First there was Type 3 Detectives (T3D), which we set up in 1994. We traveled around the world (Europe and California mainly) locating & purchasing hard to find VW Type 3 parts and dragging them home to sell via our small magazine adverts and an expanding network of Type 3 owners. Around this time we were building some pretty cool Resto Cal Type 3′s in our spare time, which were getting pretty good exposure in magazines—these cars were perhaps partly responsible for the increased interest in this previously overlooked model.
In 1996, we were one of the first VW-based companies in the UK to get its own website and slowly the business grew more global. Also in 1996, after having a succession of small retail shops, we moved into our first workshop. In this workshop we carried out everything from basic engine servicing to full restos. Working with a very small team, it was still a struggle to make things really work. Particularly, trying to do full restos with such limited manpower, it really stretched us time wise. Looking back, I think we still had not found the magic formula.
It was shortly after this period that three or four things happened which changed the way the company was run. Matt Balls walked in and offered his services to the company; he was a multi-talented mechanic with the skills & passion to take things in the workshop to another level. He also had a head full of ideas and the ability to convert these ideas into cars that would get us media attention like we had never before witnessed.
We also moved to a much larger and more suitable workshop over this time where we still operate from today. It now has five ramps, a machine shop, a spray booth. It is modern, clean and very warm in the winter. We are very proud of our workshop and we try to keep it as clean and tidy as possible.
Leading up to this time of change in our business, we had also been asked more and more to supply, service, lower, and maintain an increasing amount of Type 2 Camper Vans, and so over a period of 2-3 years, our main stream of customers became Type 2 owners and our product range and list of services were developed accordingly.
By 2008, we had two very busy sides of the company. T3D, which was still locating, selling, and exporting a large amount of Type 3 parts via www.type3detectives.com and T2D which was quickly becoming one of the most recognised names within the UK VW scene with what we believe is the most well-equipped & staffed Aircooled VW garage in the UK.
Our workshops expanded further in 2010, and in the last year, we have employed more very experienced staff who are helping us further develop our brand.
We now have many pillars to the business: we service & lower literally hundreds of VWs in a year, but also have a very busy on-site trim shop, an in-house machine shop, and offer high-quality fabrication & paint.
Our Type 2 parts side of the business designs, manufactures, and sells its own range of high-end lowering and mechanical performance products for Camper vans from 1950-1990. We also prepare & sell rust-free Camper vans, which we import from the USA.
One thing we never grow tired of is being able to offer expert advice over the phone or by email. It’s always a pleasure to get people out of a fix and back on the road again.
We think way, way outside the box, being the very first to do something different is where it’s at for us.
I love the way the air-cooled and water-cooled scenes have started to mesh in recent years. We are getting more and more requests from outside our immediate scene—it has put a fresh slant on things. Add some T2D flavor to more than just air-cooled VWs. Bring it on!
To find out more about us, why not join the 7000+ who follow us on Facebook. You can also log onto www.the-t2d-blog.com or www.type2detectives.com, drop us an email, or pick up the phone to discuss your needs.
With a hard-slammed water-cooled body on an air-cooled chassis, the air-cooled Golf built by Matt Balls of the Type 2 Detectives mob is an exact symbol of what Panned represents—giving and taking from each scene. There are no rules. There are no guidelines.
Massive thanks to Paul Medhurst (T2D boss) for momentarily deferring his endless hustle and bustle at T2D to give us an inside look at who they are and what they represent. Keep changing the game!