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Take the Bus! The VW Bus!


1971 Volkswagen Bus

"When going camping, or just driving through the “great outdoors”, one tends to appreciate the vehicle that got you there: minivan, SUV, or, as in this case, a 1971 Volkswagon (VW) Bus.

This particular VW bus happened to be parked in the area across from where we were camping. Of course, this meant that I was obligated to get some info and, of course, photos of this retro camper (which, by the way, turned heads as it drove through the campground).

The van was converted into a camper by the German company, Westfalia, that specializes in that sort of thing. It can sleep a total of 3: one up top (the pop-up roof section) in an "army cot" type bed, and 2 more downstairs. The interior, which was about 90-95% restored, can be seen in my front interior shot.

It includes a sink (RV style), a refrigerator (which operates more like a cooler rather than a modern day fridge), a table, and cabinets resembling a portable kitchen.

One of the things that made this van so special (besides its trend-setting style) was its German engineering. The rear-facing seats would fold flat against the front seats creating additional quick and easy sleeping quarters. There are many other clever features that make the van very “livable”, too.

However, the engine was only a whopping 53 horsepower, leaving the van lacking in power. You weren’t going VERY far VERY fast in a VW Van. And, despite its overall engineering excellence, the engine experienced other mechanical issues. This forced the manufacture to make changes to it throughout the years.

What is interesting, however, is that despite some of its shortcomings, in the 1950’s, Porsche actually used many of the parts from VW (including the engine) in many of its own vehicles. In fact, the two even sound somewhat alike when accelerating!

Like all collectible cars, restoring one is a labor of love. Fixing or repairing daily can become a way of life. But, as long as you can cruise around in it on a weekend, all the pain and suffering is worth it – just ask any VW VAN FAN".