A group of highly talented Motor Vehicle Level 2 Diploma students and their tutors, based at London South East Colleges’ Bromley Campus, have unveiled their latest customised masterpiece this week.

A retro, early 1970s VW Camper van, bought locally, has been given a remarkable makeover in a project lasting nearly six months.

The van was wheeled into the workshop in January, badly in need of care and attention after many years on the road touring the continent. Drastic bodyworks were required, its suspension system needed to be completely replaced, new drive shafts added, new wheels and tires, headlamps, exhaust system, windscreen and wipers, window winders and carpets fitted and a respray followed by a professional wrapping of the College’s branding elements to the exterior.

“It came into the workshop just as it was starting to become decrepit. It was old and damaged and barely in a functional state anymore,” said motor vehicle tutor Curtis Farrell. “We knew immediately that we had a job on our hands to fully restore it. But that is exactly what we’ve done; transformed it into something very special.”

Three groups of level 2 students have been busy grappling with a range of complex tasks to fully refit its most important components, diagnose problems, strip down and refurbish old parts into new, and utilise the workshop's modern tools and resources to keep costs to a minimum.

Curtis continued: “I’ve been totally blown away with how the students have engaged with this project. Some have even been coming in to college on Saturday mornings to continue their work.”

Chaniece Walker, 19, from Croydon, is currently studying her level 2 course and would like to work as a motor mechanic. Her ambition is to one day be a member of a Formula 1 pit crew. She said: “What I’ve really loved about the restoration of the van is seeing it slowly transform. After the respray and branding it just looked so fabulous. All the painstaking hard work and attention to detail has paid off.”

Fellow student James Jeffries, 19, from Swanley, has also been an active member of the team. He would like to join the Army Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He said: “We’ve worked as team to ensure the van has been completed on time and to budget. We have learnt lots of new skills and mechanical engineering techniques to achieve the results we wanted. I’m so proud of it and can’t wait to see it out on the road.”

The van will now be used to promote the College and its courses and is due to make its first public appearance at the College’s marquee at Biggin Hill Festival of Flight in August. We then intend to take the van on the road throughout the College year on visits to schools and other corporate events.

A big thank you must go to Senior Motor Vehicle Technician Michael Armstrong who, along with Curtis, has helped guide the students to this magnificent achievement. More restoration projects are planned for the new academic year beginning in September 2018.

If you think you have what it takes to become a professional motor mechanic or diagnostic technician and build a successful career in the automotive industries, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses to get you started. Come along to one of our open events.

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