How to survive 'The Search'?!

Discussion in 'Buying a VW Camper' started by Motspur Hotspur, May 20, 2015.

  1. I looked for 10 minutes on the internet.
    The one before took about 2 evenings on ebay.
    It helps if you expect to have to do some mending, you can't really complain then when you have to mend it. :thumbsup:
    These are no longer fun hippy wrecks, the wrecks are past legal useability and waiting for restoration.
    You need a lot of money to buy a good one for what they are, or get lucky.
    Lord Congi and Motspur Hotspur like this.
  2. redoxide

    redoxide Guest

    how much are you looking to spend and what are your expectations... ? It looks like anything under £8k will need work anything from 8 to 12 will look OK but might be hiding some nasties, 12 to 15 fairly solid but no gaurantees, 15 to 18 pretty clean and very useable, might still have original paint and interiors and be in well kept condition and 18 to 30, pretty looking vans that have been restored but the owner can no longer afford to put fuel in it and found that after the restoration bills the joy of camper vans has lost its luster after less than 500 miles....

    Thats not sceintific but its how I see it having shown an interest for the last few years ..

    good UK RHD vans are still available amount of work required depends on your budget.. :)
    Lord Congi, The Bruce and geordieandy like this.
  3. I looked at various buses, most of which seemed to be RHD rotters that had changed hands several times within the last few years but each owner had thrown thousands at issues they had uncovered before giving up and adding their bills of woe to the extensive service history!

    I then bought a LHD USA import with original Westy interior from @taypic as a good solid base and 8 months later it's almost ready for our first family trip away after a full mechanical overhaul and respray. I have ended up spending a few k more than I wanted (and what the Mrs had agreed to :thinking:) but everything that needed to be done has now been done and hopefully it will serve us well for the next 10+ years with minimal ongoing maintenance :p. Driving a LHD bus is fine for me apart from the odd toll booth, drive through issue if on my own but my advice would be to get a solid as possible bus that 'only' needs mech / cosmetic work that you can see and budget for. Good luck!
    Lord Congi and zed like this.
  4. I make you spot on with this and is certainly the conclusion I'm coming to. Going to sit down with lady hotspur and discuss the pros and cons and see where we stand.

    Thanks guys.
  5. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    What's your budget?
    Lots of people have unrealistic expectations and resort to calling stuff "over-priced".
    The fact is, for whatever reason, these things are hugely popular, and are worth a fair few quid.
    I've noticed a lot recently that "over-priced" often means "can't afford".
    I don't call Porsche 356's over-priced but I'll never own one!
    Moons, Faust, Fil6 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Nope your absolutely right and I myself have fallen into the 'overpriced' complaining trap but then I have to remind myself that it's market forces and that's the way it is. Could I afford it? Probably not but then I've been saying that for 10 years and if I'd have bought one then I could have had it on the road by now even paying back a loan at small money per month.

    It's not easy to hear but you've all hit on things that are bang on so I'm grateful for that (if not overjoyed!). The search will continue though as this is definitely something I want.
  7. It may be market forces, but if you want to get one of these vehicles into really nice condition, it will cost a LOT of money, so a good 'overpriced' van could actually be value for money if it does everything you want without you having to spend money on it.

    If you're fussy about rust, get an import.
    Baysearcher likes this.
  8. Good buses do turn up for good money from time to time, but you won't find them on the internet. A customer of mine paid about £12K within the last year for a RHD Dormobile (I think) that had belonged to some posh lady who had it from new. Every year drove it to the south of France for the summer then back and garaged it the rest of the time, then 10-15 years ago stopped doing even that. It had every little bit of rubber on every cable, all original in good order. I have never seen such a good bus. No rust anywhere.
  9. You wish...:p

    I still think you can drive a cheap resto everywhere, but the owner has to have ability in the mechanical departement ...

    A LOT of new bus owners have no clue ,of course they can get the AA to come and fix it or send it down the garage ,but imagine you had the knowledge to fix and pre empt everything going wrong quickly..

    I do believe the T25 is the way forwards ,if you are not blessed with mechanical skills ,just to practice on...;)
    matty likes this.
  10. @lost-en-france I did use the :p after that comment as I realise I will need to do ongoing maintenance, more so than a newer car but my point was that I have bitten the bullet (more like a nuke!) and redone everything now in the hope it will be longer till I have to embark on such a resto!

    Not sure I would be prepared to do the same for a T25 mind :confused:
  11. I used to get my buses up to the point you have and found I got 4-5 years mechanically without doing anything much, then I'd have a year of fixing one thing after another, then another 4-5 years of plain sailing. Then the bodywork would need attention and so it goes...
  12. That would do ok for me @zed :)

    As I say I think starting with anything that needs chassis and / or lots of body welding at some prices I have seen 'projects' going for it's a false economy in terms of both money but more importantly to me time and stress as even with my solid base it's taken 8 months of stress to get it to this point and several credit card related conversations with my wife :rolleyes:
  13. You weren't wrong - my in box has lit up! Thanks to all who have contacted me but as I said I'm going to take some time off and really think about this and the spec I want. Good news is I've got a week off coming so plenty of mulling time to be had - I quite fancy an ear of corn out of the mouth - what do you think?
  14. It depends how nice you want to have it. I paid 5.5k for ours (which was after a bit of haggle) and have spent approx another 1k on stuff (panels/paint/tools etc)Did the labour myself otherwise it could have been thousands. Tidied everything up after the welding with rattle cans as I refuse to get a respray. Nothing would annoy me more than blebs and rust coming through an expensive paintjob. There is still filler that I couldnt do anything about without spending loads more.
    Altho it looks nice from a distance I can still fault it.
  15. Bought one yet? stop procrastinating, book a welding course and get it done! :p
  16. There's no hurry, you're just buying into a new world of pain. You may be better paying to get spanked.
  17. Sometimes it just happens, it did with ours when I had no money I looked and looked, started saving contacted a local dubber and there was Ollie, to be honest yes he has cost me a couple of grand in repairs over the last two years but he was reasonably cheap to start with. met a chap today who spent 13k plus on a really nice looking bus ....till the first MOT ...then that cost him a fortune. Sometimes there will be some heartbreak ..not always ..we all fall in and out of bus love ...chance it , things can always be changed ..just take someone with knowledge and /or a guide. This a difficult time of year to be looking for your partner ...I am a 'Mrs as such' and I converted the husband he now watches movies just because there is a Classic VW in it in fact worse ;)
  18. Thanks everyone, firmly nestled in the Yorkshire Dales at the moment and have seen a few Bays around including one poor sod going southbound down the M1 on a low loader! Good fun camper spotting and boring the missus with this roof type and that model type!

    Haven't had a chance to speak with any owners yet but the minute I do I'm gonna be right in there with questions! ;)
  19. If there's one thing bus owners love doing it's talking about their bus. Before buying ours we went to a few shows and spoke to a number of owners and found it really informative and helpful. It really helped open our eyes to the everyday realities of owning a bus. Also, if anything, it confirmed to us we were doing the right thing by buying one:)
    scrooge95 likes this.
  20. Moons

    Moons Moderator

    Buy the very best you can find for your budget...with RHD sliding doors at the £600 mark, unless you love meddling and not using it, the less work the better.

    Even the people with the skill to turn out a really good resto still need space, time and conviction and the dream can quickly sour. One that's good from the off is better I think.

    I agree that sometimes a peach will come up but you have more chance of a solid bus with an import.

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