A relative newcomer to team Heritage, Elliot works as our Aircooled Product Specialist. Along with a few others, he is responsible for sourcing components to make up our 23,000 product lines.
It’s always interesting to find out ‘the history’ behind a new colleague when they join. What experience do they bring to the table, what skills can they offer and most importantly what do they drive! Elliot tells me “My background is solely in the motor trade. I started off doing an apprenticeship with Volvo then entered the education sector in 2008. I worked as a teacher and assessor of automotive maintenance and repair for 10 years before joining Heritage in March 2018.”
Inspired to make the change
“I was a regular user of Heritage, I followed the blog and felt inspired by those I was reading about to try and follow this as a career path too. One day I saw a speculative advert on the website and sent my details in. I got a call to come in for an interview and now I’m one of our Product Specialists, focussing mainly, but not exclusively on aircooled VW parts.”
Vans on the wall
The VW Split screen bus was the poster pin-up for Elliot as a kid. “This is my McLaren, Ferrari or Porsche” Elliot explains simply. “I always wanted a Split screen and I promised myself one before I turned 30.” Having previously hired a bus for his wedding and honeymoon he was only more determined to make it a reality. His search for an honest bus ended in June 2012 when he found this farmyard fresh Texan import in Devon. The SO42 spec and sun bleaching ticked all the right boxes for both Elliot and his wife Helen and the purchase was made.
Machine polished patina
The bus had the look they were after, but with a few bits of serious rust showing up Elliot chose to polish it back, keeping the contrast against the white but treating anything terrible along the way. Structurally the bus has benefitted from a new outer sill, a section of cargo floor and a fresh cab floor to ensure his masterpiece is built on solid foundations.
Trimmed like a pro
Elliot lets slip that he made the interior himself, and is a little uncertain as to how impressed we’ll be with his DIY efforts. As the son of a coach trimmer, I’d say he’s done a great job. I was expecting him to tell me he’d parted with thousands paying an expert to do it. It soon becomes apparent Elliot does everything himself…
Sewn, sawn and sanded
“I made the bench seat from an old oak bed frame and the fold out table on the door. The table in the centre used to be a skim board. The headliner is real suede and was left over from a boat refurbishment a guy I used to work with carried out.” In as many minutes Elliot has pointed out and talked us through 4 examples of his craftsmanship and we’re in awe of his skills and resourcefulness.
If you don’t have the money, make it…
I couldn’t afford new door panels, so made these from plywood using the old ones as a template, then trimmed them myself. The aluminium ‘deluxe’ style trim was left over metal from the OE style curtain rails that I bent up. The only bit I have bought for the inside was the cupboard above the rear seat, and I’m not completely happy with the fit on that”.
Camping under the stars
You may notice that there are no sides to Elliot’s SO42 Westfalia pop top. “I like to wake up and just look up and enjoy the sky,” he tells me. “I do get some weird looks when I’m getting dressed in the morning though…” Whilst the bus isn’t fitted with rear seat belts, making camping trips a 2 car activity, his family do love going away in it. “My daughter sleeps on the bench seat bed and my son on the bunk over the cab, although he normally ends up in with us come the morning”.
Driving for perfection
Safety is one thing Elliot won’t scrimp on and he took the plunge upgrading to a Creative Engineering front end after a bad experience with the steering box failing. The ’66 now has a steering rack and is a pleasure to drive in comparison. Just as well, as his daily commute is 50 miles each way and this gets used regularly in the summer months.
Back in 2014, Elliot completed a full engine rebuild himself, including sandblasting and repainting all tinware and components in a makeshift booth in his garden. With the 1500cc engine reassembled and refitted he took it along to Beach Buggin’ where it duly picked up ‘best rat and rust’ in the show and shine.
Elliot, by his own admission, is a perfectionist, so I’m pretty certain he’s not done yet. He tells me “It’s freezing in there in the winter as it doesn’t have any heating, so perhaps I should do something about that. I will probably put a removable skirt on the pop top too, so we can have that up at night, without getting too cold or wet!”
A big thanks to Long Furlong Barn for allowing us to use their lovely venue to shoot Elliot’s Bus.