At the end of the summer in 2008, we bought a 1964 Ford Taunus Transit FK1250. ‘We’ being Michiel, my brother in law and myself. Our goal was to restore this bus to its former glory. And, to enhance it a little.
We had little to none experience restoring cars, let alone vans or busses, and we were no petrol heads at all. We just wanted a great challenge and we would figure everything out along the way, possibly with a little help from our friends.
Our plan was to convert this little bus into a small camper: nothing more appealing than driving to a festival, the beach or wherever, in your own home-away-from-home. I’m sure you all know this feeling, right? We were dreaming of this freedom, realising from the start, we most likely wouldn’t have the time to enjoy it, once finished. But, it was the perfect getaway I needed next to running a business.
After importing it from Germany and going to the license-procedure from the Dutch RDW, we started stripping both the in- and exterior. Stripping is easy. Of course, you have to keep in mind that, at one point, it needs to be put back together and you don’t want to cause more damage. Other than that, it’s a relatively easy task and, as it turned out to be, the least complicated task 😉
After stripping was done, we started fixing the bodywork. Now, this something different. We needed a huge amount of expertise, help and phone calls to get the job done. A lot of sweat later, rust, dents and lost parts were fixed and it was time to give the bus a new paintjob.
We couldn’t just start spray-painting in my garage (my wife didn’t appreciate the idea and there was hardly any room), so we went looking for a suitable location. Through a guy-who-knew-a-guy, we ended up in someone else’s garage and there we started applying the first layers of paint. After several layers of grey primer, we finally could apply our carefully picked out colours. We couldn’t wait to see the result, as painting took us way too much time.
“Done”, you say? Hardly. With a fresh look, the bus was back in my garage, but still stripped of anything. As I think of it, by then came the hardest part. A windscreen broke (we found it after a long online search and equally long car ride), the steering column broke (we went to Germany to get a replacement and this trip alone is worth a blog), headlights, logos, etc, etc, etc. We were thrilled when we even found a grill somewhere in Germany. On one of our many ‘part-trips’ we found the original chairs, which we could take for free, because “they were beyond repair anyway”. They were wrong and we were lucky. On many occasions.
After years of painstakingly effort, we were nearing the end of our project. Of course, the wiring was all faulty, so we asked Barry and Ivo to help out. And then… the engine wouldn’t start. So, we asked Joris to fix it. He put a little bit of gasoline in the carburettor, nearly burned the inside of the bus down, but the motor was running 😊
Finally, we were done and the bus ran like a champ. It turned out to be a sweet little camper, giving you that flower-power feeling from the sixties. We had so many great times and adventures over the years.
As for all, things must come to an end, so after a couple of years, we decided to sell it, making room in the garage for future projects, if we could find the time. When we started restoring, my wife and I had no kids and I had time to spare, but by the time the bus was finished, I was a proud father of two little girls, and by the time we sold the bus, a third was on the way.
Restoring a Ford Taunus was a great, yet time-consuming experience and I’m grateful to have achieved it, together with the help of many special people around me.