Ashley Lovering has selected a 1958 VW Type Two Van owned by Tom Verney for his classic motor for April. Unusually this is a work in progress story and not a fully restored vehicle. Tom tells us the restoration story so far…
This 1958 Volkswagen type 2 panel van was imported from Pheonix Arizona in 2014 in a very sorry state, while it was very solid due to the climate it had a very hard life. At some point it had had the rear wheel wells cut out to fit bigger wheels, the windows had been very badly cut in down both sides, the bulkhead had been cut out and it had been given two really terrible re-sprays
The previous owner had also had a few minor crashes causing damage to the front panel on the passenger side with heavy damage to the wheel arch, the B pillar and the side doors.
The final damage was caused during its move from the desert, when the rear end of the vehicle was nearly ripped clean off. It was out of square, so none of the panels fitted and the rear corner and main pillar were about half a foot back from the chassis.
I wanted the vehicle to be restored to an original a condition as possible, so I used as many recovered body cuts as I could and good quality autocraft panels when I couldn’t find genuine panels.
The rear end was brought back into square and repaired and the side windows closed up with good quality donor cuts from another ‘58 dove-blue panel van.
Once I had carried out the rest of the rust and body repair, I started the most daunting part of the project….. the sanding.
As I wanted the van to be restored to as original as possible, the re-sprays had to go. A friend and I racked up between 300-400 hours of wet sanding and polishing to reveal the original paint where possible and then used a good colour matched paint to blend in my repairs.
Running gear wise the van is stock, apart from a 1300 engine from a 70s beetle. The van has been upgraded to 12v for safety reasons.
The back interior is temporary, but I have made use of the lack of front bulkhead when a genuine Westfalia flip seat that came up for sale. This is the rarest part fitted to the van by far, but has resulted in an increase of 30% to the interior space.