VW Camper Family

A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.

I spent the first couple of years of my life close to Brazil and remember the distinct sounds and smells of the Kombi vans used as school buses and other service vehicles. I have always been around cars, since my dad is a mechanic. Mostly Afla Romeos, Japanese made cars and the such. I currently own a restored 63 Austin Sprite and my daily driver is a 2010 Audi S4 which I adore. So why in the hell would I be interested in adding a VW Camper to the fold? Well, my wife and I have two beautiful whippet dogs and the last couple of years we have done less and less camping because of where we can and cannot take the pooches, also as the years go by it gets harder to feel okay about sleeping on the ground comfortably. I didnt want to spend a lot of money and years ago I rented a converted Ford Van 350 and drove it from San Francisco to San Felipe in Baja California. The ability to be in the middle of the desert and microwave my left over burrito or fall asleep knowing that the furnace will take the chill out of the desert nights was awesome. So the hunt begun with researching models, years, engines, options etc.

 

Originally I wanted to find something in descent shape (minimal rust) that needed cosmetic work and possibly a new engine. This is the same strategy I used on the Austin Sprite. See pic below:

I wanted to be able to drop in a new more powerful :)  engine to the bus and upgrade a couple of things, like a furnace, second large battery, fog lights and maybe some extra gas can holders - ohh and a CB radio.

 

Found a nice 72' Westi but the owner wanted 4K and it couldn't start and needed a new top so I passed on this. Then I found another in San Jose in a chop shop looking district - where 2K got me bare metal rolling bus with no engine or interior, this guy wanted me to pay him so that he could put a westy together for me.

 

I then found one on Craigslist about 1 mile down the road from me. I went to have a look at it and a little frail Latin woman was selling it. Apparently it was her late husbands. It was a 79' which meant I had to get it smogged :( and it turned but could not idle. It was obvious that the Previous Owner (PO) did some "custom" wiring and it was a bit of a birds nest back there. It had a 3 inch metal tare on the drivers door, the front seat and tent needed TLC but everything else was fine. $1.8K and I had it towed to a mechanic because there was no space in my garage.

 

 

 

Views: 63

Comment by Big Blue's Driver on March 7, 2011 at 9:35pm
"The ability to be in the middle of the desert and microwave my left over burrito or fall asleep knowing that the furnace will take the chill out of the desert nights was awesome." - way cool!
Comment by Dharma Van on March 8, 2011 at 4:30pm
LOL - thanks !
Comment by Rick Meyers on March 31, 2011 at 1:40pm
Love the story of how the Dharma Van came to be! Our "Freda" bus came to be in an unusual way as well and when I thought about selling her, she wouldn't have it. Long story and kinda spooky!
Comment by Dharma Van on March 31, 2011 at 3:27pm
Hey Rick - I wanted to ask you how you stuck the nice material onto the headliner/ceiling of your bus? I wan tot do the same thing since I found cool material that I made curtains out of. Let me know! Cheers-
Comment by Rick Meyers on March 31, 2011 at 4:41pm

I used a 3M spray adhesive. It has been up for about two years now and has not pulled loose.

Comment by Dharma Van on March 31, 2011 at 5:09pm
awesome - I have some of that stuff - thanks!

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