63 RHD Devon Caravette

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monkey knuts
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63 RHD Devon Caravette

Post by monkey knuts » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:53 pm

1991
The journey begins....

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Ok; so this was shortly after I bought 103 JUY in... 1991 I think.
I bought her from the son of the original owner, so she had just been in the one family since new. She had about 84000 miles on, but I believe the majority of these were clocked up on family holidays to such exotic and far flung places as France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany (and remember this was 60’s Britain so that’s pretty flamboyant!) Testimony to this were all the vintage travel decals and, as I later found in the van, unsent post cards and old road maps.
JUY Was in pretty good shape and came with stacks of paperwork and receipts going back to the 70’s for things as menial as tyres.
Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures from this time, but she was all original including 6v and crossplys and was only missing the following:

Water tank
Passenger 2/3 seat (replaced with seat from a marina!)
Awning and lower awning rail (due to sill repair)
Most of the tools from the tool roll
Cutlery and crockery :cry:

Condition wise she was starting to need a bit of tidying having had MOT cover sills tacked on (original, but rusty sill still underneath :cyclops: ), the guttering rail had started to go as had the lower screen surrounds and the doglegs were on the way out. A tow bar had been fitted directly to the bumper and the bumper had suffered numerous dings and dents. The rear corners were going as were the bottom of the doors.

Although I had no intention of selling in these early days, I also had no idea I would end up committing so much time and money into this vehicle... where has it all gone!
Last edited by monkey knuts on Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:26 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:56 pm

Another early picture - I think this is in an early SSVC magazine
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Lots of vasaline under the screen rubbers at this time to stop my shoes filling with water on a rainy drive. :roll:

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monkey knuts
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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:10 pm

It took a long time between buying JUY and being able to collect. I hadn't taken her for a test drive and she was awaiting a new MOT certificate. She needed a new silencer and it took the garage ages to locate the correct one.
Driving her for the first time was a unique mixture of fear and excitement.
It had been raining on the day and I got in and there was a pool of water on the speedo - for the first and only time I though "Sh*t... what have I bought"
The drive back was unique - I was constantly stirring the gear stick as I always thought I was in the wrong gear having no familiarity with the underpowered engine and driving technique of changing down way before the slightest incline in the road. Oh and of course changing down to brake - I was convinced the brakes had oil contamination :wink: .
It was mainly B roads all the way back and the vagaries of the steering combined with crossplys with a directional will of their own made for great fun.
The lofty forward control seating position and a fully functioning heating system meant that by the time I got home I just wanted to keep driving. Uh-oh in about 100 miles JUY had gone from being a VW camper van to something in the blood.

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by Mike1973 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:39 pm

8)

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:32 pm

:wink:
Here's a selection of some of the more interesting documentation - appologies if you seen these in another thread.
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These were in a small suitcase along with a load of small spare parts like contact points and light bulbs under the back seat.
There was also about ½ a kilo of pistachio shells???

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:12 pm

The next five or so years we rolled rock stock.

I paid an old school car restore friend of the family £5 an hour to come over and sort some of the more pressing body work issues and used the opportunity to help pick up some skills at the same time.

I say old school in the sense that to him, buying a repair panel was conceding a small defeat. I marvelled as he fashioned a sill repair by working sheet metal around a cast iron svp. This wasn’t highly skilled panel beating craftsmanship, but rather clever and solid auto repair with the emphasis on retaining as much original metal as possible.

This was a good skill to learn as it must be remembered this was all pre Gerson and Autocraft so the very few panels that were available were the horrible, horrible non VAG Brazilian stuff – outer sills with no shape or detail like drainage pressings, rear corners that you had to cut in three to get to fit... all that good stuff!
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Home made cab floor repair – you just wouldn’t bother these days!
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Don’t be too critical of the weld quality – it was all done in situ with a crappy migmate running those lame disposable Co2 cans outside, in the wind and usually at about 9 in the evening....
never again!
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Made my own tool for putting the sill drainage pressings in – the original detail was there so wanted to continue that detail even though its not the best design.
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Lower inner dogleg repair – check out that stretching work! :wink:
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Rear inner dogleg repair panel.

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:13 pm

Originally purchased from Mill Street VW Garage in Stourbridge.
Here it is in 1971
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And 2009
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Choc
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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by Choc » Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:20 pm

Interesting read so far, keep it coming. :D

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:18 pm

Original dealer badge fitted to n/s cab door
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Restore or not?... probably not as the lettering appears to be enamelled so probably an expensive job to do right.

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:29 pm

’91 to ’96 was spend driving JUY as an everyday vehicle while progressively replacing the usual bottom 6”, but yes only about 6” and only one out rigger and one jacking point. The front valance was also fine.
Regrettably I never went camping in the van during this time because, to repair the holes left by the missing water tank, I had to remove most of the front Devon fitments.
During some of the latter welding repairs I forgot to remove the battery connection and I fried the regulator or dynamo – never got to the bottom of it. JUY still started and would run for a few miles but wouldn’t charge. A very simple fix which never got done. Time and tide had changed; I was young and had the need for speed. So JUY languished while Golf GTi’s, BMW’s and even a Mk2 Escort came and went.
Seven years later and this was the state of things:
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You might just be able to make out an Olympics sticker on the back window - Thats from the winter games in Grenoble in 1968!

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:38 pm

2003

JUY had been slowly turning green on my parent’s driveway and I was living away from home. JUY was out of sight and out of mind until my parents decided to sell up and down size. So it was decision time – sell or re-commission.
At that time I couldn’t have a 6v daily driver with a top speed of 55mph. So after much deliberation I decided to throw some cash at it and upgrade the electrics and mechanicals. I went to see Rich Morena down it Essex and after discussing what I wanted from the van we decided on 12v, straight axel Rancho, a Morena built 1776cc and CSP’s which were fairly new on the scene then. I wanted to make sure that the originality of JUY wasn’t destroyed, hence the S/A route – no cutting or welding on the chassis and it could all be put back to original if circumstances changed.
I hated to lose the originality but the important thing was to get back to driving JUY
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Last edited by monkey knuts on Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:31 pm

Time to put some miles on the old girl again.
Shortly after the engine was run in took a little trip down to the Alps. It was pretty gruelling as it was Feb or March and no heating – big thanks to Jake for the sleeping bag that you can wear while driving!
I’d had some problems with running high oil pressure prior to the trip. I didn’t have a gauge fitted but oil would leak out around the distributor pedestal.
I was working on fitting a totally overspeced breather box with venting from the rocker covers and oil filler till 2 am the morning I was leaving.
All seemed well down to Dover, but I pulled off the Autoroute for breakfast and sensed all was not well by the speckling of oil over the back of the bus. Opening the engine bay revealed oil dripping from everywhere.
So the rest of the trip down was spent driving on tenterhooks, keeping the rpms down and stopping regularly to mop down the engine bay and top up the oil.
I bedded down at a service station on the warm parcel shelf above the engine bay with engine oil in every pour – a huge motor home pulled up beside and I could see the occupants having a warm drink while watching some telly, but I still felt I had the better deal!
JUY turned the clock over on the run down although of course the speedo was running faster with the new front setup.
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Last edited by monkey knuts on Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by saff » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:28 pm

Admire your sense of adventure.

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:14 pm

saff wrote:Admire your sense of adventure.
:wink: Nothing compared to the places some people get in these old boots

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Re: 63 RHD Devon Caravette (the Prologue)

Post by monkey knuts » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:26 pm

JUY was now back in use as a daily driver all year round.
A few more trips in the following years includding West Ireland - stunning place but the roads are a nightmare in a lowered bus. You'd be bowling along an A road at about 65mph and suddenly bottom out the steering box - makes for a very tense drive; this was not part of the plan!
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Id put bigger tyres on the front before the trip but they were rubbing the arches on bumps and rounderbouts. Took my smart car tyres just in case so had them changed at a typical West Ireland tyre shop..... a shed at the back of some old boys farm.
He had some difficulty getting the bead to seat on the rim. JUY rode pretty lumpy after that. I couldn't see the extent of the problem untill we got back home and I got the wheel off; about a sixth of the tyre was completely un seated! Scary stuff and a lesson to me to never let mechanical problems wait untill its convienient - it could be a real safety issue.

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