About Betty Bus


Her full name is Frau Beatrice Bacon von Bus, but she is affectionately known as Betty Bus.

She’s a 1991 Westfalia California and lived in Germany until the summer of 2011 when she moved England. Β Her current owners are Dan and Rosana, who took ownership of her in the autumn of 2011.

She’s based on a Volkswagen T4 Caravelle and is powered by a 5 cylinder, 2.4 litre diesel engine. Other than a pair of clear indicators at the front, she’s pretty much as VW and Westfalia intended.

This blog is intended as our personal diary of Betty’s adventures just so we stand a chance of remembering where we have been when we are old and senile.


19 thoughts on “About Betty Bus

  1. Hi Folks,
    cheers for reading my ramblings of a fool…am enjoying your blogs with Betty, and will go back home fearing the cool welcome for campers in English holiday spots, after living wild in Europe!
    Love the van!
    Good luck on your travels.

    • Thanks. We’re still near the beginning of your blog entries, but especially love the Norway stuff, happy memories of travelling through Norway before we got the van, really want to go back but may need to sell some gandmothers first to finance it! It’s not so bad here really. Only a few places we’ve been so far seem to have an issue. Scotland feels the most welcoming by far though, if you haven’t already been then the west coast is highly recommended πŸ™‚

      • Yep, I’d love to go through Scotland. We had intended to start there, but we left too late in the year, so had to get straight over to Denmark.
        You’re right, while Norway is fantastic, it’s very expensive. Worth it though.
        We’ve got the bug for it…even though we’ve been going for six months….we can still remain quite civil, in the close confines of the van.
        Cheers, Kevin.

  2. Looks like we have a lot in common ^_^ Looking forward to following your travels online; always good to see what other vanners get up to.
    Greetings from North Wales,
    Babs B

  3. Hiya, yes, looks like we use our vans for similar adventures πŸ™‚ Love the photos on your blog. We have got to try horse pulled mountain boarding!

  4. Nice to see the stories about an early westfalia πŸ˜€
    Now being currious, do you know the production date or the date she left the westfalia factory? My cousin has a ’90 T4 that left the factory early ’91 and is as so far as known the oldest T4 westfalia around. Maybe you’ve beaten him πŸ™‚

    • Hi there,

      Yes, our van was first registered (in Germany) in May 1991. She rolled off of VW’s production line in September 1990 if I remember correctly. There are a few about of this era, Calibusje from Belgium who comments on here sometimes has one of a very similar age as well I think, maybe a month older than ours!

      Thanks for the kind comments. I’ve had a couple of minis back in the early 90’s. Someone gave me a white 850 minivan that never made it onto the road – we towed it to a scrapyard… Then I had a green mini 1000, a ’79 V reg I think.

  5. It’s a small world, seems Calibusje is my cousin πŸ™‚ I accidentely came on your blog while searching when our T4 van came out of the factory. It’s first registered 21/6/91 and I’m wondering how many older ones are still around.
    Shame about the minivan but to be honnest years ago I towed an old mini to the scrapyard to while now I would heve it restored. I wished someone have me an old mini.

  6. Hi guys, Patrick here. only just remembered the name of the van and got there with Google. once again, thanks for the weekend saving repair on the roof!

    • Hi Patrick, great to hear from you. Hope you and and your family are well. Just glad we could help with your roof – it was such a lovely weekend it would have been a shame for you to go home early. Our photos from that weekend are on the blog here: http://goo.gl/TKFkxo if you are interested. Hopefully get back down that away again the year, it’s such a beautiful part of the world.

  7. Just had a quick look around your blog. Great writing and fantastic pictures. You’ve been to some interesting places and we’ll look forward to reading about more of your trips
    John & Nancy

    • Thanks for the kind comments. We’re off the road at the moment with a broken engine, but hope to be back having adventures soon! Good luck with your tour of Europe and beyond, we’ll be following your progress on your blog πŸ™‚

  8. Love your blog. We have a ’92 white 2.4D Westy just like yours. We’ve had it 2-1/2 years now. First big trip in 2012 was 8 weeks round Europe – and we’d never even slept in it until that first night at Dover. We did just over 5,000 miles (NOT kms!) on that trip, getting 31 mpg. How does that compare? The bus now as 266,000 kms on the clock. Last year at a VW garage in Germany (broken alternator belt) we discovered it’s birthday – 4th May, 1992. You can’t beat a good old ‘un!
    Off again this week to the Peak District, about 2 hours from home (N. Yorkshire).
    Keep up the great work with your blog.

    • Thanks for the kind comments Geoff. I think we averaged around 32-34mpg on the Ireland trip, but most of the driving was on single lane back roads and mountain passes! We have all the documentation for our van, so know it came off of VW’s production line in September 1990 and went to Westfalia for conversion, and was first registered in Munich in May 1991. We wanted to take the van back to the garage that sold it one day for a visit, but it’s in an Umwelt Zone now. Enjoy the Peaks, love it there – especially the Edale area.

  9. We enjoyed our (very) brief stay in the peak district, shortly followed by 16 very hot and sunny days in Luxembourg, eastern France and back through Germany (no tolls) although we avoided most of the toll autoroutes – a much nicer way to see France. This was the first time out of 3 trips into Europe that we’ve managed to get round without having a breakdown – although the ignition lock failed on us just a week after our return. This has now been replaced with an OE part rather than the cheapo Chinese one Form Ebay I’d fitted just 8 months previously. There’s probably a moral there, as our local VW ‘specialist’ garage told us they used to fit the cheap ones, but quickly learned not to – the hard way. Worth remembering if you suffer the same problem.

    We’ve also had a couple of other jaunts since then: Devon & Cornwall for a 8 days with a wedding thrown in – you should have seen us ‘glammed up’ on Riverside campsite at Plymouth (recommended) – then a tour of the Northumberland coast which included a visit to Scarborough for a couple of nights on the way home. 273,000kms on the clock now.

    Now looking at replacing the exhaust front pipe which has just started ‘blowing’ a little. All part of the fun of owning a ‘future heritage’ van, I suppose. I think you’ll be familiar with that sentiment. How’s Betty running these days – did you ‘de-turbo’ her or not? I seem to remember you saying that you weren’t altogether happy with it. I considered fitting a turbo myself, but thought the better of it eventually: nothing better than a simple, straightforward 5-cylinder ‘clatterbox’ under your bonnet, with a minimum of things to go wrong. What’s the point of simply adding to your worries?

    My current needs are to get the hook-up charger working correctly (French hook-up with reversed polarity seemed to have caused the problem, but still charging from the alternator), then get the Eberspacher serviced and sorted. Ah well, it will keep me out of the pub I suppose.

    Hope you keep on enjoying yourselves with Betty – just like we do with ours. It’s still un-named after all this time: we just can’t agree on one!


    • Hi Geoff,

      Nice to hear about your travels, glad you’ve managed to complete a tour without seeing a garage! That’s a dream our ours!

      Van is running generally very well, but we’ve had a small problem with the cooling system since the engine was rebuilt, but hopefully that is being solved today with a new head gasket.

      We did remove the turbo during the rebuilt and so far I haven’t missed it, that’s probably more of a reflection on how sick the old engine was rather than the effect of forced induction though. I do like the idea of the simpler engine.

      We had to fit a new exhaust as the back section rotted while the van was off the road and the MOT was due. I decided to replace the whole system with a long life stainless exhaust. Jury is out on that one at the moment, it’s quite ‘boomy’ at low RPM which I don’t like. It also hangs down a little lower which I don’t like. It is shiny though πŸ™‚

      Not sure how ‘reverse polarity’ would have affected the charger. It’s more to do with the safety of the system as the British tend to isolate only one pole. As we have German vans that isn’t an issue anyway, more so as we probably wouldn’t work on the electrical system with the hookup plugged in. I think that’s probably just coincidence.

      Happy Travels πŸ™‚

  10. Bettybus you are living our dream, for sure we managed the UK part but sadly my health took a really bad turn and I was forced to give up a great deal of my life! Or indeed very possibly my life itself, having been through 3 all T4’s by that point a custom/surf bus then a self designed camper
    that we had a great deal of input into! And latterly a full blown Autosleeper motorhome a “Trophy” model the one with the grafted on toilet/shower pod which was a 2.0l petrol unit (ahhhhh I hear you say!! As did I when I hummed and hawed over buying it, but having test driven it I was sure it was the one for us, and as I say it was up and until I was unable to walk, ending up in a wheelchair and subsequently unable to get in the van let alone drive it, broke my heart but she had to go, which I’ve got to say has left a large gap in our lives as the freedom it afforded us was quite amazing, a freedom that just wasn’t or indeed isn’t available in modern life at all, so my bus was our home, and we loved it dearly accordingly, what I would say is don’t be put off by the 2.4D or my own 2.0l petrol, on a motorway run it was easily returning 30+mpg and around town or in traffic around 20mpg but if you compare that to a FULL motorhome as that’s what she is its not really all that bad, and I tell you what I don’t know if they all drove like mine did, but I drove it up the motorway some 80 odd miles and I never came out of 5th once that’s my kind of driving “cruising” makes the whole experience so much more a restful experience !!!!!! As having had 2.5tdi first then1.9td the 2,0l was a welcome addition bug alas it’s gone, but my cravings for the open road and touring haven’t, so I am looking at the Caddy Max as an alternative that’s possibly going to work for us if a donner car can be found at the right costs and condition, with all I both want and need on it then I might be writing a similar blog myself πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Meantime I am about to open “The Volkswagen Transporter Gallery” at both @VWT4 and @vwtransporters on Twitter where it’s intended to collate the largest single collection of VW Transporters worldwide if you wish to submit any suitable images feel free to send any/all to us at vwtransporter@mail.com for inclusion the more the merrier, we’re happy to accept any models or yrs from anywhere worldwide……………..

    Regards Dougie

  11. Hey Dan & Rosana
    it’s been very quit at the northern front these last months – all well with Betty and you both?
    Hope to read from you soon – and trying to update our own blog (which is, however, written in Dutch :-)…

    • Hi πŸ˜‰ Yes we are both well, thanks. Life has been very busy over the winter and we haven’t been able to get away much. Sadly we have decided it is time to sell Betty Bus 😦 We will still be campervanning, having adventures and getting lost by following our TomTom’s instructions and there should be a new blog coming when I get time, but we have a slightly different van now (a Toyota). I had a look at your blog, but I will need to run it through a translator. I like the pictures though!

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