Buddy’s Buddy (BB) was purchased in 2004 on ebay. I was looking for a pair of front seats in decent shape for Buddy and found a whole bus for $400 in Connecticut. So my friend Owen and I did a road trip to to CT one weekend and towed it back. In was in “fixable” shape and it appeared that somebody had attempted to start restoring it,
BB lived with Underdog and Buddy in our driveway for a year or so, until we got tried of pushing him around - he didn’t have an engine. The greatest thing about having a parts bus is that you can experiment. I had never owned a VW bus before we got Buddy, so BB became my laboratory. Its dash was ripped apart, seats and cabinets removed, windows popped out. I learned how buses were put together and more importantly put back together on BB.
When it came time to find a new home it I offered it to friends for $1. Yes $1. The condition was they had to restore BB. Without an engine and lots of body work to do I didn’t have any takers. So BB left for the German Supply stud farm in Stouffville.
At the farm BB started his next life, donating parts for other buses that came under Scott’s tutelage. Eventually Scott moved the German Supply shop to downtown Toronto. BB remained out to pasture, rusting in peace.
In 2007 we got serious about the Underdog Project and BB become our main source of body metal. He was moved to the German Supply shop in Toronto for convenience. The cutting began and soon BB was full of holes, beyond restoration. It was sad to see him in this shape, but he remained useful donating parts for other Bay window buses.
Fast forward to today, Scott called me to tell me BB was going to meet the cutting torch - the grim reaper of the automotive world. Scott captured BB’s last moments as he was reduced to chunks.
I’ll think of BB every time I stomp the gas peddle or brakes in Underdog, because under my feet is BB’s floor. Here’s to you, you kept so many other buses on the road. I hope you find that great campground in the sky.
We had our first camper adventure with two kids (and all their gear) last weekend. Buddy the Bus is starting to get a little crowded. We only went for 3 days, but the back was packed so high I could barely see out the rear view window. So even though the Westfalia seats 4, it clearly doesn’t hold all their gear. What’s a bus owner to do?
I’ve seen many Westies with roof racks, but getting your gear up there is an impossibility for those who are height or upper body strength challenged. Since a Volkswagen Bus is pretty much shaped like a flying brick (some say a loaf of bread), it makes sense to start looking at trailers. Stock aircooled VWs aren’t know for their speed or torque, but have no problem pulling some weight - good gearing I guess. I’ve flat towed Karmella with Buddy, without issue, but I wouldn’t try towing a large caravan trailer.
I found a great thread on TheSamba about trailers. It makes sense, your bus created huge “airwake”, so putting your toys back there wouldn’t create any extra drag. There’s some cool old mini trailers that would match the vintage of Buddy, but finding a 30 year old trailer that’s not rusted out will be a “quest”. My favourite is the Colman Versa trailer. Motorcycle trailers also seem to be a popular choice because of their light weight and size, but can be too small and can’t really accommodate bikes, canoes or kayaks.
Then I found the SportsRig. This would be perfect, except one caveat - the $2000 price. That’s a lot of dough for a trailing I might use 3-4 times a year. Rack and Roll also makes something similar, but tis the price. Both units would let me use my Thule roof “coffin” box on their cross bars and standard roof rack mounting hardware for bikes, etc in the future. They’re light weight, easy to store in the winter and super versatile.
Maybe the micro-trailer used market is where I need to be looking. The SportsRig is in my sights, just not my wallet. Suggestions, comments, donations of a micro-trailer are always welcome.
Who knew you could use a Volkswagen Bus as a weapon of war. Troop transporter, sure, portable air traffic control tower, I’ve seen, but what about a enemy radio frequency jammer? I found this image while browsing Getty Images today.
Electrical engineer David Schriner explains to the media how he was able to convert a Volkswagen camper bus into a portable radio frequency weapon May 1, 2001 at the Aberdeen Testing Facility in Maryland. The weapon, which uses commonly available materials, simulates a electromagnetic pulse similar to that of a nuclear weapon, which disables electrical and communictaions devices such as cell phones, computers, radios and medical monitors. The US government funded the project to determine whether the technology poses a significant terrorist threat to the country.
(Photo by Greg Whitesell/Liaison)
I thought I’d post this pictuture, because its the #1 thing I’m asked at VW shows — "You have a sunroof in your Westie?! How did you do that?"
The answer is "I didn’t do that", some former owner did it and judging by the style of roof, it was probably installed soon after the purchase date. Overall I’m pretty happy my Westie came with it. We took the glass out when traveling through the Rockies, which resulting in some great shots. It adds a lot of light to the front cab, which is nice. It does effect the cargo holder up top, but I’ve engineered something similar to a BBQ grill that can sit in what’s left of the holder to support any large things I want to put up there. It does leak on occasion, but only if I’m parked on a hill.
I’ve never seen another Westy with a sun roof. If you’ve got one in your bus, feel free to post a link to a photo in the comments.
You may also notice my roof panel is wood, in contrast to the white mactak that you usually find on most bus roofs. I also have a former owerner to thank for this. Most of the panels in my bus are a nice finished birch plywood veneer, which adds a lot to the “cottage of wheels” look.
Is your young one dreaming of a VW Bus? Are they hoping to inherit your beloved camper? When is a good time to hand down the family jewels? I inherited my Grandma’s car (a 1966 Pontiac Beaumont Sport Deluxe) when I was 16 and wrote it off in a bad accident a year later, so by my example 16 is maybe too young.
When my kids are old enough to drive, a “beater car” will probably be a 2002 Aztec. Gone are the days of picking an old aircooled VW for a few hundred dollars and grinding the gears until you learn how to work your way through a 4 speed.
These days most split window buses are more valuable than a high end laptop and are appreciating daily. Would you let your kids drive your prized $60k Samba? Comment away.
Those who have seen the new Mr. Bean movie, may have caught a glimpse of this "groovy" late 70s VW Bay Window Transporter. Although it doesn’t get the screen time of the bus in Little Miss Sunshine, it’s cool to see another major movie featuring a bus.
Alex demonstrates his sleeping accommodations in our Westie. The "child hammock", suspended over the front seats, is how the Westfalia can sleep five – two adults up top, two below and one kid in the hammock.
If you’ve been hankering for a VW bus better buy one soon. Articles in the public media like this USA Today article are only driving the demand/cost up. If you already have a bus, you might want to get is appraised again.