We now had a good idea of the overall condition of the Splitty. Our focus now was agreeing a specification. This would give the project a strong sense of direction and purpose. Something we sorely needed now.

We kicked around all the options. This was worse than Brexit! We all generally agreed originality should be kept wherever possible, but for different reasons. Steve wanted to avoid the headache of mind blowing alterations. Neil was not in any way relishing the idea of dealing with multiple suppliers of modified parts that weren’t up to his exacting standards. Paul and I agreed, as there are so few of these now, this UK RHD Splitty should be given the best possible chance to return to factory specifications, with maybe a few modern tweaks. Eyes were raised on the other side of the table. I ordered more coffee.

After more discussion, we agreed the big areas. Engine, running gear, transmission, suspension, all original, well nearly. We’ll come back to that. The body was to be kept original as possible along with exterior colour, but with a twist. Wheels, tyres, same as above. And the interior, well we couldn’t agree here. The permutations were endless. We decided having agreed the majority, we’d quit whist we were ahead. Almost. Paul introduced two additions.
There was a long pause. Could we tidy up the engine ancillaries, tin work etc, and make sure the engine was sound. Another long pause, broken by a smile from Steve. That was a given anyway. The engine was coming out, there was no way we wouldn’t check it all over and a refresh was easy. Phew!

Now came the biggie. Could we turn the Splitty in to a full Samba, with roof windows and sunroof. Neil and Steve looked at us, looked at each and sat back simultaneously sipping their coffee. They wanted time to think.

​A week later we all returned. We’d all left the last meeting agreeing to do some research on the roof modifications, assess the cost/time and make some judgments. Neil opened. Technically, we have the skills, we can do it, he announced. Great news. We nearly high fived each other. Calm down. The snag was there was only one supplier and initial conversations with that supplier hadn’t filled him with confidence. The sun roof came as a kit, well more like several kits within one kit. The roof lights were the same. Then the rear side windows were technically available but not one single supplier could or would commit to a date or price or time of delivery. We were still suppressing the urge to high five. Steve chipped in. His view was it would add value to the Splitty, no question. He didn’t think the full sun roof was a major technical obstacle for his team. Nor the roof windows. And moreover, it made sense to do them both. He expressed some nervousness about suppliers, but he thought that could be overcome. And the rear side windows were not a problem if they could be sourced. Now it was about co-ordination the overall revival of the Splitty with the mods and making it all hang together. If suppliers held things up, then everything would be held up and project timelines would drift.

Brilliant. We all agreed. Keep the Splitty original, convert to a Samba roof and as we go, agree what the interior would look like. Let’s get going.

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