Having restored my H van to a beautiful vintage catering van to use as a business for festivals, weddings and events, it has given me a new way of life and it’s one I love.
Nothing can prepare you for the experience of driving your H van (sometimes mistaken for a HY van). Approaching from the left side the first thing you’ll notice is the brilliant design of this amazing van. You will then open the door, which opens backwards to the way we know it. Once you have opened this lightweight door you’ll step up onto the side plate to get in with an outside handle to help you step up. You’ll clock the wonderful original seat if you are as lucky as me to have the original one, which is made up on a frame and then sprung on springs for the padded seat cover to sit on; surprisingly it is very comfortable to sit in. Sadly I had to buy a new seat cover for the passengers side but still looks good with the original frame and springs. You become very focused on keeping as much of your van original. The split screen is also another delightful design of the 1956 H Van.
Now you have embarked and find a very limited dashboard in front of you, as well as a gear stick and handbrake, which are a very simple, old fashioned design. It has a strange way to start this vehicle but I won’t give it away here as I am keen on keeping her!!!
The van only have 3 gears and reversing is a bit of a wake up call, as to drive you have to concentrate on your terrain. This van was built for short journeys to move light goods around towns 60 years ago, definitely not the modern day trips I do in her to get to festivals and weddings.
If it’s a long journey I tend to drive for an hour before stopping to cool the engine as well as top up the water. Top speed is 45 mph!!! A lot of vintage vans don’t drive so are taken to events on a trailer, always a talking point to those who appreciate the workings of this amazing van.We always get a crowd looking at her in the service station and have photos taken which is fun to be centre of attention.
On arriving to the event I am attending you typically are in a good mood, as you’ll find out if your thinking of purchasing a H van, people wave at you or just smile as our Little Van Rouge makes people happy. She is a very well photographed vintage vehicle at all weddings and festivals.
Setting up for the day takes an hour and can be heavy going with gas bottles as well as tables and chairs to get into place. I have the setting up down to a fine art now, having done a far few events with her. I love going to new places and introducing her to a new fan base as we tend to get invited to new events while at a current event. Once she has been seen she isn’t forgotten and is very attractive to any gathering, she would certainly give your guests at a wedding memories to treasure.