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Today I had an unexpected visit from a local chappy. I saw him outside eyeing up my T3 Syncro camper as he got out of his white T4 panel van. A little curious I waited but then the knock on the door led me to venture outside.

He introduced himself and asked if I knew anyhing about T4 Syncro vans. I admitted I knew the basics but that was all. Then he went on to tell me his was a Syncro and that he had another for sale locally. Turns out he was a mile down the road.

So we drive down to a local farm I know and there sits an elderly T4 panel van, blue in colour and looking a bit scruffy. I identified it as an ex-Transco van by the colour and roof beacon (lense missing!)

He explained it was his old work van and that due to a gearbox problem in 2008, he was forced to buy his current van. The blue van was sent to VW for a replacement gearbox, rear brakes, exhaust and a few other bits (bills were still on the dash!) but by the time it was done he had a newer van and it sat on the farm until now.

On inspection its a rough looking thing with some rust evident around the arches, slider step and bits here and there but mainly surface rust and treatable. A couple of long slight creases in the paint through driving mishaps and a dent on one side of the slider seemed to be the limit on the rest. So bodywise - scruffy.

Inside was typical workhorse fayre. Bits of trim missing from the cab, full height bulkhead and a used load area. Being a panel van it had original lining panels but some were missing and the roof lining panels had sagged.

Under the bonnet was untidy, covered in pine leaves and showed its lack of use. But apart from the air inlet filter housing and battery seemed pretty complete. I saw a mouse under the battery tray and commented it looked like it had been using insulation pads from the bulkhead as bedding. When I looked up to the bonnet liner it was moving. When poked a large family of mice then exited.

Upon fitting a charged car battery (too small, but good enough to try to turn it over) we were surprised the van started first time. After being stood at least 6 years in that spot the owner was overjoyed and after a little smoke cleared it ticked over with no issues.

The owner told me he needed to move it on in a week as they were moving premises and the van had to go. A deal was struck and I collect the van this weekend.

I've named it 'Kleine Maus' (little mouse) after its occupants and a german dance track from the 90's.

My plan is to give it a really good clean, inside and out then get it to my local test centre to assess its true state. Once we have a ticket on it I will service it and press it into daily use asd I need a van short term for work. Then over time the plan is to camperise it and fit some lift gear, better wheels and AT tyres and paint it with some satin paint. Possibly grey or brown to go with the mouse theme :)
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