I had contact from someone who had searched the Internet for the registration number from a photograph he had taken back in the 1980’s. It turned out to be 289 VMG and the search returned this very website. Apparently it was taken in Leigh-on-Sea Essex. Once I’ve completed the retsoration I intend to take the van back there for an updated picture. I may also put an add in the local papaer there to see if anyone remembers it. I’m sure that he won’t mind me reproducing the photo here.

Liegh on Sea
Liegh on Sea


Back from a long break

Shows the dip to one side
Shows the dip to one side

Back again after a long break from Stan. The problem was that I thought the van may have a bent chassis and this was putting me off somewhat. I didn’t want to spend time and effort if the van was going to be dipping to one side. Let me explain…I understood from the previous owner’s blog that there was an incident whilst at the sand blasters where Stan was picked up with a fork lift truck; in fact you can see evidence of this on the petrol tank.

On axle stands
On axle stands

So was the chassis twisted or was it the leaf springs. The only way I could really prove this was to jack up onto 4 axle stands. Although the van looked more level, I couldn’t be sure as the driveway does have a slight camber to it. But this did prove that it made a difference.
Now during a visit by my brother Chris, he convinced me that we should remove the rear leaf springs and get them re-tempered. So after much grief we managed to get the springs off. I happened to have a couple of 6 foot fence posts ready for a repair job. We decided to push these into where the springs had come from.

Resting on fence post
Resting on fence post

Well this proved once and for all that the springs were causing the issue. This is good news and gives me the encouragement to continue.

Rear Leaf Springs - Before
Rear Leaf Springs - Before

So off to Brost forge in London go the springs. A couple of weeks later they return with the comment that one side was too high and the other too low.

Gearbox finally clean

Before additional cleaning
Spent some more time in the garage today and finally finished cleaning all the muck and grease from the gearbox. It was a very messy job, but should make working on it a bit easier without all the gunk.

After some hard graft
After some hard graft it now looks like it’s just come off the production line. Amazing what a bit of paraffin and some kitchen towel can achieve.

The engine returns

I gave Colin a call the other day and he said the engine was ready to be returned. He had completely stripped it down and re-built it. When we visited to hear the engine running, I dropped off the starter motor and carburettor. He had managed to bring these back to life as well. I need to finish off the transmission clean up before I can put the engine back in the van. The front mounts are located on the engine, but the rear ones are on the transmission.

By the way…I did offer to push the sack barrow!!

Engine Returns

Work on the transmission

Finally got some time to work on the transmission. As can be seen from the pictures below, it was covered in oily grime. Both myself and Fraser spent most of the day cleaning it up. Although there is not much evidence under all that muck, it looks like it was probably painted green.

Transmission Before 3Transmission Before 2Transmission Before 1Transmission After 1

When Colin dropped the engine off, he had a look through the inspection cover and discovered that some of the gears were worn down. Whilst discussing what I needed to do, he volunteered to have a look for me. He certainly is very knowledgeable about these old vehicles and a rare find. I would like to publicly thank him for all his efforts so far; it really is much appreciated and I am learning so much from him.

The Engine re-build

This is the engine (1500cc) as we collected it with the van from Great Yarmouth. It was in the same condition when Colin, our local BMC guru, picked it up from us.


… and here it is 4 weeks later, after he has performed his magic.

Engine After

Stan arrives

JB van

This is the last part of the journey from Great Yarmouth to Ipswich. All that is left to do is to squeeze it under the garage door, which we just about managed by deflating the tyres. I guess I’m going to need a higher garage door.

Morris JB / J Type