I grew up in and around Volkswagens of all types. My father purchased his first in March/April of 1970 (Squareback) so I was born into an established VW family. I remember many hours riding, and a few waiting for a tow, in that wonderful red VW. We had a shed full of miscellaneous parts and occasionally parts cars in the backyard. The latter were wonderful playgrounds and I probably reenacted, rehearsed, and learned many a bad driving habit in them. After the Squareback came a 1973 orange Beetle, and various buses. Some stayed for a bit while others were simply stopping by for a visit. My Uncle also got into the VW game, owning at various times beetles and buses. Until I graduated from college, my family always owned at least one VW.
When it came time for my first car I had a couple of choices. A running 1985 Jetta, which would be shared with my sister (when home from college) and my mother, the ’70 Squareback (rusty and not running), the ’73 beetle (ran when parked), 71 westy pop top or a 71 tin top camper (neither running). All except the Jetta came with the condition that I spend my own money and time to get them on the road. If successful, the car would be mine to use. I cannot remember at this point why, but I focused on the bug. Spent the last half of the summer and all fall working on it before my birthday hit in late fall. After starting it for the first time on my birthday, I was fully committed to the life of a Volkswagen owner and Dad promptly (and I assume proudly) turned over all the parts and tools (though strangely enough not the cars). I drove the beetle for a year, and then turned my attention to the red 71 westy, after all I loved to camp! After I got the westy running, we sold the beetle (split the proceeds with Dad), parted out the 71 tin top, and sold the Squareback.
Since that time I have owned 3 more buses – all early bay windows – and have spent many hours in, under, and over them. They’ve taken me to college, weekend trips, VW shows, across the US, and into Canada. They became more of a fixture in my life than perhaps a car should, but I had a family encouraging my “problem”. I even drove my sister to her wedding in my red 71 Westy – now that’s a cool sister!! I eventually sold my last bus and got rid of a lot of my parts stash in July 2001 when I moved to Montana to attend grad school. Then life moved on……
Since that time I got married, had two children, and bought a house. Though I always stopped to drool over old VW’s we encountered, I figured my time in the “sun” was over. No time for such things now (or money for that matter). That is until Aug 2011 when my wonderful wife mentioned that having a VW bus would be a good thing for us. “It would be easier to go camping with the kids; it would be a fun family project……” I stopped listening at that point and started looking!!! After 10 years without a bus, I suddenly needed one!!
To my amazement, my wife was a more ardent searcher than I. We found several viable buses in Sept and, after depositing the kids with my in-laws, headed up to look. Now I’ve often heard that when one goes to look at puppies, one is really going to buy a puppy. The “looking” part is only to make us feel like we can just turn around whenever we want. So when I say “look”, I knew we had to be careful! We found our bus in NJ; it was a perfect setup for what we wanted and needed. All original, no rust, ran, and just as importantly stopped. She was a solid vehicle which we could use immediately, but also enough of a project for our time and money budgets. With the help of my uncle, who BTW also has been without a bus for way too long, we towed her back to VA and introduced her to the kids; they took to her immediately.
This blog is about our life with our “new” 1971 Camper. I intend to keep a chronicle of various trips, projects and restorations we complete, as well as trials and tribulations. I’m hoping also to keep technical information, web sites, and any cool VW related info up here. Most of the information you’ll be able to find elsewhere, but perhaps I will do something different or post unique pictures that can help someone out there. If nothing else I hope to meet others with the same addiction, err, hobby so we can swap stories etc…. I will not post everyday, just when I have some thought or am working on a particular project. I have a couple that will get off the ground over the next few weeks. In the mean time, I’ll fill you all in with what we’ve done in the first 10 months of blissful VW ownership (it’s so nice to have one again)! I am not the world’s most articulate writer and my typing skills are inadequate enough to stress spell checkers so please bear with me.
In the future, we hope to attend many VW campouts and shows so perhaps we’ll see you out there. In the mean time, enjoy……