1973 Volkswagen Type-2 Transporter

     I'm starting this a bit late as I'm about 80% of the way through restoring this Bus already. I purchased this Bus about 4 years ago. The previous owner had spent a decent amount of time and money working on it himself. Things being what they may, he ran out of time and space and decided to sell it. I was desperately looking for a car to help make my wife understand my obsession with cars. Although she originally wanted a Karmann Ghia, it didn't take much to convince her to buy "Skipper" (my wife's name for our Bus). Since then, the Bus has been like a member of the family. We don't drive him much, but he has a permenant spot in the garage.


The Bus Depot had a clearance sale a few years ago, and one of the items in their clearance "rack" if you will, was a set of pale azure blue seat covers. I guess they were apparently a special order from a previous customer who never followed through and / or decided to return it. I snatched them up for about $60 for the pair. They added an excellent contrast to the interior color of our Bus. Since the exterior color of the Bus is a neptune blue of sorts, it kind of helped bring that color into the car as well (other than the exposed sheet metal of course). I removed the old seat covers, sanded down the seat frames with a pneumatic wire brush attachment, and painted them white. I installed the new seat covers using foam seat padding with a jute backing directly on the seat spring frame. I'm pretty happy with the way they came out. They are certainly more comfortable than what I had before, and definitely look better too:


Well, although it did run, it just didn't run that well. For the life of me, I simply COULD NOT get the damn lifters to build pressure and pump up. I suspected all kinds of things. I even thought maybe I had a failing oil pump. But that's not the case. I have replaced all of the lifters (including new pushrod tubes) on the drivers side of the Bus and set the valve lash. It didn't sound that great at first, but after letting it idle for a little while, the lifters pumped up and it runs wonderfully. It runs fairly smooth, and there aren't any vibrations and certainly no ticking / rattling. I took the Bus for a spin cleaned the garage and parked it again. The other side doesn't really need to be replaced, but it seems silly to only replace one side. By the way, I was able to easily bleed the lifters by putting them in a coffee can half-full of transmission fluid. I then used an old push-rod from my Olds 455 big block and was able to easily pump all of the air out.

- Skipper gets his bling!

The VW Bus is nearly complete and it's now running again. This picture was taken from it's maiden voyage after nearly a 3 year hiatus in the garage. You can see in the pictures that I've installed a new VW emblem, as well as repainted the front bumper it's original color. I'm about 80% complete with the interior as well. I have new door panels installed, and a few other items as well. I still have to touch up the paint in the interior, install the seat pedastal covers, replace the steering wheel and finally finish up the last bit of wiring. Every single thing you see in here except the large rubber mat, and the door panels, was purchased used from Busted Bus. The owner is awesome, and has REALLY helped me get my Bus project on track and in the condition that it's in now. Believe it or not, that's a used dash!!!

- Restoration in progress...

I really should have kept a better log of my progress, however, I spent more time working on it, than I did worrying about whether or not I'd have pictures to show for it. Over the next 2.5 years, I replaced nearly everything on the car that was worn and / or damaged. What wasn't replaced was cleaned up and painted. I replaced EVERY wiring harness in the entire Bus, every lock, every handle every switch, every knob, every interior panel. My plan is to completely restore the front cabin to 100% original condition, but leave the back area for my wife to do her own thing. Her plans are to paint clouds on the ceiling, and lay down astroturf on the floor. Here are some pictures I managed to find during the next 2.5 years of work. In the last two pictures, you can compare the old rat's nest original wiring with the new wiring that I ordered from Bus Boys.

- Skipper, (aka "The Blue Wonder") helped us move into our new house!!!

Around the time these pictures were taken, we had just purchased a new home. I managed to get the VW Bus running just prior to the move so that I wouldn't have to tow it. These pictures were taken shortly after. The Bus actually helped us move and transport some of the essentials, as well as some of the last few items from my wife's town house. The VW drove perfectly through the dead of winter (means 50s). In the last couple of shots, I'm preparing the VW Bus for it's long-term parking in the garage while I begin the restoration. It will remain parked in this spot for the next 2.5 years. Take note of my wife's 2002 Volkswagen Jetta and my 1997 Pontiac Grand Am SE.

- Quick, put it back together!

With the hard reality that we have no where to keep this (unregistered) car but in the front spot of my (now) wife's town house, I quickly do everything I can to put it back together as best as I'm able to. I've backed the vehicle in so that it's not immediately obvious that it's unregistered. I put as much back onto the car as I can to give it some appearance of a running car.

- Just bought the Bus, and had it towed home!

These are pictures from the very first day we had the VW Bus; we had purchased it earlier in the morning. In the pictures below, you can see the condition we received the Bus in. The previous owner (Jake), had a new motor installed, and a brand new paint job. As this car was stored under a car cover within a car port, there was no rush to re-install any of the components. None of the windows or hardware were installed yet.