Not much is said about another vehicle in my collection. This in itself is a fairly rare survivor these days. It is of course my 1976 CI Europa caravan.
I'd often pondered about getting a caravan but with the ability to sleep on the buses at shows I really didn't bother. It's only when the taxi collection came along, the problem of long weekends with only the back of a cab to sleep in cropped up. At SCOC HQ there are a few caravans stored nearby and one day I spotted the Europa. Now what I know about touring caravans you could write on a stamp as I used to work with static vans in the past but never these things, but I realised it was old. None of this streamlined front end like the modern vans. As it was unlocked, I looked inside. It was full of crap from floor to ceiling. Cuddly toys, old clothing, chicken wire... you name it, it was in here. Despite that, it was dry. Annoyingly, there was no chassis plate visible which meant it hard to find out what it was for sure. I vowed to speak to the landlord to see if he could put me in touch with the owners...
So imagine my surprise when some weeks later, I found it dumped outside on the grass verge. Speaking to the landlord, he informed me that rent hadn't been paid on it for years and he was selling it for scrap. I decided to make an offer, thinking he'd want silly money but £60 later and the van was mine.
Initially it lived behind the buses at HQ and all the crap inside was emptied. I was still unsure what to do with it though. Paint it up as a mobile travel office with a big National Bus Company logo on the side? A mobile exhibition unit? It would have looked good behind 5807...
As usual, fate had other plans. A change of circumstances saw me needing accommodation to live in. I am now a homeowner - even if it is only a £60 one!
The outside was quickly painted up to tidy it and it gained the rather tasty blue and off white you see today. Long-term plans will see it externally restored to the pale green and cream colours from new.
I've now been living in it on a farm on the coast since August 2015 and it's so much fun and easier to heat than 7041. In fact I've only ever been cold in a power cut, mostly it's super warm inside.
So why Carry On Behind? Well that was one of the later films of the series set in a caravan park and plenty of Caravan International (CI) products are used throughout including Sprites, Majors and of course Europas.
I know this isn't bus related, but it demonstrates how one past time can lead to another. Without the buses being at HQ I certainly wouldn't have seen this caravan. Right place right time... just keep the Top Gear lot away from it.
I've made a few changes to the website to help streamline it all. Sometimes I'm spending as much time on website administration duties as I am working on the vehicles!
From now on, all rally and show reports will be on here on the Bus Blog. The blog is so easy to update from my mobile it unreal, and obviously I can do it 'out in the field' too. We still have a huge following on Facebook too with 3 pages for you to look at there. We have a Southern Counties Omnibus Collection one, a Jake's Buses on and a Jake's Taxi one. All updated several times a week.
The picture of the month has emigrated to our sister site at Southern Counties Omnibus Collection after many years on this site.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm blown away with the level of support we receive from you all. We have colossal hits every week on both sites and our Facebook page is heading towards 400 likes. Thanks, no matter if this is your first time here or you're a regular visitor. It's all very much appreciated and makes what we do seem worthwhile.
Well the good news is that TOL the white Metrocab taxi has passed her MOT. This puts her back on the road for the first time since 2013. Work done on her involved new kingpins, bushes, exhaust system, ball joints as well as electrical work and work on the brakes. All in all it cost around £600 getting her straight but now she will serve the roll of MOT float vehicle and cover the others when they come off for testing. Next up is TLX the series 2 Metrocab and once she's done I'm going to turn my attention to the buses. Without the taxis supporting the main collection I'm unable to move spares around, collect fuel and move my tools around so these are essential to keep the buses on the road.
This rather moody picture of MFN41R was going to be the Picture of the Month but with the issues with the site hosting I thought I'd share it with you via the Bus Blog - which is thankfully still working. Although things seem pretty quiet at the moment, all through January Paul and me were working on various vehicles. Admittedly this was mostly the taxi fleet as it's MOT time again and without our support fleet we wouldn't be able to do very much at all. Once we have one on the road it's off to pick up the part for DMS550's engine- another job done. I'm hoping to get several members of the collection on the road this year. I'm not saying too much for now as I don't want to tempt fate but it should be an interesting season. I hope!
Click here for the archive news pages dating back to 2008.
Owner of 5807, 5809, 5137, 7656, 7681, 7041 & 40301
All pictures and information contained within this website are the copyright of J Bamford, R Addison, P Tripptree, B Sealy & R Harrison 2008-2019. Any images or information supplied by individuals will be credited to that individual and will be copyright of that person/persons/website.
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