'66 Devon Restoration Story
About 7 years ago I bought this '66 Devon for restoration. It came with a Martin Walter side elevating roof and an almost complete Devon interior. The original owner was Michael Tovey who, despite buying this VW in late 1965 in England, registered it in Ireland where he lived at that time with his family of 5 daughters. The two black and white photos are very early on, June '66 - ish, in Ireland. All the family managed to sleep in the van and the awning. One daughter across the back window, two sisters in the roof hammocks and one, sometimes two sisters in a hammock across the driver/ passenger space!
In late 1966 the family moved back to England to Rugby in the midlands with the van, and then in 1978 moved to Hereford. The colour photo is from Hereford times. The Irish number plate always created interested, especially as they were near to the SAS camp in Ewyas Harold. Michael was teacher and used the van many times to take school trips to places. After retiring he spent his time as a potter and used the van to take a large potters kick wheel and pots to various shows, exhibitions etc. All the family learned to drive in it and apart from family holidays it was used for several honeymoons!
Therefore, the bus had a fantastic history, was an original Devon, and had been owned for the majority of it's lifetime by a single family. However, by the time it was bought by me, sadly, it had been sold for scrap and had become very rotten, (a lot more rotten than suggested by the photos). After a preliminary enthusiastic bout with the angle grinder, progress ground to a halt, mainly due to a change of job.
Four years passed!
During this period I made the mistake of leaving the bus in an open barn, where obviously all the work I had done, went rusty. Another problem was that time had improved my restoration skills and now I was no longer happy with the way I had done some of the repairs. Anyway to cut a long story short I.....................scrapped it.
A moments silence please.
Anyway as the song goes 'you don't know what you got till it's gone,' very soon I started to miss my '66. This dilemma led to stage two........the resurrection!!!