Ever since we bought Moby, I kept reminding Tom that he needed a bus. I mentioned on this blog many times before how the two of us have spent much time together traveling and camping in, or working on our buses. With me finally having a bus again, I figured it was high time he followed suit. For the past five years, I bombarded him with any bus ad that came my way – good, bad, cheap, expensive, project, or ready roller, he got them all. Alas, circumstances prevented him from acting and the ads only found use for some interesting conversations. Last spring, after we got the convertible beetle on the road and after Dubs in the Shrubs, Tom’s interest began to increase as his circumstances changed and allowed the possibility of owning a bus to appear on the horizon. The ads I now sent took on a more serious note, at least for me, and I noticed that he was starting to email a few more folks than before as his search began to intensify. A few weeks later some visits to buses were arranged.
One of the hardest aspects of bus hunting lies in the visiting of the quarry. Pictures and information conveyed over the phone rarely, truly illustrate the actual condition of the bus. People’s concepts of what is fixed or restored varies greatly as does the importance of body condition vs. mechanical condition. These various opinions also, of course, lead to a disparity in perceived value and, therefore, asking price. All of these factors make for many disappointments in meeting buses and their owners. I had several disappointing bus inspections before finding Moby and Tom suffered a few himself. In fact, I will use one of his in a future post about the pitfalls of buying buses in today’s world of the internet and long distance purchases.
However, the focus of this post is to announce the ultimate success of Tom’s search and to congratulate him on his new ride – a 1977 Westfalia. After 13 years, 9 months, and 24 days without one, Tom is finally a bus pilot once more!
As the story goes, this bus became the restoration project of a father and son with the intention that the vehicle become the son’s first ride. They stripped the interior and did a decent job repainting the exterior as well as the inside of the bus. They also rebuilt the motor. Like many of these projects however, the son lost interest. As the seller told me, he discovered girls and felt he needed a more modern and sportier car to increase his chances of success. The restoration ended before the interior was complete and the bus sat for several years until the seller finally convinced the father to sell – and the father was still not happy about selling. After owning the bus for a few years and putting a few miles on her, the current owner decided to sell as his own circumstances changed. That’s where Tom stepped in…