A 16 year old’s wish.

June 2012.

Not long after my oldest son’s 14th birthday, I began to ponder the probability if getting him a car when he was to turn 16.The choice of an appropriate gift for my son’s 16th birthday was one that had been stirring in my mind for several years.  A 16th birthday, to me, is a significant milestone, and is worthy of some special considerations. A standard gift card would simply not do to recognize my son’s big day. Like most parents, I had very limited means of extra income, and a new or used car purchase was one that I would prefer to procrastinate on. In fact, I really could not swing another car payment, so I was limited on what to do.

A first car is a big deal. We all remember our first car, just as we remember our first lay. Our first car becomes immortalized in our minds as it is associated with our first experiences of pre-adult freedoms. For example, my first car was a 1973 Dodge Dart Swinger. With various female encounters, I encapsulated the back seats of that vehicle with more bodily fluids than a hankee on the floor of a South Street porn house. Ahhh, the formative years. A first car for my son was likely to be as important to him, as my old Dodge Dart was to me. As time marched on, and my son’s 16th drew closer, it became more urgent to consider a first car for my son.

My son is a bit of an Earthy, kicked-back sorta lad. And he had noted his interest in classic cars, particularly VW’s. He seemed to really be enamored by the 50s to 60s VW buses. A hippy-mobile. Great. Next, he’ll ask for a trip to Berkley and become a vegan. If you look in your local classifieds, or Ebay, a running 50’s or 60’s bus (that’s safe to drive) is gonna set you back at least 20 grand. Sorry son. That ain’t gonna happen.

What DID happen was a listing on craigslist for a 71′ VW camper bus, running – but no brakes. I eventually spoke with the listing party, and arranged to inspect the “project”.  With a tow dolly on my 04′ Jeep LJ, and $1000 cash, the deal was done.

I  created this page to chronicle my “haps” and mishaps as I try to get this bus presentable and drivable…

My goal: An above average restoration worthy of a utility vehicle that will be a daily driver. This must be done on a budget of < $5000. Also, this project will be done entirely by my son and me, in my driveway, whenever we find the time.

Wish me luck…

3 Responses to A 16 year old’s wish.

  1. Scott Nichols says:

    Just wanted to let me know your whole story made me cry. My first vehicle at the age of 16 was a ’76 VW Bus (Camper). My dad and I learn a lot and share very quality time together with it. By the time I was 21, it had finally choked beyond fixing. I was a bicycle messenger at the time in downtown Houston, so needless to say I was in no financial position to be rebuilding an engine, nor did I have a place to do so…..Anyways, when I turned 34, I decided there was no reason to not be the kid I was when I was 16, so I bought a 1971 VW BUS!!! Just like your son’s….I’ve been able to do everything to it now, have the means $$, and the place and I’ve never felt so satisfied, young, and proud of myself.
    The Bus will stay with him FOREVER!….even if it’s not necessarily that one.
    I’m 37 now and still in Houston. Please e-mail me if you ever have and questions or ideas to share on the Bus.

  2. Miriam says:

    i just wanted to say your story is wonderful. I would like to share that my first vehicle was a 78 vw westfalia and still is. I could never part ways with her. She’s been a headache for many years but I finally got her back and running. As I didn’t have the experience I would like to have with my father, I do have my memories of everyone that spend time helping fix her up. So thank you for sharing and giving me ideas how to fix my canvas tent it never crossed my mind. Now I have something to share and bond over with my mother.

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