Brickwerks VW Blog

  • 253809171 - T3 LHD Rear Side Panel with Window

    Another big chunk of Genuine VW Hannover steel we're now keeping in stock to meet the demand for high quality panels for restorations.

    This is the Left side rear panel which is unique to Left Hand Drive (and some special order) models as it doesn't have the recess for a sliding door runner.

    So that's another panel here in the UK ready to help get your Westfalia, or Multivan back to a factory standard.

    They're not cheap granted, but they are the best!

    WEBSHOP LINK

  • JP Group visit. Brickwerks do Denmark.

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    A short write up and some photos of our trip to Viborg back in February.

    Winter had been a little mild this year in the UK. We had a sprinkling of snow but nothing to write home about. So what were a couple of cold loving Northerners to do?
    Hop on a plane to Denmark for a few days, that's what!

    We were invited to JP Group last year to have a look around the factory, warehouse and showrooms, but we were just too busy.
    We made time earlier this year in our "quiet" month and booked some flights to Copenhagen.

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    Copenhagen was our first port of call as thats where the plane landed, we stayed overnight in a hotel and had a brief look around the city the next day. It's a great place and well worth a visit for a taster of Denmark. We'd recommend it if you fancy a weekend away or a base for more exploring in Denmark and Sweden.
    We weren't here to sightsee though, so we picked up a hire car and drove the 320km to Viborg.
    Viborg is a city in the centre of Jutland and the place where King Canute set off from to give the English a kicking back when we were much less sophisticated.
    Thankfully things have changed and the Danish are much friendlier. In fact its one of the friendliest places we've been!

    Hotel rooms with saunas, bars where the patrons insist you drink their rum, and give you free t-shirts, and some amazing restaurants. We like Viborg.

    Right, thats the Brickwerks Rough Guide out of the way.
    Go to Denmark. You'll love it!

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    Friday morning 10 am, we rocked up to JP Groups headquarters and factory location a few miles North of the city centre. We were met by Martin and given what we assume is the standard factory tour. Questions were answered like "Why do the boxes smell of Tobacco" - because JP, like us re-use a lot of packaging and some comes from a tobacco company. A good thing in our eyes.

    If you've bought from Brickwerks you have very likely bought something from JP Group, they supply a lot of parts so they have this massive warehouse, with lots of parts... lots and lots of parts. Its a big place.
    So, to help the staff get around when they're picking our stuff they have these bad boys:

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    A scooter that's also a picking trolley! Sadly we cant buy one, and it wouldn't fit down the aisles at Brickwerks anyway... but we'd find somewhere to play on it if we could!

    We could show you pictures of shelves and boxes, but you can see that at Tesco, one cool bit though is the automated picking bays. Basically large moving shelves and a large robot that goes and fetches the complete shelves from high above your head so you can pick the order. It's a clever system. It's fast and something we can relate to at the moment... saves space.
    We quite fancy one of these too!

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    Next to the large warehouse is the Quality Assurance dept. This is where new products are checked and any issues that are reported are investigated.
    Now we don't get many returns if we're honest, but if there is a problem with a JP product that they need to look at, it goes here. The racks are full of test rigs and jigs and the benches are full of test equipment.
    Many people have a cynical view of returns and think that when a part is returned to a supplier they'll just deny there is an issue and look for an excuse to blame anything but the part.
    We're sure that does happen... Not here though!
    One of the refreshing things about JP is that, like us, they're concerned with any quality issues and will look at complaints. If there is a problem, it's picked up and dealt with. It's in their interests because if there is a problem with a part people will buy elsewhere.
    The people we met there also seem to know the vehicles they're dealing with and even Simon couldn't catch them out! Something else that's refreshing.

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    Other stuff goes on in other areas. A company with the contract to refurbish Danish train seats operates from one of the buildings. An impressive thing in the days of "chuck it away and buy new ones".
    There is even a display cabinet for items found down the seats... if you've ever lost a toy car on a Danish train there is a good chance its in this cabinet.
    If you've lost a dildo, its kept somewhere else away from prying eyes, apparently.
    You can probably have it back if you ask...

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    JP source parts from all over world, they also make a lot of parts on site. They have a large manufacturing unit where Exhausts and body panels are made, among other things.
    We spotted T3 Petrol and Diesel exhaust being made, front to rear coolant pipes, Front panels. All stuff we see every day but so much more interesting when you're seeing how its made.
    And forget what you may have heard about the way this stuff is made. Theres is a lot of laser this, CNC that, and robotic others. There are also a lot of skilled workers there welding and fabricating. Some of the new lines of Porsche exhausts are beautiful!

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    From the manufacturing area, we moved onto the showroom.
    This is the area where some of the JP Private Car collection is displayed, as well as samples of a lot of the parts they supply. We think there were maybe a few more of Stuttgarts finest crammed here than is usual, due to building work and the current expansion going on in other areas.
    Obviously, we're Transporter guys, but that doesn't mean we can't ogle at some sleek curvy models from time to time!
    Not just Porsche either. There is a Trekker, a few Beetles, a couple of Golfs including a Mk2 Cutaway that a VW dealer didn't have space for, a few Mercedes and and even the only existing prototype of the Logicar. Details of that HERE if you're into quirky cars. Its in German but Google will help you translate if you're not fluent. There is also some info on JP Groups facebook page HERE.

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    After we'd had our fill of exotica it was off to the Workshop.
    This is an area where JP Group work on their own vehicles. As soon as we saw the 2 T3's parked outside we knew we were amongst friends here.
    Inside on the ramp was a perfect Brown and Cream T3 undergoing assembly.
    Again, seeing a T3 in pieces on a ramp is something we're not new to, but when you see it at the company who are supplying your parts it kind of makes you realise that this isn't just a company shifting boxes around, they have a definite interest in the stuff we drive, and also in keeping them on the road.
    They're doing what many claim to do but few actually do... fitting the parts they sell themselves. We can relate to that.

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    After a mooch around the workshop, it was off to lunch and then the "work" bit of our trip... spreadsheets, powerpoint, pie charts and graphs. We won't bore you with the details of that bit.
    Lastly an evening meal in a steakhouse in Viborg followed by an early night and a drive back to Copenhagen via Dollerup to check out some scenery before we hopped back on a plane.

    All in all, a very interesting and rewarding few days.
    Loads of photos below.  You can click em to make em bigger and everything!
    Enjoy!

     

  • T3 Rear Side Panel - Right (With Window)

    These are one of our most requested panels... and one that we're almost always out of stock of when you need them most!
    So we've just taken delivery of a pallet (actually a stillage!) of Genuine NOS side panels to try and make sure they're in stock in the UK when needed.

    We guess the popularity of restoring the LHD models is why these are so in demand, but as well as the Westfalias and Multivans they also fit RHD window models too!

    And the best bit is that buying em like this spreads the shipping cost to get em here and makes em a bit cheaper for everybody :)

    WEBSHOP LINK

  • Bank Holiday!

    Afternoon!

    UPS Been, Royal Mail collection imminent.

    Busy re-stocking the shelves and getting parts booked in ready for the bank holiday.

    To our foreign customers, Monday the 29th is a national holiday so we will be closed.

    Usual rules apply, we'll open on the 30th and attempt to play catch up and ship and much as we can.

    Orders placed before 9am Monday have a pretty good chance of leaving on time, priority will go to UPS, then Royal Mail 24 then Royal Mail 48 followed by free shipping items like stickers etc.

    If we get to print any more orders in the afternoon we will, we'll do as much as we can to get as many orders out the door as possible but please remember it's a bank holiday and we have an extra days worth of orders.

    Stock levels pretty good on most parts, A sizeable delivery on Classic Parts items has just gone on the shelves, we are however awaiting a pretty big delivery from Denmark.

    Full compliment of staff for Tuesday, so, as we say, we'll do our best.

    Go, go out in your vans, enjoy the sun, remember this may actually be our summer so make the best of it whilst it lasts! Please don't break down in your vans!

  • Brickwerks Workshop Update

    As you probably know, in April 2005 SJ Baxter Motor Engineers opened a workshop in the back streets of Huddersfield. From day one we had 3 weeks worth of work and that lead time has not altered in 12 years.

    What we have found in the last 12 years is that customers come back, a lot.

    Obviously if you have a lot of repeat custom and a long lead time (3 months it has been at some points!) then new customers coming along adding to the workload only makes the waiting time longer.

    We are dealing daily with old vehicles, with the best will in the world and our experience over the last decade it has taught us that the unexpected happens and what starts off as a simple job turns into a can of worms. What is booked in for a simple service usually turns into a lot lot more.

    Vehicles have been coming, we're finding more and more that need serious amounts of work and with no slack in the system if a job goes awry then it has a knock on effect to all the other people who have waited 3 months to get a day in the workshop. We don't tend to work like other workshops, we have a limited amount of space, you book a day, we use that day, the van goes away, that's it. We know a lot of VW garages tend to work on the "just drop it off and we'll fix it when we can be bothered" principle, usually leading to heated arguments with missed holidays and such, the only vehicles left here under that understanding are ones where the job was worse than anticipated and it's simply not safe or legal to let the van go, the job is worked in and amongst the other work and finished as soon as possible.

    We're not that interested in taking any more workshop staff on, people come here because of our knowledge and experience with T3 and T4, to get another mechanic and go through the whole process again is time we simply don't have.

    So, something has to give!
    At the start of 2017 we took the decision to stop taking on new workshop customers and instead to concentrate on our loyal regular customer base and try to offer them a better service with shorter waiting times and a little more slack in the system for those unexpected problems we encounter on the way. This decision may seem a little strange but with the webshop being so successful and the backlog of new parts we need to list we feel our time is better spent on work that is cleaner and easier on my back and knees.

    The workshop is not closing, we will continue to look after our loyal customer base but if you haven't been a workshop customer before then I'm afraid we won't be able to look at your van for you.
    We feel we cannot close the workshop as it is our proving ground, where we try out, trial fit parts before they are sold on the shop and is one thing we have over our competition, we know the parts well.
    We are mechanics by trade and not salesmen just trying to shift units to meet targets, neither are we fly by night chancers who are in it for a quick buck selling things they know nothing about.
    We are serious about this and in it for the long haul but feel our time is better invested in cleaner work that isn't so harsh on our bodies, for us this is the best way forward, we retain our workshop and effectively keep our hand in with all things mechanical and also keep our regulars happy.

    Simon.

  • Easter Backlog

    Blimey Charlie, you lot have been a bit frivolous this weekend, we were expecting a quiet one this morning judging by what we read online as every man and his dog seems to have been out camping this weekend and not rolling around in their drive!

    It's like this. We've come in to work to a right pile of orders, a lot more than we were expecting.

    We've also come in to a massive pile of emails too, more than we were expecting...

    We started a bit earlier than usual and there will be more of us packing trying to clear the back log.

    We'll try and get as much out of the door today as we can on a first come first served basis. Orders in first take priority. If we get this lot clear (unlikely) then we'll print some more off and keep packing for as long as we can, we want as much out of the way as we can the same as you want to receive your stuff but please understand we've got 4 days worth of orders to catch up with and it looks like you've been ordering a bit more on top!

    Same goes for the emails, don't expect a reply 10 minutes after sending an email today! we'll work through them as fast as we can!

    Luckily it looks like our neighbours and some other local businesses have been busy too as we're fully stocked on used boxes! Got some nice big ones too for those flipping wheel arch liners...

  • Easter!

    How do.

    Right, we're done for Easter now.

    Shut Friday (14th April)
    Obviously shut over the weekend.
    Shut Monday (17th April)

    We're back at work Tuesday (18th) morning ready to clear the bank holiday backlog.

    We've tried to get as much stuff listed on the webshop that people are waiting for and also tried to get as many deliveries as we can booked in, we still have a few pallets of stuff to put away after the chaos of the stock take but it's mostly back to normal now.

    The first orders will leave Tuesday hopefully it should start trickling through to customers by Wednesday.

    As you know, we come in on a morning and print all the orders and start packing, if we have time then we'll print more as the day goes by but if the last few weekends orders are anything to go by then orders placed on Monday may not actually leave on Monday, we'll do our best to fulfil orders using the first come first served basis.

  • 2017 Stock Take. Sigh.

    Its April, that means another Brickwerks Birthday (12yrs old now... soon be a teenager!).
    It also means the annual stock take will take place this coming week.
    So, after around 3pm on TUESDAY APRIL 4th no orders will be shipped until Friday 7th April.

    The webshop will still operate and take orders all through stock take - its our hardest working employee :D however no stock will be moved in our out until we've done counting. Everything!
    We won't be making any counter sales or picking any orders for collection after 3PM Tuesday either, so please bear that in mind if you're local.

    There are 5 of us now so whilst we have a load more stock to count and a whole extra building to deal with we aim to have it completed by close of play on Thursday.

    It's only once a year (thank god), and we'd rather not do it if we're honest, but it sets any stock discrepancies right (which is a good thing!) and gives us a year end stock value for the accounts and insurance, so it's necessary.
    We also nearly always find cool stuff that we've forgotten about, so that's another bonus.

    Random picture of the new Panel Store...

  • Sales to the US and Canada - *Updated MAR '17*

    Shortly after we opened the workshop doors in April 2005 we started selling parts, quite by accident really but selling parts none the less.

    Once our insurance company got wind of it we were immediately made to write a letter and sign a piece of paper promising not to sell directly to the highly litigious societies of USA and Canada.

    In honesty, we've buckled under the pressure, we're pretty bored of the pile of emails daily and we've stumped up to cover ourselves in insurance to sell parts to North America.

    So, shipping rates are set, insurance set, fill your boots! (been doing so for a couple of weeks just to make sure everything worked)

    Yes, it does mean you can now just buy a sticker!

    Notes on postage.

    • Royal Mail is our Post Office, keep it under 2kg for sensible prices.
    • UPS, you must know that right?! (usual transit time is approx 2 days going by recent orders but obviously the more we send the more we'll get a feel for it and advise accordingly.)

    If it says it's in stock, it's in stock.

    Orders as always are printed as soon as we recieve them, they go in the queue with the rest and are packed and shipped ASAP.

    Christopher at T3 Technique will continue to sell our parts, we're grateful for all his help over the years, he'll still get preferential rates over retail prices so if you need something quick then Christopher is your man.

    Please note we are a business that makes a living repairing rusty old vans and selling parts for them online, we are not in the business of tax evasion, we will under no circumstances devalue our shipments so you don't have to pay import duty, sorry! Other unscrupulous companies may do this for you, we don't so please don't ask!!

  • Genuine VW Relay Levers back in stock.

    Its nice to have these back again as a Genuine part after we had to reject the last lot of aftermarket ones leaving us with no stock.

    These are genuine VW and in days when everything is going up in price are cheaper than the last lot of VW ones we had. Bonus.

    Available separately HERE or as part of a linkage refurb kit.

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