Little Yellow Bus
Just outside Southend is a village named Great Wakering, it’s only small with a population of about 5500, one of those residents is Heather Laskey the owner of “The Little Yellow Bus” a 1970/71 VW Early Bay window Volkswagen Campervan T2. She hire’s this out for weddings, corporate events, proms and other functions. I arranged to go along to see Heather and find out a bit about her lovely VW Campervan.
As I pulled up outside I could see the bus all covered up in her driveway, this was really exciting as I love the VW Campervans. Heather’s had her T2 since 2011, asking Heather what attracted her to getting a VW she told me “she’d always been around campervans”, some close family friends had bought a new campervan in the 70s that had been passed down through the family from generation to generation. Sadly it had problems with water leakages and ended up needing many welding jobs, in the end it had to go. Heather really wanted to get her own Van but didn’t think she would ever be able to afford the one she really wanted, a Split or a Bay (she really was averse to a T25). She made many searches, but alas they all seemed to have issues, batteries going flat far too quickly, problems with rust, damp or just about anything you could think of. Then Heather heard about an early Bay Window in Colchester, (not too far away from Southend), the vender agreed to sell the van for very nice price, well within Heather’s budget.
Heather drove her lovely campervan around for two years, did a few small repair jobs on it but then decided it was time to go for a full restore. She knows many people in the VW world, after asking around, she was given the name of someone, recommended for their restoration work. Heather left them with the van for two years in good faith. They sent her photos of the progress, which all looked good. The van was supposed to be ready for the VolksWorld Show in the September, so in March, before the show, it had only just come out of the paint shop. Unfortunately the paint work had that horrible orange peel look about it, also it was being fitted out before the paint job had been rectified. Well not to put too fine a point on it Heather was not a happy lady, things went from bad to worse. Heather’s had to pay the bill (under protest) to get her precious VW back. She went down to pick it up on a low-loader and bought her home.
When she arrived home, whilst trying to unload it, she was unable to get the van into gear. Heather took it straight to a local garage for repairs. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, OMG it went up in flames. I would have been crying by this stage!
Well it ended up being there for a whole year. Realising that the job was a bit too big for the local garage, Heather once again got a low-loader to pick it up and take it over to her Dad’s farm, whilst deciding what her next move should be. Heathers Father had a friend who he thought could rebuild VW engines, that friend was Harry Harpics, one of the best VW mechanic’s and engine restorers in the UK. What a stroke of luck, (“well about time!” I’d say) a straight forward restore had been a nightmare for the poor lady.
Now not the original colour, (orange) that you see everywhere, but yellow (which I think looks fabulous). The Little Yellow Bus took a long, long, time and a many more £££, but the condition it is in today was well worth the cost and the problems that Heather had along the way. The van has been completely refurbished, the original pop top has been taken away, and it now has a rag top instead, as its crowning glory.
So, now I think it looks rather spectacular, it went through some unfortunate issues to get to the stage it’s at today. After all you went through Heather you deserve to have many years of pleasure from your Little Yellow Bus. So good luck! And hopefully I will see you at some shows in the coming years.
Thank you very much Heather Laskey for giving me your time today and telling me about your long journey, best of luck for the future.
Below there are some lovely photos of Heather’s T2
You can follow Heather on Facebook and Instagram.