VW Heritage Visiting Friends: Craig & Sally. Eva-Maria Brueckmann drops in to chat about their love of the marque, the cars in their collection and find out more about their VW clothing venture that allows them to mix business with pleasure… If you’ve always fancied combining work with a hobby, then take some inspiration from VW Heritage customers Sally and Craig Delves from Seaford.
Craig’s a designer, and being a long-time VW fan, the couple have set up a clothing company selling cool-looking hoodies out of their T4 van. They happily admit, it’s not likely to become a mega million pound enterprise – but it’s something that can do together at weekends and allows them to meet hoards of fellow enthusiasts. It also means they can combine personal and professional interests, and that in itself is something to be applauded.
So, on a rather grey late autumn afternoon, VW Heritage’s global marketing guru, Eva, arranged a rendezvous on the West Sussex coast. Over a mug of steaming hot tea she looked over their fleet of cars, made friends with Mable the dog, and got a sneaky preview of Craig’s latest clothing designs.
Start ‘em young
Needless to say, Craig’s passion for VWs started when he was young. And given the sheer number of Volkswagens that have passed through his hands, we expect it has bordered on the fanatical at time. “My nan had a Beetle, so I got the Bug when I was just seven years old,” he concedes. “Since then I’ve had loads of them – in fact, I’ve lost count but it must be over 100.” Sally, too, is a big car lover and you’ll be relieved to learn that Craig successfully managed to wean her away from sporty Subarus into a VW. Her current car is a New Beetle, although she quietly revealed to Eva that she’d love a Lupo. “I’d modify it to death,” she says, with a twinkle in her eye. Sal loves the VW scene and everything that comes with it. “It’s great being with likeminded people – and it’s not all about the cars. They all share the same hobbies and passions as us: we’re all into extreme sports, music and art.”
She also appreciates the diversity of the VW show scene, “You get the high end cars at some, then you get the festivals where you see the more ratty cars, Split Buses that are turned into DJ booths and coffee shops offering a totally different vibe like the Bristol Volksfest, VanWest and OhSoRetro. You can be part of the VW family by just having a small Lupo, or whatever, with a few modifications and then you are off.”
With their four cars elegantly lined up on the Seaford seafront, it felt just like Brighton Breeze all over again – but on a slightly smaller scale, of course. And what an eclectic mix!‘ Bess’ the Beetle is a ’59 and originated from South Africa. The car was imported to the UK in 1990 and fully restored in 1991. Fortunately, most of the original panels were good and the Beetle still has its original engine and gearbox. But as Craig explained to Eva, despite retaining much of its originality, it’s had a serious whacking with the modding stick along the way. “I’ve carried out a 6 to 12v conversion, fitted a 6in narrowed front beam and she’s been lowered quite considerably. The wheels are EMPI Sprint Stars and the period roof rack usually has a collection of retro bits on it when we go to shows. It all helps give the Beetle its Resto-Cal look.” The interior’s pretty nice tool; the original seats and door cards have been retrimmed in brown leather with white piping and it’s been treated to new tan carpets. “This car was my first love,” explains Craig, “she always puts a smile on my face when I drive her to shows.”
‘Gumball’ is the 2000 T4 1.9 TD you see here. It started off as a carpenter’s van but now sits on lowering springs, uprated shocks and 18in Audi RS6 wheels painted gunmetal metallic. It has a full Reimo pop-top conversion and the camper interior comprises of a SMEV cooker/sink combo, fridge and a leather covered three-quarter rock ‘n’ roll folding bed. Mood lighting in the form of two different coloured spot lights provide just the right ambience inside. The front pews are from an Alfa Romeo and the passenger seat sits on a swivel base for added practicality. Internally it’s been sticker bombed. Eva enquires about the external colour, which by the sounds of it, remains an issue of contention. “We purchased a ‘SexWax’ table in the same colour as the van, but to be honest we’re not sure of the exact hue. Some say it’s Vauxhall VR Blue, others suggest its a Mazda colour. Either way, we love it.”
… and “Bumble”
Yes, you’ve guessed it, ‘Bumble’, the couple’s 2001 2.5-litre turbodiesel T4, gets its name from its vibrant ‘AA’ yellow paintwork. You can see why they’ve decided to make this eye-catcher, which has been lowered and now rides on 17in Audi alloys, a mobile ‘shop front’ for their new clothing business. Described as a ‘work in progress’ by Craig, the back features a Caravelle interior with a rear bench that turns into a bed, making it ideal for weekend show accommodation.
… and “Mags”
Last but not least, ‘Mags’ is Sally-Anne’s 2004 1.9 TDi Beetle Cabriolet. The Mags nickname, in case you didn’t twig, comes from its Magnolia paintwork. Again, the New Beetle hasn’t been neglected when it comes to subtle modification and Sally explains to Eva that they’ve fitted FK coilovers, polyurethane bushes, 3DSM 18in alloys, bonnet bra, headrest hoops and custom flower artwork carried out by 6373 Graphics.
Better by Design
Having spent the afternoon chatting to Eva, it’s clear this couple’s lives are centred around their love of VWs. So it seems fitting that the next chapter in their story involves applying Craig’s natural talent for design to create something VW related – namely hand drawn, hand printed clothing sold under the brand ‘Thirtyoneten’. “They’re all totally unique designs,” explains Craig. “And we feel that they will be different and a real alternative to everything else we have seen.” And in case you were wondering, the name comes from their love of Halloween – 31.10.
As the skies begin to darken, the trio decide it’s time to sup up and head home. All that’s left is for Eva to thank Craig and Sally-Anne for taking the time out of their schedule and wish them luck with their new enterprise. If you want an exclusive heads-up on where you can see their clothing first – here’s their diary of show 2018 dates.
VolksWorld Show – Sandown Park, Surrey
Elemental – Rayleigh, Essex
Vanwest – Brean, Somerset
Plum Jam – Horsham, Sussex
VAG at the Manor – Reading, Berkshire
Bristol Volksfest – Bristol
Camper Marmalade – Sussex
Grill‘n’Chill – Paddock Wood, Kent
Volksweald – Penshurt, Kent
OhSoRetro – Margate, Kent
Beach Buggin – Southsea, Hampshire
Get along, take a look and now that you’ve had a suitable introduction – say ‘hello’.
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage.