Thought I would write a post on how we acquired our VW Crossover Bay, had it restored and got badly ripped off in the process.
It started after I got an insurance payout for having a run in with cancer. My wife and I decided to buy a VW and have it restored to how we wanted it. My wife’s sister already had a bus and would take it to a company called Paint Yor Wagon (Thankfully gone now) based in Norwich.
We visited the place and bought Tallulah, a 1972 VW Crossover Bay for £2000. This was in September 2009
Over the next six months progress was made and we handed over money in stages, until the day came we collected her an took her home. Total cost up to this point £23000.
Apart from a few teething troubles all seemed ok at first. However, after 3000 miles the engine let go big time, by seizing solid and snapping the crankshaft in half.
This engine used more oil than fuel, and after a lot a hassle and only 250 miles covered, I took it back to him with a warning, sort it out or else.
After a few weeks we hadn’t heard anything and he wasn’t replying to my calls.
After five weeks I paid a visit to his facilty only find that he a moved out three weeks earlier and emptied his garage too.
So where is our bus?
Fortunately it has a tracker on it so we managed to locate it at his home. No one was there, so I had to steal our bus back. It ran really badly, but I managed to drive the 45 miles home whilst being followed by a taxi who then took me back to Norwich to get my car.
The bus was in a real state, and full of this guys rubbish.
Anyway, via the Type 2 owners club we found a top chap in Swaffham who gave the engine a once over and managed to running quite well, but still still not right, also we noticed that the fuel was a rust colour too.
I was due in Belgium for six weeks around this time, so left the bus with Paul in Swaffham to sort it out.
It turned out that the tank was rusted out, so a new tank was installed. The engine wasn’t new at all, but made from several old engines including parts from the seized first one
So a third engine was built for new (except the crank) by Paul. This engine has been running beautifully for over six years covering over 30,000 miles so far.
Paul has had to so many other hidden issues too, such a bodged electrics, breaks amongst many things.
The story hasn’t ended here. The original restoration of the chassis and bodywork was bodged too. So we decided to have Paul to a two stage second restoration. Chassis and Floors first and bodywork later this year.
The first resto work on the chassis was so bad, that a new chassis has been installed and we are now waiting for the work to be finished so we can use the bus this summer.
The money that it has cost so far out weighs the monetary value of the bus, but we have had great times on road trips which has made up for it.
Just be careful when having restoration work done. We are lucky that we found Paul Johnson at Mid Norfolk Car Company, who is the only person we let near Tallulah.
Authored by Steve Gleeson