Betsy is my 1972 pink Type 2 bay window VW and we love her to bits!
As a child, we often holidayed in Devon and I would always tell my parents, grandparents, cousins, anyone who would listen really about how amazing I thought all these colourful VW’s were. Obviously at the time, I had no idea how much of a collectors item they were and how much of a huge fan base they had. To me there were just funky beds on wheels!
As I got older, and more persistent that we should get one, Dad also referred to as Pappa H, finally gave in! We bought Betsy off an Ebay auction, I think she was approx. £300 (We leave the financials to responsible adults as to me she is priceless!) she was originally blue with a white top, incredibly worn out, covered in rust, the engine was in a box and most of the floor was missing. But she was ours and we loved her already, rust’n’all.
I was 14/15 when we got her and I know my dads logical thinking behind getting her… I was potentially going to be doing an engineering apprenticeship so it would look REALLY good for future employers if I had a project look of ‘engineer stuff’ I had been up to. I mean, it was a good idea and I can totally see the logic behind it, however it was quite far from reality unfortunately for Dad. I think I did some scrubbing down ready for her to be sprayed and watched him weld a few panels.
My main input into the transformation of Betsy was the choice of colour. The weekend she was ready to spray, my dad asked ‘So Em, what we going for? Orange? Blue again? or something different?’
My reply… ‘Pink’
My dad looked at my Mum with a nervous smile to which she replied ‘If she wants it pink.. Pink it is!’
There was naturally some resistance. This particular weekend Me, my Mum and Gran were off to London and im pretty sure as we closed the door to leave I heard mum say ‘Bye, were off now. Remember, if its not pink you’ll be sleeping in it.’
Safe to say… We came home from London to a lovely sprayed T2 shell… in PINK!
Dad continued to spend his evenings and weekends working on rebuilding Betsy, I think she took about 2 years in total.
When she was finished she was fully pink, with daisies around her. Inside she has a pink front cabin and the back has a rock’n’roll bed. The roof of the back cabin has black carpet on it with small spot lights which shine through to look like a nights sky.
Im not going to lie, I don’t know all of the technical details about Betsy, I just know that she’s pink, awesome, drives slow – and that’s cool!
Betsy has been a huge contributing factor in my life. Including being my transport to my school prom and of course, when I went for an engineering apprenticeship I had a full file on doing up my VW camper – Thanks Dad! I do believe that was a contributing factor to me actually being offered my apprenticeship. I was told I needed something to make me stand out from the others… And boy does she!!
A few years on, my parents moved to the South of France for a while with work and Betsy went with them so they could use her as a base for exploring on the weekends. She was there for about 3 years with them and they used her as a removal van to come back home. She went from Toulouse to Zebrugge across the ferry to Hull and on to Preston twice. Quite a long treck for a vintage van!
I had always struggled to get insured on Betsy at a reasonable price, then on my 25th birthday.. I finally got my insurance papers for her. Its still up there in one of the best days of my life! So, for the last year myself, Tom and some of my friends have FINALLY had the pleasure of being able to use her for adventuring!
Unfortunately, I have to admit, 10 years on from her first transformation she’s starting to look rather tired, got the odd leak and a bit of rust so weve put her away for the winter with the intention of transformation round 2 happening early spring 2018!
Watch this space as we will be blogging Betsys’ transformation!