Morecambe and Wize - Desperately seeking Silvia
PUBLISHED: 15:17 18 February 2015 | UPDATED: 16:51 15 May 2015
Turn the clock back to May 2012: my wife and I were celebrating our silver wedding anniversary and had just been on a short road trip to get away from the daily grind.
Just in front of us in a ferry queue, we clocked a cherry-red, bay-window campervan. An absolutely beautiful example of a VW camper. We both commented on how fantastic it would be to own one but how do you distinguish between a pipe dream and a genuine desire?
Well, if the wife says yes...
But as soon as I realised my wife was on board, I didn’t need asking twice. The minute we got back through our door, I started researching VW campers.
I stumbled upon a company based in Morecambe, England, who specialise in full restorations. I liked the look of the site, especially as they specialise in restoring exactly the kind of vintage camper I wanted.
Thus, my two-year journey began.
A crack team!
I got in touch with Morecambe and Wize and fortunately they relish a challenge. They scouted as far as California for the right vehicle and tracked down a superb 1963 15-window deluxe bus which had been partially restored but still needed a bit of love.
Did I want it? Hell yeah!
Because my van was relocating to bonny Scotland, we chose a Scottish theme for her colours.
The blue is not the standard VW L360 Sea Blue: instead we went for a fantastic Porsche Ossian Blue on the bottom and standard L90D Pastel White on the top. This was to be finished off with a fresh two-tone grey interior and red tartan curtains.
She was also treated to disc brakes on the front and a creative engineering steering rack upgrade. We decided to dub our new family member ‘Silvia’ because we had been celebrating our silver wedding anniversary when we decided to buy her.
Budget for fun
When we were thinking about adding Silvia to our family, the biggest hurdle was money. But Morecambe and Wize have an ‘Options’ purchasing scheme that’s like choosing off a menu. We ticked what we wanted, scrubbed off what we didn’t and worked out a payment plan.
Silvia comes home
The long process of Silvia’s restoration was well worth the wait. She was finished and delivered in April 2014.
Since then we have driven around most of Scotland clocking up around 5000 miles and seeing some amazing sights along the way.
First on our road trip wishlist was Islay. After all, our last trip inspired us to get Silvia so we thought we’d show her where she was ‘conceived’.
We arrived to unbelievable cerulean skies, superb 30-degree temperatures and the clearest, bluest seas I’ve ever seen. It really was heaven, definitely my favourite road trip to date.
Always worth the trouble
I won’t lie: having a 1960s VW camper hasn’t been without hiccups. Our clutch failed just before a bad thunderstorm in Ullapool. Because we were so far from home, we had to take up residence in our drive-away awning. Towards the end of our stay, the tail-end of Hurricane Bertha hit.
Well, that was an experience. A wet one.
After that adventure, Silvia needed a new carburettor so I made a 600-mile round trip to visit Morecambe and Wize. They run a 3-2-1 warranty scheme which gives you three years’ rust and rot protection to the chassis, two years’ paint defect cover and one year mechanical warranty (with their Option 1 scheme).
So my advice to anyone thinking about getting a vintage VW camper is - go for it! As long as you have the right team on your side, you’ll be fine.
I wouldn’t change my experience with Silvia for the world. Though I’ll be sure to check the weather forecast before our next trip...
For more information on importing and restoring your own Vw Camper Van please visit www.morecambeandwize.com