We first saw Jaime’s stunning ‘65 Split at Volksworld Show at the beginning of the year. It was tucked away downstairs, and whilst it caught our eye it wasn’t until Plum Jam that we realised just how good it was – and awarded it best of show.

Home Brew

Fresh out of a long term relationship with the mother of his children his newfound Batchelor status was the catalyst in him clicking ‘buy it now’ on a brush painted, blue and white USA import that had been sat since the mid-’90s. Whilst it looked a bit like his dream bus, there was plenty of work required to get it up to this standard and it’s fair to say Jaime has taken things a little further than your average DIY restorer.

Bricking it…

A builder by day Jaime got stuck right into this VW Bus project in his spare time, cheered along (and ably assisted) by best mate Tim, who was also restoring a Stepside Pick-Up in the unit they share together – in fact, they both worked towards the same deadline, getting them finished for a local car show they organise.

Not a new thing

Jaime’s no stranger to aircooled VWs, he had a VW Beetle as his first set of wheels, and guess what, he’s still got it now. We couldn’t resist trying to recreate one of the famous VW adverts with it and the bus, and of course Jaime at the wheel of both!

Jaime restored his Beetle back when he was 17, and ignoring the dirt that’s accumulated from being parked up for a while, it’s still in great shape “I must have done a decent job, as it’s lasted well. I took this around Europe with my mate Paul, just after my relationship break up. Paul was going through similar, so after a few beers and a kebab, we decide to plan a road trip! It still has the cable tied plastic bottle under the deck lid – it overheated at Dover, on the way out, and we put that in place to aid with cooling.  We could have turned back, but we just kept going and the bottle did a great job for us!”

Good jobs last well…

As his trade would suggest Jaime is useful with his hands and with a keen eye for quality, he has produced a vehicle you’d swear blind rolled out of a hi-end restoration establishment rather than an old barn in Sussex. “I was lucky that this bus didn’t need much in the way of bodywork. We got away with just fixing some rear end damage and putting a new battery tray in – it was a good 80-90% rust free.”

Bit by bit…

“Me and Tim did some quick man-maths, and with the time spent on this build, charged at £40 an hour it would have cost well over £100k if I was paying for the work. I don’t have that sort of money, but bit by bit over 4 years I have created this, for an affordable amount, and had fun doing it.” I ask what the worst job was and Jaime laughs, answering “all of it!” Probing further, I question if he ever wondered why he was doing it, to which he responded: “yes, nearly every weekend, but, if I was getting stuck with something I’d just go and help Tim for a bit, clear my head and go back to it later.” Going back to the ‘worst job’ question Jaime offers his most nerve-wracking moments of the whole build was refitting parts back on, after receiving the bus back from the PaintShop. We can understand that!

Inside story

It was the interior presentation that first alerted our attention to the level of detail in Jaimes bus. “We got drawn into the USA theme,” Jaime tells me. What started with a few little touches here and there has evolved into the leather-trimmed Stars and Stripe’s tabletop and the pair producing ‘Americana Artwork’ in their spare time to help fund their passion for cool cars.

Gentleman’s Club

“I didn’t want a ‘fluffy pillows and bunting’ interior. I was a single guy, and I wanted something masculine.” Well, with plenty of dark stained wood, vintage red leather, Jack Daniels and cigars we think Jaime’s hit the nail on the head. I love the table lamp with stained glass shade and the use of an Ipad as a TV screen makes so much sense. The quilted headliner screams luxury and the light brown carpet will require the use of moccasin slippers to keep in that condition long term!

Built not Bought…

Jaime was blown away with scooping Best of Show at Plum Jam. Modest through and through, he built this bus for him and to be used. Just 2 hours after we shot these pics, Jaime was on the road with his dogs and new girlfriend Sam, driving down to Dorset for a long weekend away. “I’ve gotta go and hoover the house first though” he let slip…  It must be love!

With a little help from Heritage

It’s always nice when discussing a project with the owner to hear that we’ve been able to supply the majority of Splitscreen Bus parts required for Jaime to get to this stage. “I’ve just bought a set of 34 ICT carbs from you guys,  and after a  rolling road set up, it is running brilliantly,” I question the exhaust… “Yes, that’s a Vintage Speed, I liked the way it looked similar to the original” Jaime confirms.

No one got hurt in the painting of this bus!

The paint scheme is Jaimes take on VW Sealing Wax Red and Beige Grey, an iconic colour scheme of the sixties VW Camper. “It’s a Renault colour, but it nearly didn’t happen” Jaime divulges. “I showed the paint swatches to Tim who’s exact words were “why do you want to paint your bus salmon pink and hearing aid beige?” Swiftly followed by ‘if you paint your bus that colour I’ll punch you in the throat!'” Jaime went ahead and did it anyway. Fortunately, they both feel it was a good choice now, and no one got hurt!

A big thanks to Jaime for sharing his story, and letting us look over his VW Bus in even more detail. We look forward to seeing the Beetle when it’s back on the road again.

Andy

 

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