UK Supplied Barndoors...

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Rich Oakley
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UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by Rich Oakley » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:29 pm

I don't recall there ever being a thread on this subject, so I thought I'd start one.

I'm a bit of a buffer (you know the type; pipe, slippers, mug of cocoa), and one subject that really intrigues me is the early days of VW Motors Ltd. (GB). The subject has been so poorly documented and finding information on it is very difficult.

The company Volkswagen Motors Ltd. was founded in London in January 1953 and the first 'official' VWs arrived in London in June 1953. (Before the founding of VW Motors, 3 RHD Beetles had been ordered for UK delivery in 1952- one of these still survives today). A total of 945 VWs were delivered to VW Motors in 1953. 944 of these were RHD Beetles, only 1 was a RHD Type 2. The factory was not yet tooled-up for the volume production of RHD buses, but they could be manufactured to order. Here’s an original VW Motors price list from September ’53…
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Buses weren’t officially available to the British public.

For the UK, that all changed some time around April 1954 when Buses were added to the UK pricelist…
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…and in 1954, VW Motors UK sold 786 Type2s.

For 1955, I don’t know the exact figures for UK RHD Barndoor sales, but it’s in the region of 300.

Therefore, in total approx. 1100 RHD Barndoors were sold in the UK.

So this brings me to the questions. How much remaining information is there out there of UK supplied RHD Barndoors? Over the years, I’ve seen very few photos, stories etc, but I’ll list all the evidence I can think of below.

The survivors:

AVX. Ex-Chris Clarke. Now lives in Czech Republic.
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KAV. Ex-SteveGooge, now Grant’s bus…
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OLL. Deano’s DD.
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OSL. Ex-Chris Clarke. Now lives in California.
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KSA. Currently languishing in Hampshire.
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MN. Kenny's van that he's owned since 1the early 70s!
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MBC989. Alex's Kombi in Hants...
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That’s about all the survivors that spring to mind at the moment.

So what about photographic proof of vans that did exist. Here’s about all I can find…

HTL831 in Blackpool ('54 Dlx)...
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Pic from Mike.

KBLXXX in N.London ('54 Dlx)...
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KBL245 in N.London ('54 Micro)...
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GRS79 in Scotland ('54 Panel)...
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Pic from Jules Hunt.

XXXXXX in Ladywood, Birmingham 1957 ('54 Dlx)...
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There was also a couple of family camping pics taken in the early 60s featuring a 5-digit plate RHD ’54 (CPV 71)...
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OYS 127 BD RHD Ambulance first registered in Aug 55. Possibly a UK original RHD 'special order' bus. First registered Aug '55...
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Also, two engine lids exist with original UK registrations on them... KRD 860 (1955) and PXF 630 (1954).

Is there any more ‘evidence’ out there??
Last edited by Rich Oakley on Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:07 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by A67 MAN » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:32 pm

I had it down to six survivors Rich....I have heard of another not on your list oh heres the other you "forgot" about :wink: :lol:

http://www.ssvc.ukshells.co.uk/phpbb/vi ... hilit=bdkk
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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by Rich Oakley » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:50 pm

A67 MAN wrote:I had it down to six survivors Rich....I have heard of another not on your list oh heres the other you "forgot" about :wink: :lol:

http://www.ssvc.ukshells.co.uk/phpbb/vi ... hilit=bdkk
Ahh yes Ian, the one I forgot about. I remember now :lol: I'll add it to above now.

Any info on the other one you've heard about?

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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by kevsplitty » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:56 pm

Only know of the bugs rich :wink: Not had a reply back yet from our German friend in ireland,but im gonna try again :wink:
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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by grant » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:59 pm

Interesting thread,i will post history up from the dealership :lol:

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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by Rich Oakley » Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:31 pm

kevsplitty wrote:Only know of the bugs rich :wink: Not had a reply back yet from our German friend in ireland,but im gonna try again :wink:
Kev,

I should be driving past his factory in a few weeks. Was planning to knock on the door and will mention your interest if I get to speak to him.

Rich.

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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by kevsplitty » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:00 pm

Rich Oakley wrote:
kevsplitty wrote:Only know of the bugs rich :wink: Not had a reply back yet from our German friend in ireland,but im gonna try again :wink:
Kev,

I should be driving past his factory in a few weeks. Was planning to knock on the door and will mention your interest if I get to speak to him.

Rich.
Yes please do rich,would like to take my dad over there,good luck :wink:
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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by Rich Oakley » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:17 pm

grant wrote:Interesting thread,i will post history up from the dealership :lol:
Please do Grant. I had intended to ask Steve more about the history of the bus whenever I saw him, but never did.

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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by RockStock » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:13 pm

cool thread Rich
i can't think of any others, bar the LHD London/Big Ben Deluxe...
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=342336
Image
no known original UK BD DLX survivors...could there be one lurking in an outbuilding somewhere?

UK, behind on the car style front in the 50s, late in on the VW thing (compared to Scandinavia etc). just why particularly was that? all down to the rhd issue?
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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by RockStock » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:36 pm

i also seem to remember Sweet Rides(?) a few years ago saying he was told of a UK BD DLX that weeks before had been scrapped...& that some old pictures of it existed...
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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by Rich Oakley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:58 pm

RockStock wrote:UK, behind on the car style front in the 50s, late in on the VW thing (compared to Scandinavia etc). just why particularly was that? all down to the rhd issue?
Three main reasons...

1) Massive anti-German sentiment just eight years after WWII. In 1953 when the first batches of Beetles arrived in Harwich, for the first few months they were parked up over-night in local railway yards. 75% of these cars got vandalised here due to anti-German feelings, some of them quite badly and had to be repaired before sale. VW had to rent secure storage for them shortly after.

2) There were servere import restrictions in place on vehicles in the UK. Until 1952 when these restrictions were relaxed, very few imported cars had entered the country. The UK motor manufacturing industry was strong and could fulfil domestic demand for small cars as well as supplying a large proportion of its cars to foreign markets, hence earning much needed ££.

3) It was always going to be a difficult challenge to sell a new 'brand' of non-British small car to a nation that specialised in manufacturing small cars and already offered a wide choice in this market.

The complications of creating enough demand for 'RHD' versions also complicated things.


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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by Rich Oakley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:45 pm

RockStock wrote:i also seem to remember Sweet Rides(?) a few years ago saying he was told of a UK BD DLX that weeks before had been scrapped...& that some old pictures of it existed...
You know what?!...That has bought back some memories from about twenty years ago. I've seen pics too. I'll have to do some searching! I think the pics were taken in 1991.


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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by David Eccles » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:15 pm

add CPV 71 54/5 Kombi
pics in Campervan Crazy p42...feel free to scan and post up!
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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by lowdown dirty rat » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:40 pm

What about the green patina 54 Burmese bus. It was first registered In the uk before export out to Burma. Maybe that's what happened to alot of the uk buses? Sent out to our colonial countries?
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Re: UK Supplied Barndoors...

Post by A67 MAN » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:55 pm

Rich Oakley wrote:
A67 MAN wrote:I had it down to six survivors Rich....I have heard of another not on your list oh heres the other you "forgot" about :wink: :lol:

http://www.ssvc.ukshells.co.uk/phpbb/vi ... hilit=bdkk
Ahh yes Ian, the one I forgot about. I remember now :lol: I'll add it to above now.

Any info on the other one you've heard about?
My six did not include the pick up.....it's a project down on the south coast...all the best ones are up north :D

Kenny's owned his since 1967 and is now used daily 8O with one previous Japanese owner Mr S .... who chose a panel van and converted it on purchase to a camper with the windows seen it the picture (Kenny has now reinstalled the original blue leather camping interior 8) ) the main two reasons two for this being the windows in the kombi were too big (he was a small chap :wink: ) and the panel van was cheaper (price not shown on you list ) van originally supplied by VW dealers in Lytham Lancs
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