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National Retro Day: Meet our Coaches!

5 Mar 2021



On 27th February, we’ll be celebrating all-things retro. Recognised as a time before the internet, smartphones and social media, we’ll be reminiscing about what many refer to as ‘simpler times.’ 


And what better way to participate than to celebrate the impressive roles that our classic coaches have played here at Dews Coaches? Each unique in charm but exemplary in style, our retro and vintage coaches certainly throw us back into a pool of nostalgia: when Dews began to take their first coach tours abroad and Simon was getting his first experience behind the wheel. 


So, take the roller skates off (momentarily), turn the cassette player off, and immerse yourself in the world of retro, as we throw it back to the decades which played such an important part of our lives.




What is Retro Day?


Do you ever ask yourself “Remember when?” 


It’s a question every generation looks back on, with fond memories and a desire for the good ol’ days.


Officially, National Retro Day was founded in 2018 by three individuals: Robert and Tina Duran, and Hermelinda A. Aguilar. Their aim was simple: they wanted people to unplug, spend more time with family, and throw themselves into a period in history that they believed was more ‘care-free.’ 


The founders recognised that for anyone born after the late 1990s, they have little recollection of life without the internet, smartphones, or social media. But for the founders, the years before this digital revolution were arguably some of their favourite:

'Some of the best memories of times past were never recorded without 21st-century distractions were more fulfilling and focused on spending quality time with one another.’ 



So, they sought to create an unofficial holiday which reminds us of these times and help us  remember the significance of our relationships and experience through real-life connections with people. 


Celebrated on February 27th, National Retro Day does exactly that. It’s a day which takes us back to our childhoods and teenagehoods - a time long before the use of smartphones and the internet - and reminisce about all the joys (and struggles) that came with a far less digitised way of living. 


No matter which decade was your favourite, it’s a time to immerse yourself in the past - and revel in memories which brought you so much joy. So, whether you’re swooping your hair up with a polka-dot banadana, or swapping your smartphone for the stereo deck - enjoy throwing it back this February and lose yourself in all things retro. 



Celebrating Our Retro Coaches


Nothing screams retro here at Dews more than our fleet of classic coaches. With two unique coaches available for private hire: the 1972 Val and 1982 Duple - both of them are sure to add personality to any occasion.


Want to learn a little more about them and how they’ve shaped Dews Coaches’ history? Keep reading to find out more about two of our most treasured vehicles: our retro coaches. 


Our 1972 Bedford VAL Plaxton Elite


dews-coaches-bedford-VALPhoto credit:


Bedford VALs were popular coaches of choice in the 1960s - a time when mini skirts and flares were the must-have wardrobe staples, and the first ‘modern’ colour shows were being broadcast on British TV. 


Here at Dews, we’ve been operating Bedford VAL coaches since the swinging sixties, where they played a key role in our regular service runs and established Dews in our first 15 or so years of operation.


Even as the decade passed and we grew into the 1970s, the Bedford VALs continued to shape Dews Coaches, with the first European tour being delivered by David Dew on-board one of these iconic vehicles.


But it’s not not just here at Dews Coaches where the Bedford VAL was a popular vehicle of choice. In fact, the Bedford VAL rose to fame after being the vehicle of choice for The Beatles in their Magical Mystery Tour film which aired on the BBC on December 26, 1967. 


the-beatles-magical-mystery-tour-busPhoto credit:


The loosely-scripted movie depicted a group of people, including the four stars of the band, on a British mystery tour in a 1959 Bedford VAL Panorma Coach bus. The premise was largely inspired by Ken Kesey’s Furthur bus adventures with the Merry Prankseters as well as the then hugely popular coach trips which took holiday-makers from Liverpool to see the Blackpool Lights. 


In the 1980s, Hard Rock Cafe acquired the Magical Mystery Tour bus, where they spent $100,000 and 2,000 man-hours to fully restore it back to its former 1960s glory. Today, the bus remains stored in the Hard Rock Cafe warehouse, where it remains the single largest object in their collection. 


After the Magical Mystery Tour, the Bedford VAL continued to play starring roles in other famous films of the decade. Fans of epic 1960s movies may remember seeing this style of coach feature in that memorable scene in The Italian Job (1969). 


The twin-steer Bedford VAL which makes up part of our retro fleet today was actually acquired in 1988, arriving just in time for Simon to take his coach test in. Since then, it’s been a key player in the family business ever since, where it helped Simon to win coach driver of the year in Brighton in the year 2000, and continues to provide a reliable service for weddings and other private coach hire bookings. 


Photo credit:



Our 1982 Bedford Duple


dews-coaches-bedford-duplePhoto credit:


The 1980s were a time of great pop culture, with some of the best movies, music and TV shows of all time having been created. 


It was a time when musical icons; AC/DC, Queen and Bon Jovi thrived, and British-born bands like Duran Duran and Wham! began to receive worldwide recognition. Meanwhile, some of the best movies in history Top Gun, Gremlins, Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters were landing on the big screen. 


But the 1980s were far more than just a surge in pop culture. Car enthusiasts will remember vehicles such as the Ford Capri, Cortina and Audi Quattros being hugely popular. While here at Dews, we remember it being the decade our distinctive Bedford Duple was built. 


Although Bedford coaches have been a part of our fleet since we began in 1953, it wasn’t until the 1980s where we used coaches similar to the Duple for our services and private hire - mainly due to the reliability that the earlier Bedford VALs provided. 


Our 1982 Duple is actually a fairly new addition to our fleet, having been acquired back in 2011. Although a relatively new addition to the Dews, it’s certainly put in its fair share of shifts, standing in for private hire bookings, weddings and other retro events. 


dews-coaches-bedford-duplePhoto credit:


Retro & Vintage Coaches for Hire in Cambridgeshire


Looking for a retro or vintage coach to add some charm to your day?


Unique in style and steeped in history, our classic coaches are certain to bring back nostalgic memories from the 1940s and beyond. From retro events and parties to vintage wedding bus hire, our collection of vehicles are the picture-perfect backdrop for any special occasion. 


Seating between 29 to 53 guests, they’re available for bookings in Cambridge, Peterborough, and other areas in and around the county of Cambridgeshire. 


Find out more about our vintage coaches for hire and request an obligation-free quote from our customer liaison team. 


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