstone Cut, an old quarry on top nearby Greenhow Hill, the convoy returned via a last pit stop off at The Bridge Inn, and we were extremely pleased to hear that everyone had enjoyed it, despite the weather!

Some of the Show n Shine entrants

Some of the Show n Shine entrants

The last of the convoy arrived back at the showground at 7pm, just in time for the fantastic music line up – all up-and-coming local bands and all excellent! By this time our bar had also arrived, kindly provided by the Yorkshire Based Black Sheep Brewery, so we were all set up for the night’s entertainment. The evening went exceptionally well, with everyone drinking, dancing and singing along; the atmosphere was lovely.  Rob Newman of Dubtricks was roped into announcing the bands and was enjoying being on stage and warming up the crowds so much, that at one point we feared we would not be able to get the microphone back off him!  A good night was had by all with many people coming up to us saying what a fantastic time they were having, and asking if we would be doing it again next year. We went to bed happy in the knowledge that Day One had been a success, now we just had to get through Day Two!

We awoke nice and early again on the Sunday and grabbed a bacon and egg butty from our food trader who had been up cooking bacon since 7am! The night had passed by very peacefully with all going quiet at around 2:30am and no disturbances from any of the campers – we were very impressed!  Sunday was the big day and we had no idea just how fantastic it was going to be!

We told people to have their dubs polished and in the Show & Shine area by midday, but some were so keen that they were parked up and ready before 10am! A steady stream of day visitors flowed through the gates all day, and the show and shine field quickly filled up. As you can see from the pictures we had the campervans lined up on one side, then Beetles along the top end and then water-cooled along the other side.  We were astounded by not only the turnout but also by the quality of the vehicles that had entered and we had a feeling that the fabulous turnout might be in part due to the generous prizes offered by Show & Shine sponsors, Swissvax UK.  I knew at this point how pleased I was not to be involved in the judging – it would have been far too difficult! Luckily we had already decided that it would be inappropriate for myself or anyone from Dubtricks to be involved in the judging as we wanted our own customers and club members to be able to enter, so for judges we recruited Stuart and Myles from Swissvax UK, who were judging on the quality of paintwork and detailing and also Elderspook from Airkooled Kustoms, all the way across the pond in the USA – who was judging via the internet. This added an extra element of work for Kevin and I because we were busy posting photos of each vehicle from all different angles and answering questions posed by Eric (AKA ElderSpook) about the vehicles and owners and what work had been done on each.  Between Swissvax UK and Airkooled Kustoms the winners were finally decided, although it was a very tough decision.

More from the show n shine at Dubs in't Dales


The sun shone on Sunday, and the chilled out, happy atmosphere was added to when my husband Kevin Bedward came up with the idea of setting up a PA system with music and announcements throughout the day about what was happening and what the traders were doing. His laid back Jamaican accent was perfect for the job and I think Kevin is now thinking of a career change having been bombarded by compliments on his microphone voice – so, listen out for Kevin Bedward DJ coming to a radio station near you soon!

At 3pm, just as some dark clouds were starting to gather over the showground, we announced the very happy show and shine winners, who each received a lovely Dubs in’t Dales glass trophy and some fantastic car cleaning products from the excellent Swissvax UK!

By 4pm the showground was almost empty and it was time to clear up. The members of York Classic VWs were very kind and stayed behind to help us collect all the rubbish bags together from the camping area, whilst Dubtricks customers helped to tidy the show area. I have to say however, how impressed I was with the tidiness of our campers, who all left their rubbish neatly tied up in bin bags. I would like to say not only a massive thank your to my club members and Dubtricks customers for helping but also to all those who camped for being so tidy and respectful of the showground!

York Classic VWs Owners club watercooled runner up

One of our club members won a trophy for one of the best watercooled!

As we put away the last of the rubbish bags, the rain started with a vengeance, but for the first time in many weeks, we could not have cared less what the weather did! The show had been a success and everyone was safely and happily driving home. The weather could now do whatever it liked!

Tidying done, Kevin and I returned to the pub in Pateley Bridge with Jez and Lou of Dubtricks and Neil and Gaby of Litesteer for that post-show drink we had promised ourselves. Exhausted but happy, we all agreed that the show had been a resounding success. ‘We did it!’ was the first toast we raised…closely followed by ‘Here’s to Dubs In’t Dales 2013!’

After so much positive feedback and so many requests over the course of the weekend, there was no doubt in our minds that we would do it again next year. We started planning there and then, but we knew that with a whole year to plan and advertise, that our next show would be much bigger and better!

I would like to again say a massive thank you to all who came – both traders, campers and day visitor – we have had some amazing feedback from people and we are so glad you all had such a great time! We look forward to seeing you all again at Dubs In’t Dales 2013.