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  View original topic: My 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper, A Love Story Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
RONIN10 Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:56 pm

Tonight I completed the purchase of a 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper. This camper came to me in a rather unique way and the purchase was actually a year in the making.

About a year ago, I moved from Renton, WA to Columbia City, a neighborhood in Seattle. The seller of the house we bought was also a bus owner and with the housing market in Seattle being as absurd as it is, the seller requested a personal letter. We leaned heavily on our personal values in that letter, but also on the VW connection and what that VW lilfe means to us. Our offer was matched by another buyer, but our letter got us the house. Once the initial offer was accepted, I tried a bit to get him to throw his bus in as part of the house sale since it was in much better condition than my bus, Greta, but that didn't pan out. Fast forward a year or so later (actually a week and half ago) and my next door neighbor (still in contact with the previous owner of my house) told me that the bus I had so envied a year ago was up for sale. Two days later, I met the seller to give the bus a detailed going over and take it for a drive. It wasn't a hard choice; I gave him a deposit that night.

Enough for now, let's have a look:





















Light was getting low so I didn't get any detailed body pictures, but overall it's in very good condition: a few dents, dings, scrapes, paint chips, etc. and no rust of any merit. The bus drives and shifts very strongly. Brakes are adjusted and in good order, but I'll need to adjust the parking brake cable. No apparent electrical issues as of yet. Suspension is in great order as well, it corners wonderfully. The louvered windows don't rattle. And so forth. It's just great all over. This is a very well cared for bus. The odometer reads ~93,400 miles and given the overall condition of the bus, I believe those to be original miles with the odometer never having been rolled over.

The seller owned the bus for the last 20 years, driving it all over the Western US and living with it in the Southwest for 3 of those years before moving back to WA where it lived in a garage except for the occasional camping trip. Originally, it was a California bus so it seems to have lived it's whole life away from rust.

I think that sufficiently ends the brain dump. Watch this space for our adventures in the bus and the improvements I make to the bus...my family and I are currently debating names.

Vee Dub Nut Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:46 am

That's a great looking bus, nice score! Cool story too!

wcfvw69 Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:57 am

Congrats! It looks very dry and original. Is it original paint as well?

Whatcha doing w/you other bus?

Stuartzickefoose Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:02 am

You need to make sure and get a few pics of all three busses together ;)

RONIN10 Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:55 am

wcfvw69 wrote: Congrats! It looks very dry and original. Is it original paint as well?

Whatcha doing w/you other bus?

Yep, original paint though I've spotted an area or two that have been redone. At some point I'll polish it up and see if there are any appreciable variations in the paint color.

I've got a buyer lined up for my other bus. It's staying somewhat local and being sold to an active Samba member. I won't disclose who just yet until the transaction goes through formally.

Quote: You need to make sure and get a few pics of all three busses together

I wanted to do that too, but getting the nonrunning transporter out of the garage and in line with the others would be a hard, hard task.

Stuartzickefoose Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:00 am

Doesn't have to be a perfect shot ;) park the two westys backed in side by side to the right of the garage and snap a pic. Just to document you had all three ;) :D

RONIN10 Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:02 am

Stuartzickefoose wrote: Doesn't have to be a perfect shot ;) park the two westys backed in side by side to the right of the garage and snap a pic. Just to document you had all three ;) :D

I'll try to get something, but it's tighter than you think. I don't think I can get the buses there. Maybe lined up in the driveway somehow.

Rubber Duck Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:15 am

Wow, that is one clean bus! Congrats on the house and the bus. The connection is nice too..a great story for the grandkids one day. :D

Mr.West Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:31 am

Oh yes what a nice bus!!! That is going to be an amazing time you and the family will have in that!

The story is great as well.

I am unfamiliar with the "letter" to purchase a house. Can you elaborate what that means??

RONIN10 Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:21 am

Mr.West wrote: I am unfamiliar with the "letter" to purchase a house. Can you elaborate what that means??

In crazy housing markets like Seattle, sellers will often ask for a personal letter to differentiate between multiple offers. Our house had six offers in total and one offer that matched ours. The personal letter is what allowed them to select our offer.

Convoy Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:55 am

Congrats. I spy a Westfalia trailer in your garage!

Bala Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:33 am

Very nice!
Any of the deluxe doodads tucked away?

wcfvw69 Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:38 am

How's the health of the engine? Any compression numbers or worries about it's state?

BTW, what happened with the other bus? You had Adriane build it and he put a bigger cam in it? and it wouldn't tune? Did that get squared away?

eche_bus Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:30 pm

Hey, a big congrats on the new Westy! Looks like someone took pretty good care of it all these years, too!

RONIN10 Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:51 am

Convoy wrote: Congrats. I spy a Westfalia trailer in your garage!

Indeed, you do. Thanks to notchboy for going the extra mile to import a bunch of these into the States.

Bala wrote: Any of the deluxe doodads tucked away?

The snack table and leg with the expect stretched out bungee chord were located behind the seat. I already had a rear table, but no leg, this one was missing as well so I'm on the hunt for that. And in the pic above looking forward through the side door, you can see the stool tucked between the front seats. So yeah, a pretty good haul.

wcfvw69 wrote: How's the health of the engine? Any compression numbers or worries about it's state?

BTW, what happened with the other bus? You had Adriane build it and he put a bigger cam in it? and it wouldn't tune? Did that get squared away?

The engine was rebuilt about 5,000 or so miles ago by Wagenschmidt here in Seattle. Mike Schmidt is a reputable ACVW mechanic in the area so no concerns there. It just had a tuneup a few months ago and compression was 150/150/150/140 so yeah, looking good there. The engine compartment could use a cleaning - it's dusty - but everything else seems in order. I'm very happy with it's state. Trans is good for that matter.

Greta is being sold on to another Samba member on Sunday. Adrian didn't actually build my engine, he just provided the heads. I assembled the engine myself with Northwest Connecting Rod doing the machine work. After running out of time when an oil galley was plugged, I took it to Oval's in Federal Way, WA to straighten out the innards.

I put a WebCam 107i in with oversized valves and it seems the two don't play well together, reducing manifold vacuum considerably and leading to a rough idle. Amskeptic has come by a couple times on his circuit and we've tuned it up pretty nicely while warm. It still doesn't want to idle when you first start it up, but after a few minutes of driving it'll maintain a rough idle, after 10 minutes or so of running, it'll idle just fine. Take it on a freeway run or road trip and it idles nicely. I'll bet someone more experienced than me could really dial it in.

eche_bus wrote: Hey, a big congrats on the new Westy! Looks like someone took pretty good care of it all these years, too!

Yeah, I've been thinking for over a year now that I should be on the hunt for a better candidate for restoration and use than Greta, my other bus. I think the extra money I've put into this one up front will save me some cash down the line with the body shop if/when that arises. Till then, it'll be camping, road trips, maintenance, and make some incremental improvements, referencing your thread frequently. :wink:

wcfvw69 Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:35 am

It sounds like you really scored getting such a nice original bus with a freshly rebuilt engine.

You may consider hiring a automotive detailing pro that comes to your house. They will wash, polish and wax the paint it for you. The use the correct products for the paint. The good ones really know their stuff and the results they get are amazing.

Look forward to your updates.

Stuartzickefoose Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:46 am

wcfvw69 wrote: It sounds like you really scored getting such a nice original bus with a freshly rebuilt engine.

You may consider hiring a automotive detailing pro that comes to your house. They will wash, polish and wax the paint it for you. The use the correct products for the paint. The good ones really know their stuff and the results they get are amazing.

Look forward to your updates.

Hire vDubTech


;)

jtauxe Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:49 am

wcfvw69 wrote: Congrats! It looks very dry and original. Is it original paint as well?
No, that respray is off-color.

RONIN10 Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:41 pm

jtauxe wrote: wcfvw69 wrote: Congrats! It looks very dry and original. Is it original paint as well?
No, that respray is off-color.

Not sure when the rear passenger side was resprayed, but the rest of the bus spent several years in New Mexico so there is some corresponding fading due to the considerable sun down there, both in the paint and the fabric inside. What was NOT (edited) resprayed looks very original with no overspray marks to be found and the transitions from exterior to interior surfaces appear factory clean in those areas.

Either way, at some point well down the line this will see the body shop to get the imperfections removed and back to one uniform color.

RONIN10 Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:28 pm

Well, it's official! Greta has been sold:


Enjoy her, Xevin! With the new bus in the stable and parking at a premium...


...something had to be done.

Before Greta left though, I had scrambled to get some of her goodies transferred over to the new bus (tentatively named Gertie until we see if it sticks). First up was the wheels I had powder coated Argent Silver almost two years ago and the wonderful Nokian Hakkapelita C Van tires which were rotated front to back before putting them on Gertie.

I was also able to transfer over the Westfalia towbar which I had gotten shortly after the wheels and tires. I gave it an Ospho wipedown to keep the rusty spots from getting worse, but not much else. At some point, I'll have it powder coated as well.
.

Also got around to snapping the obligatory photo of the M-plate:


Photo rotated for ease of reading, but nothing too profound here. The bus was delivered to San Francisco as a California-spec vehicle and the usual Deluxe Camper goodies.

I have discovered a couple of issues to add to the to-do list in the short time I've had her. Most importantly, the bus doesn't have a thermostat and the driver side poptop hinge is bent. Nothing substantial task-wise to deal with, just need to get them checked off. I also picked up table leg for the rear table from a local seller, just need to hunt down the fluted knob for locking the table leg in position. Beyond those items, I'm just getting moved in so to speak, getting all the camping gear transferred from Greta to this bus and rethinking my organization within the bus.



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