A Nordic 'safari (part 1)


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A 'Nordic' safari ! (Converted 'Reimo' Caravelle)

Sprawled out on the sofa, somewhat disappointed at losing out on a recent German Westy 'deal', I realized buying a Westy in Germany from Gloucestershire (SW UK) was perhaps a long shot. If truth be told, I was depending on the owner's trust and integrity! 'But hey, there's always another 'deal' I thought to myself. Miles away in thought, my wife (Swedish), stole a glance, felt sorry for hubby and clicked on the Swedish 'Gumtree' website (Buy & sell). Oddly enough, I'd only checked an hour ago but no Westy's came up. 'Check this out, 'a Westy' Ms. Sweden shouted excitedly. Sure' says I' and returned to mi thoughts. 'No but check it out'. 'Pushy little one, I thought to miself! Unimpressed & not expecting much, I got up off the sofa and took a peek..

Lo & behold, there was a beautiful, clean looking '88 high roof, original Caravelle, previously converted in Germany, complete with high roof with only 35000 kms on a German rebuilt & refitted engine. Scanning the 5 pics & text, the interior looked like new. Outside, the two tone blue paint glistened in the snow. Extras included a hook up + tow bar + bike rack + ebenspacher + blackout curtains and something that was useful, an awning! Ok it wasn't an original Joker but hey, it was close enough.

Excitedly, I checked the location and saw it was waz up in Northern Sweden - a LONG way from Gloucestershire. 'Call him up' says I. 'But it's 10.30 pm Swedish time. Let's do it in the morning' Ms. Sweden replied. 'Nope, it's now or it'll be sold''. Reluctantly, my wife called the owner who turned out to be a pensioner. While she talked, I scribbled down a few relevant questions for her to ask him.

I listened intently and even though my Swedish is somewhat limited, I understood the gist of the call. 20 minutes later, she put down the phone and we had a chat. 'Is this a good idea? she asked. 'Course it is' I replied. Wasn't I just after losing that great Cologne Westy in spite of the Krut saying he'd hold it for me. Good job, I hadn't booked the Easy Jet flight otherwise I'd be rightly pissed off. And those Easy Jet lads (budget airline) arn't the most sympathetic dudes to explain what happened! Besides, had the Cologne Westy worked out, it would have meant taking a train from Stroud to Bristol, Easy Jet to Cologne, deal with a non English speaking Krut, organize + pay for temporary export German plates + insurance, drive 500 kms through Krutland, up to the Northern German port of Travamunde. board an 8 hour ferry, fill out a detailed import form, hang around a week to wait for the registration number, then wait/ book it in for an MOT appointment and finally, tax the Westy - believe me lads, a lot of hassle for a piece of metal!

Whereas, this Westy was in Sweden, already imported ( 2008), taxed (Dec 2013) and Safety inspected (Nov 2013) and I didn't have to deal with any ' Sour kruts' And it would be a lightening trip - 1 week to travel + buy + drive + store the Westy down in Southern Sweden. It made perfect sense, even if the Westy turned out to be not what the owner described, my wife could always visit her family! But if all went well, I had a huge country barn to store it, alongside a few other old classics, all for a tenner a month per car! Another + was that my storage was only 1 hour from Copenhagen airport, so from door to door it was only about 5 hours - a lot better than a 2 day drive + 2 ferries! Another big + was my English friend - a real 'Lovejoy' character (old UK TV show), lived nearby in an old schoolhouse and I knew that he'd welcome some tea/bacon and marmalade! (jelly)

Continued on next post