He desperately hopes a technician will donate their free time and make the vehicle mechanically sound in time for the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four’s TV film next year.
Former BFG worker Simon purchased the 1967/1968 Bedford on eBay more than two years ago, and since then, he and his wife Petra have spent their spare time and money restoring it.
Once returned to top condition, the coach will be used for charitable purposes, such as giving children with cancer a treat, but it will also be available to hire for special functions.
The father of two became fascinated with the 1967 Beatles TV film after playing a small part in it as a seven-year-old child actor.
It led him to amass MMT memorabilia worth at least €100,000 – with the blue and yellow coach as the showpiece of his collection.
Simon, who splits his time between Hessisch Oldendorf, where he lives, and Bonn, where he works, said: “When I purchased the coach in January 2014, it had just passed its MoT and was supposedly in great shape for its age.
“But when I began to strip it down, I saw rust as far as the eye could see and a lot of rotting wood. The floor was so rotten beneath the driver’s seat that I was surprised it hadn’t gone through it.
The 56-year-old former German Guard Service (GGS) worker, who paid more than €10,000 for the vehicle and transportation to Germany from the UK, has rebuilt the engine and now it runs better than ever. The Bedford is currently stored in a barn near Hameln and is up for a new paint job next.
“The restoration is about 50 per cent complete, but one thing we can’t do ourselves is fix the worn out steering and the leaking brakes. We can’t seem to find a mechanic in Germany who is familiar with these old Bedford coaches,” said Simon.
Only two Bedford VAL Panorama coaches with the famous livery and fittings were made by Fox of Hayes – one in 1967 and another in 1968 – with the former being used in the controversial psychedelic film. The latter bus has a long history that includes being used for sightseeing tours in Liverpool.
“Having dismantled the coach, I keep finding things that suggest this could be the actual one used
in the film, but I have no definite evidence yet,” he said.
“Due to the many changes made to the coach over its life, it is hard to know what year it
was made in. It really is a mystery project!
“A Dutch company came to film it and was convinced that it was the original because of how closely it resembles the one in the film. A few weeks ago a German film crew was here. There’s so much interest in the coach.”
Simon has received much support for his project from the Beatles Stammtisch in Hannover, of which he is a long-time member.
The fan club plans to mark in big style the half century since the film first hit TV screens, on Boxing Day 1967.
To join in the celebratory fun, Simon is desperate to have his coach made roadworthy. But there are still a lot of repairs to carry out and he has lost valuable time.
“In the meantime, people have wanted to book the coach for all kinds of events but I have had to turn them away.
“I purchased the coach with the main aim of collecting donations to give to cancer funds, so I really want to see the Bedford finished and fully running – and looking just like it did in 1967.
“I will never give up. This project means too much to me.”