Description | 1970 VW bay window
Words | Jake Patterson Watershed
Photos | Jake Patterson
My love affair with Volkswagens started in 1985 when my grandad came home in a brand new 1.3 VW polo. Granted it wasn't the most exciting car of it's time but in true VW style it was built to last and everything was where it should be. It was around the same time that my best friends grandad was mucking out his horses in his 1978 bay. Two very different vehicles but at the same time there were many similarities. I guess at the time I didn't really know they were made but the same company, but loved them equally. Fast forward a few years and I ended up owning both of these cars, so I guess VW and me was a relationship that was destined to happen.
On the last count I have owned over 20 VW's from commercial through to corporate, including a brand new passat in 2005 which was ordered before release, a brand new T5, 3 tourans, 2 polo's, 8 Vans and 2 beetles to name a few.
When James and I started Watershed back in 2011 we really wanted to purchase a vintage VW but were slightly put off by the cliche, thinking that everyone would think we were jumping on the band wagon. As you have read the above, you will understand that this was far from the truth. Volkswagens run through my blood. We have had a few VW vans for the company but nothing vintage. As most of you car fans out there know, any spare time you have is spent on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook marketplace and pretty much any platform that might have just the thing you are looking for, even if you can't have it.
It was early Jan when I spotted what was surely going to be the next Watershed Brand vehicle, you just know that feeling when you see something. I kept my eye on it and made a few bids, the van didn't reach the asking price so I made and offer which was agreed. We then proceeded to make the long journey (everything is a long journey from Newquay) east to pick it up. I knew it was going to be perfect for us but you always worry about what might be hidden with an old vehicle, especially when you have to drive it over 400 miles on the first journey.
When we arrived it seemed pretty straight and was definitely a great starting point for the Watershed vehicle. It had all the required welding done but still needed a few bits, these weren't a big deal though. On further inspection we discovered the van had already had the arches tubed and notches taken out of the rear, giving us a head start in being able to make this the super 'low rider' that we wanted. All in all the van was great and we set off on the journey home. As it got dark we soon realised that after the 10th lorry to flash us on the M25 we had no rear lights. We had a quick look and discovered the fuse was missing. The old style fuses are not available regularly, especially on the side of the M25, so we sacrificed the windscreen wipers for rear lights. This seemed like a good idea until it started to rain!
We did make it back safe and sound to Newquay and realised what we had was a real head turner, even in a town that is used to vintage VW's. That evening we striped out the un-necessary bits, like zebra interior and other brand stickers!!!
We tackled a few jobs ourselves, such as re-instating a front grill which has been welded over. I also had to strip the paint off the dash board and give the bumpers a coat of white paint. Next i paid a trip to Evil Ben's located just outside of Truro to book in for the proper work.
If you are a VW enthusiast and have not visited Evil bens before, you are fully missing out. Just this morning there was a plethora of some of the greatest VW's (amongst other's) I have seen, to name a few a 1952 split, 1950's Porsche 356, split beetle, 1970's makers manx e.t.c.
The van is still currently at the workshop but has had most of the work needed done. The pictures show a few of the trick bits we have added, but you will have to wait a few weeks to see the full reveal. This is a truly cool van and we can't wait to get it out there for all to see.
On completion we will do a full journal on what we have named, 'The black sparrow'