High On Life
VW CAMPER & BUS|July 2019

Tired of his slammed, big engined and perfectly painted Split, Luke Villiers discovered a stock height Bay was what he’d been really missing all along

Mark Walker

If you’ve been into Buses for as long as Luke Villiers then you’ll identify with what we’re about to say. Many of us got into Buses because we wanted something to get away in and were attracted to the looks of a particular VW. We didn’t really pay much attention to things like model years, type of conversion or things like stance. In fact, back when I got into Buses, there wasn’t as much choice as there is now and you relied on finding vehicles for sale in the local classified ads, or knocking on doors and leaving notes.

If you remember those days and are an active member of the VW scene, at some point you’ve probably ended up with a Bus that is lowered and fitted with a larger than stock engine. If so, you’ve probably spent countless hours obsessing over things like wheels and are well versed in the art of bracing yourself for impact every time you spot a pothole heading your way.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that – lowered VWs look the nuts, fact - but when speaking to Luke Villiers before writing this feature, I got a real sense that we’d been on a similar journey and ended up in a pretty similar place, feeling somewhat displaced by owning a Bus that was the polar opposite of the reason we both got into these things in the first place…

Star treatment

For Luke, it was owning a cover star, or more specifically a brown ’55 Split that graced the cover of this very publication back in 2008, that made him realise how far he’d come from where he started. Luke says: “I’d ended up with a lowered and big-engined Split and an Oval, but was too precious about them and with my kids growing up, I felt like I needed a change.” Fortunately, change was right around the corner as just after the feature Luke was offered a serious wedge of cash for his Split at the VolksWorld Show. This gave him the shove he needed to make some changes, but he wasn’t entirely on board with the idea of building a simple VW he could jump in and enjoy just yet.

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