So Myfanwy, means my love in Welsh! I am 54 now and all my life I wanted a classic VW Campervan. When 50 was fast approaching I figured if I didn't get one now it would be to late. When I started looking I could see two problems, one a roadworthy van in good condition was too expensive but also a few "restored" vans I looked at had as much newspaper as mild steel in them so didn't fancy spending hard earned cash on a pig in a poke as it where! I therefore decided to have a go at restoring one myself, how hard can it be? I had a basic mechanical knowledge, a garage to work in and Sunday's free so off I went! Like most newbies my first mistake was to get all romantic and buy the first van I liked and could afford! Without actually talking to anybody first about what I was buying. I was 18 months into my resto before a latebayer mentioned that what I was in fact restoring was a dreaded panel van not a camper! I will just clarify that there is nothing wrong with panel vans when they are panel vans but panel vans converted to camper vans can be frowned upon in some quarters! Anyway first lesson, before you buy anything join this forum and listen!! You will get great advice and ultimately get more bang for your buck and unlike me know what you are doing before you start! So off I trot down to Lansing near Brighton to pick up a bus I haven't actually looked at, I knew it was in pretty bad shape though so there where no surprises! I actually drove her onto the trailer and proceeded to head back up North. Never actually having ever done a restoration before I bought a few books and formulated a plan, Bodywork first including structural pieces like chassis etc. Passenger side first as sliding door and runner would be a faf so get it out the way first! Rear end, drivers side, front then the roof, swiftly followed by the engine, suspension steering and finally brakes. Get the paint on, front seats in, MOT. Then finally start to rebuild the inside to my taste. Initially I gave myself 6 months to do the bodywork...... Thank god I didn't tell anybody else that part of my plan! I hadn't finished the passenger side within 6 months! The most important part of any project as we all know is preparation, getting the little things right then that way you only have to do it once. Trouble is it takes a long time........ Still absolutely essential though. I knew I wanted the van to look pretty much original on the outside and if I had known, I wouldn't have bought a panel van conversion, simply because the windows are a right faf to keep watertight! That aside I actually prefer my panel van conversion as my windows are bigger and subsequently let more light in which was important to me. Anyway because I wanted to return it to its former glory on the outside I didn't have to put too much thought into how I was going to restore it, I simply started by ripping everything out back to metal on the inside, all glass out, up on stands, wheels off and started to identify what needed to be replaced or repaired. So front wheel arch, including step, B pillar, inner and outer, inner wheel arch, bulkhead, parts of the floor, front and rear chassis legs, top hats, inner sill, middle sill, outer sill. Bottom half of the sliding door, inner and outer skin! C pillar, rear wheel arch outer and inner and rear quarter! The good news was that the chassis running front to back on both sides was in good condition! This is essential because as long as the two main chassis legs running fore to aft have good integrity then the chances of your bus twisting out of shape are minimal. Cab door was also good. Had a look at repo and genuine replacement panels and the difference is astonishing! The repo ones are about half the thickness and just for good measure dont fit!! Even though they are much cheaper, do not be tempted to buy repo panels, it is false economy and even if you manage to get them attached, the chances are they wont look as good and they certainly wont last as long and you will have to make sure nobody leans on your van as they will bend!!