The Vehicle

A generally restored 1971 VW bus. Westfalia camper, of course. Some say the best year. We’ll see.

IMG_1641We got it from a guy who is a local VW collector. Some would say junk man, but since he’s focused on old VW’s, he’s more of a curator of sorts.  You at least have to praise his dedication to classic VW’s.

Anyway, he bought it from the City of Oakland at an impound auction. It sat at impound for 9 months, and there’s absolutely no telling why it got picked up. Oh yeah, have you seen it? Even after it was supposedly ‘cleaned up,’ I still brought it home and found a bag of weed and two pipes in it. Nice work, Oakland PD. No wonder the owner never came and got it out of impound.

I paid 800 bucks. Delivered.

What our neighbors would think about this sitting in our driveway only briefly crossed my mind. I like projects… and i could see beauty underneath.  Besides, it was the best year, right?

Most everything had to be fixed or replaced.  First thing’s first – strip it down to the metal and power-wash everything.  Then take a look at the mechanicals…  engine, brakes, anything else important – gotta go.   Interior – forget about it.   Welding, woodwork, bodywork, painting, etc… all good fun.


Bode immediately named her Red Beard, so the Chianti Red paint job had to stay.  After lot’s of sweat and a few dozen parts orders , a few months later she’s ready to go and prove herself.

Here are some more photos, just in case you are interested in seeing what a hunk of crap it was.

b 2728_ IMG_1612

IMG_1630 IMG_1640


Over time, I’ll have more time to post details about the restoration and upgrades for all the VW folks out there.   You can also just use the VW bus tag if you want to see posts related to the vehicle. You’ll certainly see more of this…. the “finished” product in our driveway just before departure.  It’s no show car, but a beauty in our eyes.


6 thoughts on “The Vehicle

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  • June 15, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    I love that you bought your beauty from the city of Oakland, at an impound sale! Sounds like the start of a romance to me : )

    Excited to find your blog! We are after a sailboat in the longterm, but recently purchased a Westfalia off of Craigslist in SF. The plan was to keep it until we find our boat–but it’s getting harder and harder to think of selling the Westy…it IS a weird sort of cult, isn’t it?!

    Anyway–loving following your adventures!

    We’re headed out next month, and headed south as well!

  • October 11, 2015 at 7:38 PM

    Nice bus. My wife and I just bought an 87 Syncro. I had fondness for the older ones, too. But, I also was really blending what I’ve loved best about all the cars in my life. My first car was a ’64 Beetle and I had a ’93 Eurovan, plus I’ve also owned four Toyotas with 4-wheel drive. So, I couldn’t pass up this car that basically rolls up all the great memories of all of those cars into one.
    I am going to try and follow your adventures.
    Blessings to you,
    The Tylers

  • February 2, 2016 at 9:23 AM

    love your venture and your willingness to share it.. we’ve been traveling for a dozzen or so years ourselves, aboard out 42 foot sailboat or within our 1970 westy bus, so we understand the shortcomings that follow you.
    These things will stay with you forever, The hot showers, a simple cup of good coffee, and clean cloths.. The things most people take with a grain of salt, are those most remembered.
    Our Prayers are with you, and may you always follow your dreams..
    Randy and Ramona Garrett “The Magic Bus Company”

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