Every bus I ever bought came with something special tucked away inside or thrown in as an incentive during purchase negotiations. Big Blue came with the original power cord to plug the bus into campsite electric, some original paperwork, and lost spare change. One parts bus came with another power cord, my drive away tent (the best treasure yet!), and some more change. The Big Red One came with a couple original sets of mosquito screen for the back hatch (VERY useful on hot nights when leaving the hatch open is a must!), my families VW parts stash and, well, my father but, oddly enough, no spare change. Moby was not any different than the others. She came with yet another power cord, a spare original pop-top canvas, two sets of NOS replacement canvas and rails for the front child’s cot, two sets of rails and hinges for the pop-top cot, a small horde of parts, curtains from a late 70’s camper bus, and a bunch of other odds and ends, including spare change. I almost wound up with a complete new pop-top shell (for a case of beer) and an extra camper stool (for another $100). If I was not in a state of shock over becoming a bus owner again, I would have jumped at the pop-top shell but still try to convince myself that I do not need a fourth stool. Two weeks later, I went back and bought a high-quality handmade aftermarket replacement canvas for the pop-top cot after I put my elbow thought the original (oops…). I have an additional original canvas for it in my collection but I do not relish my daughter landing on my head in the middle of the night should the 40 year old material fail (that actually happened long ago in The Big Red One when a friend and I camped before a VW show).
Though all things VW are treasures in their own right, some stand out as extra special. Some, like the beetle engine lid, have unique history while others, like the tent, are not only useful but just plain cool. Moby came with one treasure that fits into the latter category – an original front window curtain. Finding original curtains in decent shape for these early bay windows is tough to say the least and when you do, be prepared to part with a fair amount of money; especially for a complete set. When I first got into this hobby, original curtains were everywhere. People would constantly rip them out so they could update the colors and patterns. Over the years originals left in the bus grew tattered after flying in the wind blowing through open windows or faded and threadbare from exposure to sunlight. I only owned one bus (a parts bus) that had a complete original set but they were in horrible shape.
Now that I own a decent original, I am constantly looking to see if I can find the others. Why I do not know because I would never use them. I did use Moby’s curtain once because it has the slots for the front child’s cot but when a little tear in it got bigger, decided to retire it for posterity. Fabrication of new curtains for Moby is already underway and while not the original plaid (seems someone decided making cloth in 1970’s colors would not sell; go figure), I think they will look appropriate in a 40 year old bus. But that is for a near future post. For those of you wondering why I chose the 70’s white/brown/yellow plaid for this blog’s background, it is modeled on the original curtain pattern.