vintage icecream van

Daisy The Renovation Part One


She started as a mad idea and a slightly mental Ebay purchase.  I have to admit not really completely understanding the enormity of the project I was embarking on, but that goes for pretty much everything I do!

The past 4 weeks have been amazing, I’ve been very, very lucky with the people I’ve met who have worked incredibly hard, have gone along with my mad ideas, shown true passion, talent, and expertise and have been completely honourable.  None of this would have been even remotely possible had I not found Daisy’s Three Musketeers, I can’t even begin to thank them enough.

Daisy arrived on a trailer from the South West, I bought her unseen and unchecked – that’s not really advisable!

I Googled vehicle body shop and found Musketeer No 1 Ranjit Gill at Fix Auto in Slough he seemed nice enough he answered my questions, humoured me, made it very clear they might not be able to help and agreed to look at her.  That first drive was quite an experience, no power steering and the driver door flying open as I toodled along the Bath Road trying to find my way.

I will never forget the look on Ranjit’s face when I arrived and parked up next to the Aston Martin’s, Porsche’s and Mercs in the yard.

Daisy ‘Before’

Daisy ‘Before’

After a thorough investigation it wasn’t good news, there was an awful lot that needed to be fixed with her body – let alone the mechanics.  Ranjit agreed to make a start warning that he might find more serious issues than were immediately apparent and that I would need to source the replacement bits and pieces from somewhere.

Then I got a booking for a wedding, with no pics, no website and actually no van really just an idea and quite a lot of hope! July 9 really wasn’t very far away, and Ranjit had just discovered the whole of one side of the van was rotten, it had also dropped 2″ and been bolted there, the floor was decidedly dodgy and the doors didn’t shut.

Not Looking Good

Work in Progress

Unbelievably Ranjit agreed to try his best to get the van fixed up by July 9 but it was a very tall order, and I could see it wasn’t looking good.  There was no way I would have time to get the mechanics checked or invariably fixed.  Auto Fix worked and worked so amazingly hard.

I sourced a windscreen, wing mirrors, front bumpers, wheels from all over the internet collected the parts and drove them back to Ranjit in Slough.

I get the job of sanding and polishing half the trim to try and save some time and money, Chris who had been tirelessly working on Daisy was managing to get the chrome sparkling after stripping off all the Thomas the Tank paint, somehow I needed to match up to their standards and there’s 75 feet of it!  I blew up 3 sanders and it took me days and days and theirs was still better than mine!

July 9 was hurtling towards us, Ranjit was carefully not getting my hopes up, I went off to A1 Scrapyard in Wokingham to find a new seat.

I was tentatively ordering bunting and vintage vinyl fabric for the inside and starting on the artwork for Daisy, my Mum kept saying she didn’t believe the freezers would work, and I had no idea how I was going to drive her to Chichester for the booking or even if she would make it, so I started sourcing the Ice Cream!!

I found Winstones Ice Cream via Twitter delicious ice cream made in the Cotswolds by a family who had been in the ice cream business for three generations, it seemed to fit the bill for Daisy and it is delicious.

Then suddenly she was being sanded and primed and Ranjit needed the trim back – polished!

No More Thomas

Almost ready for Priming and Painting

I started searching for someone who could print out the vinyl sign writing for me, I needed someone creative who could use my artwork and turn it into something stunning in a very, very short space of time – about 5 days!  Along came my second Musketeer, Tim Hobbs a proper traditional sign writer mainly for canal boats who could also produce the same style of graphics in vinyls that I could apply myself.  Tim was an angel, I sent the artwork to him in the wrong format 4 times but he sorted it out, tidied it up, made it look fantastic and got it all back to me in time!

It’s the week before the booking and Ranjit reckons we might just make it, he’s started getting her painted! I book a trailer to get her there, order cornets, napkins etc, and realise I would have to do a quick fix on the inside that would make her clean and presentable for the booking, buy a staple gun and install myself in the workshop getting the vinyls on while Chris works away like a dynamo and we all cross our fingers!

Friday 8 July

I left the workshop the night before after doing the first of the vinyls on the roof panels, when I come in the next morning they’re on, it’s Daisy, everyone is starting to enjoy their incredible achievement all the boys are starting to fall for Daisy! And everyone is feeling proud of their achievement in such a short space of time.The vinyls take forever, Ranjit needs to get away on time or his girlfriend will kill him, I need to get Daisy home to start on the cleaning and renovating the inside, it’s all got to be done in a matter of hours! My Mum joins the ranks, there’s inches of dust and grime to clean away!!

Four Weeks & Three Days Later Ranjit Drives Daisy Out of the Workshop!

We still don’t know if the freezers will work! We have a plan entailing my Mum’s freezer full of those ice blocks just in case, we can transfer them to the van freezers and hopefully that’ll cover me for the booking …. if we have to!

We achieved the impossible!! So many people worked so hard, and here’s Daisy! It was the start of a very long night and even earlier morning for me and my Mum as we scrubbed and cleaned and polished before I got busy with the staple gun, fabric and bunting……..

Daisy made her debut at Goodwood Motor Circuit for Richard and Yasmine’s Vintage Wedding Party. And the freezers worked perfectly!

Richard and Yasmine

We Did It! Congratulations Richard and Yasmine

Daisy is an ongoing project for all of us, she is having her mechanics sorted out next week and I will be haunting Ranjit and Fix Auto for some time to come as we work through the non-essential bits and pieces, but she is up and running and taking bookings.

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