’72 VW Bus

A dead ringer except mine was tan

At the time I owned the VW bus, I was doing a lot of bicycle stuff – events, races, and the like. The Volks was perfect. It could hold a ton of gear and with a Yakima “rack and a half” on top, could carry six bikes, spare wheels and still have room for my mates on the inside. Okay, so it wouldn’t get you wherever you were going at lightening speed but it was, in its unique way, still fun to drive and I admired its simple utility.

My good friend Earl Bascom (who I hope is reading this) may recall how I came to own “The Bus”. We knew a guy who ran an outfit called the “Porsche Shop” who, as you might imagine, was one of the local Porschophiles. When I got the hankering to own the VW, I immediately consulted with him to find out  which model and year would be the best (VWs, Porsches, they’re all the same, right?). As it would happen, he said that anything prior to 1973 and the new federal mandates would be the best bets…an example of which he just happened to have for sale. What could possibly go wrong here? Oh, let me count the ways.

Things started off fine but started heading south with what seemed like and endless stream of niggling engine problems, which ended up in substantial bill at the, yeah, Porsche Shop. Surprised.? I was. Can you say, “naive”? Eventually we got the Bus sorted out and I really enjoyed driving it as well as using it.

Aside from the night it was broken into while at a trade show in Anaheim, CA, what may be most memorable moment with the VW was when I moved from Phoenix to the east coast, driving the Bus across the country. Somewhere outside of Cincinnati, OH the storm clouds were darkening and the wind was really picking up, blowing the bus around the road and generally making for some drama. Out in the distance I kept seeing this strange looking cloud and thought I would pull over to the side of the road to get a better look. I was enrapt. The sky was that dark shade of blue gray you often see when the weather turns nasty . The wind had vanished. In fact, the stillness was eerie. And then there was the odd looking ‘cloud’. You know, the one that looks like a funnel and goes right to the ground.

Holly crap! It was a tornado and it was coming my way. Once it dawned on me, I jumped in the Volks and high tailed it out of there. Not one of my most brilliant moments but, in my defense, it was mesmerizing.

The Bus made it all the way to Saratoga, New York and my new gig with Serotta Competition Bicycles, then to Vermont where I eventually traded it in. An ignominious end, but a real fun ride. No car should be humiliated with being traded in.

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