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Kermit, the highroof Westy
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WhitewallsJohnson
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: Kermit, the highroof Westy Reply with quote

Hi everyone, im new to the bay forum. I gave up my 70 Dormobile several years ago to fund my 59 Singlecab. Half a dozen split screens later and excited to be back behind the wheel of a bay camper.

Five or Six years ago i remember seeing what i thought was an adventurewagen cruising the streets of a neighboring town. Its disappeared a year or so later. Chance led us to its resting place last April. I was surprised and intrigued to find it was a very original, very complete WESTFALIA that had only travelled 90,103 miles. I fell in love with it. Ive always loved highroofs but never really cared for the american camper conversions. I also love the sage green and plaid color combination. It wasnt really for sale but the owned offered it to us. I loved it but it was just way too much to pay for a 15th VW. Five months later i still couldnt quit thinking about it. My wife surprised me by leaving a note on the bus with a much more reasonable offer. The owner called and I picked it up last week.

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As i always do, i asked the owner for some history on the bus. He then opened, the door, reached into the glovebox and handed me a book.

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I handed the man the cash Laughing

Apparently he was the second owner but the orignal owners had written this book after spending 13 months vagabonding around europe and the middle east in "kermit". They spent 6 months planning the trip and made the final comitment by purchasing a brand new 1977 westfalia at their local dealership in Saint Louis. They chose the westfalia because "It was a house on wheels but only one room at a time". The Warabows chose sage green because of their fondness for the kermit green.

Kermit was to be a US spec westy for tourist pick up in europe. Apparently the uS dealer get the comission and the European dealer gets to prepare the car for pick up. So the only accomodation they received from the european dealer was a free can of touch up paint. Guess what i found under the seat next to the original jack and tool kit?

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Unfortunately someone used to "touch up" the nose but i cant complain.

Now back to the story, the Warabows picked up Kermit, their 12 month temporary european license plate and a "US" origin sticker. You can see the sticker in the photo from the back cover of the book and its still there! They spent the next 13 months travelling through England, Ireland, France, Monaco, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweeden,, Switzerlang, Austria, Germany, East Germany, Hungary, Romaina, Turkey. Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, and more. By the time Kermit was shipped back to the US, he had logged just under 25,000 miles and 30+ countries in thirteen months!

He wasnt done yet. I dont know his history from 1978 to 2002 but, there is a US atlet from the early 80s in the closet, a 1984 Mexican tourist sticker on the passenger vent window and some mid 1980's California state park admission stubs in the ashtray. The next paper trail picks up in Harrison, Arkansas where he was purchase in 2002. He was then parked in 2004 where he sat until last week.

Im in the process of cleaning him up and trying to get him back on the road by fall. So far the paint has buffer out nicely, the interior is almost perfect, and i fired him up yesterday morning.

I was very surprised that he started on the second crank. Especially since the gas guage said empty. I was also surprised to see gas spraying up into the passenger compartment through the rear inspection hatch! Shocked

The hoses looked fairly recent but were not EFI rated. They were pumping fuel everywhere. Luckily i had removed the cushions to clean under then, so they didnt get drenched.

Just picked up the new EFI hoses and clamps (nearly 50 bucks!) and i hope to get them in today.

Ill try to get some recent pic.s up soon.
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norcalmike
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok did i miss something?

when did the highroof get put on?

in the book sketches and photo, it looks like a poptop
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mackmix
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back, that's a cool story! I wonder what happened to the original owners/ authors.
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norcalmike
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

man, that books expensive.

amazon seller are asking anywhere form 19-41 dollars USED
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calebmelvin
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, looks like the roof was a later addition to the bus, probably when the got it back to the states.

Very cool, I love buses with history!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is a cool story.
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WhitewallsJohnson
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, im sorry i left that out. I had it in my first post and i lost everything when i submitted it, so.....the bus was delivered as a pop top but the book mentions how it began leaking almost immediately and began to mold. There are more illustrations in the book (by the authors) that clearly show the top popped up. However, they alsom mention the attention they drew with thier huge plastic roof. Question I havent found a reference to the top replacement yet but im not finished with the book.

After looking at all the hightop campers i can find, it appears to be a Safare' top. Every westy hightop i can find on the samba also has the same top. Its perfectly installed and the woodwork matches the westy interior. The cushions for the full bed also match the lower upholstery. Im at a loss.

We know the owners took it out to california after the book was published, so it may have been converted then.

Wow, those books are pricey. Im not sure how interesting it would be to anyone else but its fascinating to me, because its full of this bus's history. I just read how they had the spare relocated to the front in Turkey and they used bolts that the VW toolkit did not fit. Sure enough, theyre 16 millimeter. Laughing
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WhitewallsJohnson
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought id post an update on Kermit's progress.

Ive finshed cleaning and buffing. Turned out pretty nice. The only repaint is the rims. Just mounted a set of Hankook RA08 195R-14Cs and theyre amazing! This big ass highroof handles almost like a normal car now!

Mechanically, ive had to replace all the highpressure fuel hoses that were spraying like a lawn sprinkler! The facotry exhaust was shot so i took the cheap way out and ordered an empi header/quitpack. I DO NOT recommend it. Multiple clearance issues to sort out but it sounds pretty good when your done.

I had the fuel pump jamb once and i checked power to the pump, the AFM and doudle relay but all it took to fix it was a simple tap on the pump itself. Is this a fluke, maybe just some shellac from old fuel after sitting for so many years or should i expect this pump to fail?

Other than this simple stuff and some dirty contacts on the solenoid ive been amazed at how little the bus has needed after such a long sit.

Ive really been been nejoying the nice ride, great brakes and smooth quiet power of the type 4. This thing is a world apart from all my splitties!

Found the original owner's address and sent them a letter hoping for some pictures, post-book history and especially some info about the top.

Ive put about 500 miles on it so far and just checked my milage. It was 15! Whats normal for a highroof 2litre? I live in the ozarks, so its hilly, and i bet the taller tires are creating some speedo error but 15?

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Mango Juice
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice looking westfalia...I recently found one of those also with a top like yours....this one is loaded..under dash a/c...factory tow hitch...side step...the current owner had a car lot and took it as a trade in from the original owners, I think the speedo reads 77k...no rot that I found and it is original white paint, it is for sale and has been sitting for five years....amazes me how much froom these have.

Here it is...1976 year model
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WhitewallsJohnson
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool. Thats a really interesting bus.

Ive been searching the samba and only found a three other Westfalias with hightops. So far and all of them have the exact same roof. The windows vary just a little but the top is the same. Yours and mine make 5 of them.

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I absolutely love the top. Your right, it seems like its twice as big plus you have permanant dry storage.
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Buscuss
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:23 pm    Post subject: Kermit, the high roof Westy Reply with quote

What a find, Whitewalls. Looks good. That certainly looks like a Safare hitop. My thread, "Safares....where are they?" is now on page 6, I think. Check it for comparison of the tops. Look for a Safare Custom Campers manufacturers plate.

The lower two pix in the set of three also look like Safare tops. Any interior pix available?
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WhitewallsJohnson
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought they were all the sam but now i think your right. The lower two appear to be a little different than the top picture. Id say mine more closely resembles the top photo than the lower two. The profiles are just slightly different in the rear.

Do you know who supplied Safare tops or if they were made in house?

There arent any badges on my top, nor is there any evidence of old rivet holes or previous sealant. It appears to have been a new top when it was installed. Maybe safare did just top conversion by request? Ill get some pictures of the interior of the top.

After looking at Mango Juice's gallery, it looks like there might be a badge on the rear of his find.

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From that angle his looks different from mine too. I dont think the rear of my top has such a dramatic step down in the profile.

Interesting stuff.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject: Kermit, the highroof Westy Reply with quote

That top pic could have been an owner's request for a top w/o windows. It sure looks like a Safare top.

Safare tops installed on original Westy's isn't new for me. I'm sure there are Safares which were original Safare interiors, but later changed to a Westy interior. When I acquired my Safare, it had Westy-type interior stuff in it, with a sink/fridge combo right in the doorway. I ripped it out and built a custom cabinet behind the driver for sink, stove w/ fridge under. It is still the only Safare poptop I've come across.

Whitewalls- Would you refer the owner's of those campers to my thread, "Safares....where are they?" lately on page 6, this forum. Post as much detail and as many pix as you can. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: POP Smurf Reply with quote

Sweet looking high roof i've been thinking of geeting me another one just cant get enought of them.. heres some pics of my high roof 68 deluxs it's my daily driver it has a after market shell , called a whale top camper made by ez-go campers. thats what the pervious owner told me. He was handiecap so he got rid of the intieor Shocked like stove frigid sink but over all it handels pretty good, you got to own one to know how to drive one.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a really cool bus marco.

Are those side windows flush with the top or do they stand out vertically? Its hard to tell from the angle of the photos.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WhitewallsJohnson wrote:
Thats a really cool bus marco.

Are those side windows flush with the top or do they stand out vertically? Its hard to tell from the angle of the photos.


they stand vertically heres some better pics of the the top that i took today.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a really cool top marcos. Thatnks for the extra pic.s I like the way the body line follows the leading edge of the windows and the ribs on the top.

Ive been trying to identify my top, in hopes that i could figure out where it came from. Im just wondering if its an aftermarket top, or whether it was installed by an american camper conversion company.

So far Safares seem to most closely resemble the shape of mine but the rear body line is a little different. I just found this one in the gallery that looks like an exact match (except for the window).

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Shocked
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panic_fan
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Story....Ever hear back from the Original Owners?
I found the address in my bus from the 1st owners...sent them a pic and letter. Hoping they would send something back. But, I am still waiting. Sad
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WhitewallsJohnson wrote:
Thats a really cool top marcos. Thatnks for the extra pic.s I like the way the body line follows the leading edge of the windows and the ribs on the top.

Ive been trying to identify my top, in hopes that i could figure out where it came from. Im just wondering if its an aftermarket top, or whether it was installed by an american camper conversion company.

So far Safares seem to most closely resemble the shape of mine but the rear body line is a little different. I just found this one in the gallery that looks like an exact match (except for the window).

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Shocked


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very very nice hi top! I remember the previous owner of mine always saying, "Enjoy the ride cause no top gets that high."

Here are a few pics of Dante.

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