Discussion in 'Buying a VW Camper' started by idris, Sep 15, 2014.
£3k solid bus.
You can't guarantee a newish car will sail through several mots, let alone a 40 yr old one and it's unrealistic to expect it to do so.
If you paid someone to get a van to a condition that was as near as possible to your criteria, the quotes around 40K would be much closer than around 10-15K.
I have done alright buying cheap buses doing them up and selling them ,in fact my own buses have cost me peanuts ,my westy was £300 and sold it for 3.5 k ,i bought a bus over here for 2k spent another 1k and sold it for 7k ,I do think the T25 that I bought for 6k is a free bus ,that is why i do not care about it...
If you can do them yourself within a timescale you can make a lot of money...
I've only just joined the forum and I've started a bun fight (or three) already.
Fascinating reading though.
How much time did you spend on them
I can't answer the question as to exactly how much but think of a number and double it. I bought an import four years ago, but since then I have had it resprayed, retrimmed, engine bay tidied up, etc, etc, etc and I think I'll never see much of that money back, in fact I hate to think how much money I have pumped into, fine when I was on a regular wage but two years of lower income as self employed means less nowadays . I hadn't planned to do much work but having been l;et down on more than one occasional by a number of people I now try to find time to do so, that means the bus remains off the road, usually at the most inconvenient times like during the summer. If you want to be a "bay owner" then buy one, if you want to go camping buy something newer. Sometimes I wonder why we keep it. Next on the list is to do something about the interior, we have a LHD westfalia with a wardrobe that creates a massive blind spot, nearly wiped out a car, that's got to go so I can at least look through that starboard quarter window. and hopefully avoid having a major wipe out!
Being aircooled and Classic my whole life (my cars not me!) I know what you are asking but honestly if you imagine owning an old Classic Alfa or MG Midget from the 70's what are the main issues ?
They rust badly - so even if you do a nut and bolt resto they will still continue to rust? Even if you get them dipped (and busses are pretty big things!) you will still get rust.
Mechanically the Alfa, midget and Bus are simple but due to age, previous owners and wear they are likely to fail at some point? Ironically the aircooled engines are pretty tough its people not servicing them regularly plus crap repro parts of course.
Anyway going off at tangerines here! If you have gone through the classic pain before but dont want the faff or metal work then honestly dont buy a Split, Bay, T25 - get a T4 instead, or a Bongo or a Renault or something newer. You will constantly chase the rust . The only cost effective way to own a Bay is like me do it all yourself, yes it takes up your time , weekends, family life but its the only cost effective way. But you dont want to go back to that then its a simple answer ,sorry but dont buy a classic bus. (just my opinion please dont shoot me down)
A week each...
I'm well aware of that, but IMHO a properly restored vehicle should get through at least 5 MOTs without failing for rust. Even Dagenham steel was never that bad.
Haha Dagenham steel class !
Come on accept it you need to do it yourself, once a classic bod always a classic bod! The rust must be thinning out of your blood, you need to rebuild your iron levels! ;-)
Had mine 4 years, it was a tarted up fresh paint special, been super reliable but cylinder head popped this year, whilst on ramps last few months, front wheel arches have disolved (cheap sh## repro panels! ) i have the genuine VW ones sitting waiting for me! Quality is superb.
Get one like mine , generally solid but needs some love here and there, much cheaper than a fully restored job?
I agree 100% I'm part way through my resto now, if it can't get through 5mots without failing on corrosion then in my eyes I haven't done it properly!
The problem is what some people class as restoration other people see as a quick fix, for instance I recently chopped off the rear arch for replacement, I could have had the new arch on and looking solid within a couple of hours. This would have meant covering up the rusty inner arch tub and bodging it to the rusty return edge on the rear corner. But instead I will spend many tedious hours completely repairing the tub and rear corner edge, prepping them and painting as much as is humanly possible before putting the new arch over the top.
This is where cost comes in if you are paying somebody to do it, one way will cost significantly more than the other but both will look the same for a couple of years, then the cheaper quicker job will no doubt be rusty again!
How long it will last also depends on how bad it was to begin with. With a bad one, unless you replace every part of the shell you will be leaving rust somewhere.
I agree if you can chop it all out your bus will last 10 years, like they did when they were new. VW had the advantage of starting with rust free steel and then dipping them in paint. I've seen one of mine come back 3 1/2 years after having new front panel and arches and all repairs around and it looks like it was just done. No rust streaks sneaking out of little holes etc etc. No sign of rust at all.
Great post. The problems start because people assume that £10K, being a lot of money, will buy the expensive resto. You might hit lucky and find someone like I used to be, mugging himself by doing it properly for a cheap job price. Ask any restorer how many "free" weeks of work they end up doing. You find some extra rust and take it on the chin, then some more and likewise, then more and more and more. You'd look a c@nt if you phoned the customer and asked for another £2-3K or whatever so you take it on the chin. This is why I don't do complete resto's anymore unless I feel exceptionally sorry for someone who has clearly been shafted.
Maybe I should rephrase my question. ;-)
If you bought a bus for £5k, how much would you realistically expect to have to pay a professional, charging "the going rate", to fix all the rust and mechanicals? And could you reasonably expect to pay them £5k less if you bought a £10k bus to start with?
I think we are all trying to say the same thing but in different ways but we mean well I promise. They all rust, even after a so-called Proper resto - i.e all known rust removed , replaced with new good quality steel and coated in best quality products by someone who 'cares' and knows this sort of work.
As Zed mentioned depending what you start with ? If your starting bus is bad your restore costs will be high? If its excellent then you may be lucky and pay minimal for restores but as you know buy the best you can afford to start with. Its not possible to give even a rough figure as the variables are so wildly diffenent? Go on VW Heritage site and add up the cost of body panels to give you an idea of parts cost then add labour? Which of course is different based on where you go?
As has been said before, it all depends what sort of standard you're after when it's finished. You could buy a 10k bus that looks ok on the outside with a fresh paint job but could be full of filler underneath. I wouldn't want to guess at the difference in price of restoring a 10k and 5k bus as the more expensive one could have been tarted up and be in a worse condition than the cheaper one.
Alternatively, you could buy a dry state import for a fraction of the cost and it could be rock solid. Not all busses are full of rust and need a complete resto, if you want something that's a little rough around the edges (original paint and a bit of patina), but usable and you don't mind LHD? Then this might be a better option. Speak to some of the well established importers on hear and get a feel for what's about. You'll also get more for your money between now and spring, it's a good time to buy.
And finally, if you're not prepared to get your hands a little dirty and do some of the work yourself I wouldn't bother buying one at all. As buy doing work yourself will keep the labour costs down.
Good luck with finding the camper that's right for you.
If you bought a bus for £5k, how much would you realistically expect to have to pay a professional, charging "the going rate", to fix all the rust and mechanicals?
I'd hazard a guess at around £15,000 but depends upon how you want it finished, what engine it came with Type 1 or 4, whether pop or tin top, how lucky you were with condition on purchase.
And could you reasonably expect to pay them £5k less if you bought a £10k bus to start with
Hopefully but probably not because these buses hide a multitude of sins that don't show themselves until work has started.
What I can guarantee is someone will be along in a minute to shoot down my view on the figures
Yeah, Im going for the same thing myself.
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