Why I have been really lucky to get this bus, what I paid police fines for and why I thought this bus is uber rare!
It was a lazy friday afternoon, scrolling on my phone, randomly looking at offered classic cars. And suddenly, wait.. scroll back. There it was, an early VW Bay Window. A weird ad named “VW Bug” with pictures of a T2a bus. And the price was, well lets say, really good. My first thought was, wow that has to be rusty and crusty for that price. But then I saw it. The location of the car. Only 20 kilometers away from my place. I immediately called the number, while taking my keys and making the way out to my car. The lady on the phone said, its still available and I could come over. I didn’t check the online ad twice. As I hung the phone, I turned the key and drove off.
Speeding ticket – Daydreaming – Rust
I remember like it was yesterday. I sat in my car, full of adrenaline. Driving to the deal of the century? I was so lost in my thoughts, I didn’t even realise, I was driving at the moment. Wait, has it been a ’68 or ’70? Has it been the original color? What was the exact price again? – Flash! – Speeding ticket. – Sh** ! That was the moment, I came back to myself from bus-daydreaming. Only three curves left.. parking. And there it was. Right behind the garden fence. First thing I saw, big rust holes in the rear corners.
The Lady told me, another guy was here, only a few moments back. He left fast, because it was “too rusty” for him. My brain jumped. – I thought – Is it maybe too rusty also for me or am I the luckiest person on the planet? – Thank god, the guy before didn’t buy it – I thought. It was rusty (and still is today), but then I saw, it has to be a really early Bay. So I decided to start negotiating. Two minutes later, it turned out the price was firm. We sealed the deal – Jackpot.
Driving back home, got me daydreaming again. What will I do with it? Is it a keeper..
YES. I didn’t have to think about that question longer than a second. I immediately knew, I would never sell this one. “Ferdi”, that’s what the seller lady called the bus, was from now on – forever, my bus. And as he was around 50 years old at that moment, I decided to call him “Ferdl”, which ist the older version of the human name.
What’s so special about it? – Rare? More or less …
Two weeks later, as we picked up the bus, the lady told me the whole story. It was owned by her father before. He died, she wanted to restore it, but realised she wouldn’t get to it, many moons after his death. It was owned by someone else before, but has always been registered in this district (my home district). First thing, it’s a walk-through two-seat option in the front, which is quite rare for a real europen Bay Window bus. All over badly resprayed, original color – Titian Red (Tizianrot) visible on metal inside. In the back of the bus, her father built camping furniture, to switch from sleeping to eating. It was still in, but old and dirty. No rear seats. It seemed like the driver seat was changed with the passenger seat and passenger was replaced by a Toyota Celica seat.
Towing it home got me bus-daydreaming again … suddenly, wait, whats that noice? Rear brake drums went hot. I cooled them with sparkling water, I sacrificed. Two minutes later, the cops nearly pulled us out, seeing us, towing the bus. Paying another police fine while getting this bus, after the speeding ticket, would have been …
The less busy I was that lazy friday the whole thing started, the more busy have I been two weeks later. The moment I had it home, I urgently washed the moss off the bus and took out all the Legos, pens, coins, spare windows and gearboxes! of former decades, laying in it. As the bus still was running, I drove it two kilometers to my barn and stored it in a dark corner. I was so busy, I photgraphed the M-Plate in the dark barn, and left. As the M-Plate wasn’t visible on the dark phone pic, I only looked at the original papers, and read: 1967! Looked twice, yes it’s in the orginal papers, 1967! I bought one of the very first built T2a Buses of 1967. WOW! This moment, I was so stunned. Just a second before I thought, it was a ’68, but obviously: Black on white: 1967 … the exact month – I didn’t check twice. As wrote, busy times…
I am DUMB ! – Why I am really dumb..
Time went by, knowing I wouldn’t sell “Ferdl” anyways, I told myself, the day will come, I start this project. Every time, I talked to someone I proudly told: “Yes, trust me. I bought a real european 1967 walk-through bay window bus!” It was so unbelievable, having such an early built, rare bus, but nevertheless – I never checked that M-Plate in the dark barn again. DUMB. Yes, I know …
Three years later, summer 2020, I didn’t only pull the bus out of the barn, I also pulled my stupidity out with it. First sight of the M-Plate at daylight. Then I knew it: ’68. I grabbed the original papers, and there it was: “First authorized in July 1967”. It was the official type authorization date, not the registration date of my bus. I AM SO DUMB! Why didn’t I check the papers twice? Why didn’t I photograph the M-Plate – with flash?
So here I am now, starting to weld the rusty parts of my not-so-rare-1968-bay-window-bus. “Ferdl” needs a load of work, but for me it’s totally worth everthing. He is special to me, although he isn’t that rare, as I thought for three long years.