Friday, July 9, 2010

Vehicle #2 - 1971 VW Passenger Bus

I must have been pretty close to 17, graduating from Boise High School and ready for change.  The Fiesta had died the previous year and I basically had used my mountain bike as the sole mode transportation through my senior year.  This made dating a little bit of a challenge, as most girls don't like to ride on the handlebars at this age...for obvious reasons.  I did have the use of my mother's brown Ford Pinto station wagon but for some reason, girl's didn't like to be seen in that either, picky, picky.  As a result, not a lot of dating went on my senior year.
Ford Pinto. Foreground car is a restored examp...Image via Wikipedia

This was the color but like I mentioned, it was the wagon version with a bubble window at the rear quarter, a real looker I assure you!

I started watching the classifieds and came across this 1971 VW Bus close to the north end in Boise off of 27th by main street.  An older gentleman had owned it for many years and it was in beautiful shape.  This bus had the bench in the front with no walk through, a sliding door on the passenger side and a full length middle seat, it could seat 9 and did, many times.  We struck a deal and if I remember right, I think the guy had to let me give him a deposit and then pay it off over the next month, anyway, I was so excited once I finally got it home.  I took everything out of the pockets storage areas, cleaned the entire bus really well and I loved it.  I have a lot of great memories in that bus, my girlfriend at the time made some paisley curtains for the windows, I found a 3/4 length wood slat rack to go on top that had suction cup feet, it stayed up there for the rest of the time I owned it.  I also put a big "The Wonder Stuff" logo on the back window to personalize it a bit, it had the 1600cc dual port motor and I took that thing all over the place. 

This was the right body style but it was a cream color on the bottom and white on top

This one time my brother-in-law and I were up in the foothills above Boise late at night, we had climbed up 8th street and taken a right on Ridge Rd. I had my mountain bike in the back so when we got to the downhill section on Rocky Canyon Rd. we took turns driving the bus behind the other one of us on the bike.  No moon that night and it was really dark so you had to rely on the lights from the bus to see what was coming up.  We were flying down that hill and when you took a turn you couldn't see anything until the lights from the bus took the corner and caught up, luckily neither of us took a spill, really fun though.

I made the mistake of parking my bus in the driveway behind my mom's Pinto on a cold frosty morning one day and had the feeling that I should move it but unfortunately chose to ignore that feeling.  Windows frosty and my mom in a hurry, she backed right into it.  The driver's door and wheel well was all smashed in and I said some things to my mother when I was upset that I really shouldn't have.  Luckily some good came from it, I learned how to do body work (poorly) and my brother-in-law helped me paint it.  The entire bus.

Camping, road trips, cycling excursions, personality, slow and quite unreliable.  I ended up selling this one to help pay for a mission that I served in Portugal from 1991 to 1993 and sometimes I really do miss it. 

So I was out of the country and saw some pretty cool VWs over there, when I got back I bought an 81 Honda Prelude, more on that next time.

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