attracted a VW bus buddy on this mornings cold start

change is inevitable… change is constant

Funny how sometimes you can look back on a year and think you’ve not done a lot. As 2016 morphed into 2017, I was beginning to think exactly that. It was only when I started to put a small nine (3×3) image montage together for my Instagram #topnine2016 post that I realised this was not really the case!

2016 had been a mix of on and off-road (no, not of the ‘dirt don’t hurt’ kind of off-roading!) adventures. Having already spent a fair amount of time and effort getting the bus to a basic level of ‘usability’ for us, we finally managed to get in a couple of camping road trips. Being able to take spur of the minute trips away was always part of our vision for owning the VW camper. We were genuinely ‘living our dream’ at last!

Lulworth cove, not a bad view whilst having a spot of lunch
Lulworth cove, not a bad view whilst having a spot of lunch

We managed to get a weekend away in the New Forest in Dorset to see the amazing Lulworth cove on the Jurassic Coast. It’s a place we had been wanting to see for a number of years, and it really did not disappoint, such a stunningly beautiful part of the country.

a simple dream come true, tea on the banks of Loch Lubnaig
a simple dream come true, tea on the banks of Loch Lubnaig

Quite literally from one end of the country to the other, we also managed a longer break, a 1200+mile road trip up to Scotland and back. The longest we had both been away together in the bus, and our first real ‘holiday’ away for years! Has to be one of the highlights with some very special memories made!

seems a shame to hide the Fellows Speed Shop Billet hubs
seems a shame to hide the Fellows Speed Shop Billet hubs

Then there was the time off-road. Time spent at Resto Classics as part of project ‘winterisation’ to help provide some longer term protection for the bus. Also managed to get some upgrades fitted, including the awesome wide five fitment Fellows Speed Shop disc brake kit with the Wilwood 4 pot calipers and vented Porsche 944 discs. They make such a difference to the braking performance and give extra confidence in the whole driving experience! 🙂

time to get busy cleaning up the underside of the bus…
time to get busy cleaning up the underside of the bus…

Although my bus is no show Queen, I wanted to ensure that the solid originality of the bus is both maintained and protected against the UK weather. Part of this involved getting down and dirty and removing the surface rust from the underside. It was super solid and original and I wanted to make sure it stayed in good shape in the future.

great to see how well the original German metal cleans up!
great to see how well the original German metal cleans up!

So, the whole underside got cleaned right back before getting painted with a protective coat of Epoxy Mastic 121 paint. First up a pretty cool looking coat of Aluminium coloured Epoxy Mastic 121 – I was pretty tempted to keep it like this, but…

the aluminium coloured Epoxy Mastic transforms the underside of the bus
the aluminium coloured Epoxy Mastic transforms the underside of the bus

…for good measure, I gave it a second and final coat of red coloured Epoxy Mastic 121. Hopefully this should protect the underneath structure of the bus for a good few more years to come! 🙂

the undersides transformation with second and final coat of the red oxide coloured Epoxy Mastic 121
the undersides transformation with second and final coat of the red oxide coloured Epoxy Mastic 121

Amazing to see how clean and solid the underneath came up, shame no-one will ever really see it!

custom power assisted steering rack conversion so neat it looks like factory spec
custom power assisted steering rack conversion so neat it looks like factory spec

Another major transformation, was the custom power assisted steering rack conversion that Resto Classics fitted for me. The steering is just so light and precise now! 🙂 From the bottom to the top, project winterisation did not stop! Next it moved up to the roof and gutters of the split screen bus…

cracks in an old roof dent repair are in need of looking at again
cracks in an old roof dent repair are in need of looking at again

Previous old repair areas from a slight dent on the roof, got stripped back, cleaned up, bare metalled and all made good again.

lovely straight roof top gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection
lovely straight roof top gutters, but in need of cleaning up and future protection

The solid, but missing paint and surface rusty gutters were cleaned up…

getting there… straight, true and rust free
getting there… straight, true and rust free

…stripped back, treated with rust protection, sealed and then painted for long-term protection.

flattening back the new paint revealing the areas of previously exposed original under paint
flattening back the new paint revealing the areas of previously exposed original under paint

Then the roof repairs were painted and colour faded to try to blend in with the original areas of burnt through L53 Sealing Wax Red. This should help protect the gutters from the elements and hopefully I’ve maintained a lot of its original character that I love so much!

beautiful Barndoor bus with Westfalia Mosaik interior… simply stunning!
beautiful Barndoor bus with Westfalia Mosaik interior… simply stunning!

This year I even managed to get along to the SSVC Brighton Breeze show for some bus shaped inspiration at the end of the year. Great day out and just up the coast from me – this year I’ll be aiming to get my bus there to add to the event!

wunderbar – gallery quality Giclée print in a range of sizes
wunderbar – gallery quality Giclée print in a range of sizes

I also managed to get a few of my art quality Giclée illustrations prints onto Society 6 along with some tshirt/hoodie designs etc. so all in all 2016 has been a fairly busy and varied year.

attracted a VW bus buddy on this mornings cold start
attracted a VW bus buddy on this mornings cold start

If you’ve been one of the people who have been following the ongoing vdubxs adventures, I’d like to say a big thanks to you! Hope you enjoyed the ride so far? Feel free to subscribe or share the blog with your friends or media feeds! 🙂

I wonder what 2017 has to bring, hopefully you’ll continue to come along for the ride…

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