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71 Westy -- bought new in London by my father, rolls again!
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sunnydog
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject: 71 Westy -- bought new in London by my father, rolls again! Reply with quote

Hey everybody, I am new here. There is a long story to tell if you are interested. But for 10 years this has been the view off my patio.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


A westy in the barn, so what? That's pretty common. Here's the short version. My dad bought this bus brand new in London in October of 1970. We lived in Cambridge while he went to school for 6 months, then wandered around Europe in it for another six months. Shipped it back stateside, then to Oregon, then moved to SW Washington in about 1972.

I grew up in this bus. It was our family's daily driver. In summers we drove roadtrips to Yellowstone and Glacier and Banff and Jasper. Every year we drove to Tahoe. But when I was about 14, my dad sold it to a friend of his. I never drove it.

Fast forward about 8 years and I am a longhaired greasy-fingered Volks fan, helping my friends keep their buses on the road, though I didn't own one myself. My buddy tells me he needs my help starting a bus that has been sitting for years that he is going to buy. We roll open the garage door and it is the very same bus I grew up in. We get it started, he drives it for years: Utah, Big Sur. He lives in it in the parking lot of Evergreen St College in Olympia for a semester. I tell him, "when you are ready to sell it, sell it to me". Finally he does. That's about 1997. I am fourth owner.

I drove it mostly as a weekender for camping, but did take a nice trip to Bryce Canyon and Zion in UT and another to Salmon River and Hell's Canyon in ID. But the motor had 205k original on it. One day at 60mph the oil light came on. I pulled over, cooled down and filled the oil, and made it home. Knowing it was time for a rebuild, I put it in the garage.

But that was right when I decided to go back to college, so I had no funds. It took 5 years for the BS degree, then I was invited into an MS program, still no funds, during which I got marrried, kids, adoption, bought a house, moved, moved, moved again, etc. Life! Still no funds.

10 years ago, the bus went in the barn with the goats. Here in rainyville, there is only about 4 weeks a year I can even drive to or from the barn. So, I decided this is the year. A couple evenings of tinkering got it running, and look what is back in my driveway:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That brown stain down the side of it is where the goats have been rubbing against it.

And wheels off for powdercoat and new tires:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Yes, there's dents and rust, yes the bus is not stock, and I do not intend to make it or keep it that way, so what. This bus has had an awesome life, and it is time IT had the opportunity to have more of it.

Here's the crazy fun part, I have a raft of photos of this bus from everywhere, starting with the very day it was purchased. I have a pictures of it under the Eiffel Tower, and along the sea coasts of Yugoslavia, Spain and Greece.

Documentation: I have the original bill of sale with my father's signature. I have the original owner's manual and accessories brochure. I have receipts for every service my father did, including oil change paperwork from various European countries. When my buddy owned it, he wrote every oil change and service he did in the front cover of his Muir Guide, which he gave it to me as part of the sale.

Stuff: I have most of the original Westy stuff -- the (old, cracked, totally unusable) spare tire that says "Wolfsburg", the stool, both underdash shelves with the mesh, the original radio, the complete circus tent, the snap-on bug screen for the back door, the original white/yellow/brown snap curtains for the baywindow, the extension cord. I did remove the sink/cooler assembly for more room, so that is gone...

Despite the goodies, like I said, I've no intention of restoring this bus into a show bus. This bus is supposed to be, wants to be, a runner. I've been failing it by keeping it off the road for all these years. It's long past time I held up my part of the bargain. So I am happy to have this forum to announce it to y'all: down from the barn, back on the road, keep on chooglin'. Maybe I'll see some of you on the back roads of the great Pacific Northwest!
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Yondermtn
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome!
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Resnatron
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How about some of those "brand new" pics?
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Bala
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story, great bus!
Can't wait to see more!
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Kirk
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome! Dont restore it for sure. EAch of those dents tells a tale, most of which you know. Get it going, drive it. But post and share those old pics!
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9mmMike
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great first post!

Very cool story and bus. Please keep the thread updated with pictures (past and present)!
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dasdachshund
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where in SW Washington are you? If it rains that much, you must be over by the coast.

Happy restore.

-dasdachshund
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obnoxiousblue
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome story, glad its back where it belongs, and glad you're "living up to your end of the bargain" can't wait to see more of this bus, see pics of before, during, and of where you take it.
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Thrasher22
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's awesome! It would be cool to find a way to work some of those photos (or copies of) into the bus somehow.
I wish I had stories about my bus, the last owner alluded to some interesting former owners and I wish I'd pushed for more details...
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dfwagnerjr
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is awesome.., as others have said. I never met a goat I didn't like.
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Pinetops
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a great story. I think you do owe it to yourself, your bus and your dad/family to get that old bus back on the road! As you already know it will be well worth it. So what kind of plans do you have for it? Keeping that rare goat sweat patina? Smile
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Boesen
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roll it and enjoy it. Great story and good to see it's back in your family. Smile
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Westfabulous
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fabulous story. Wow, what a treasure. Please share pics and keep us posted on your progress. I enjoyed the read, and your level of literacy. Wink
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Hikelite
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome story! While I love my bus, I can only imagine how special this VW is to you. It would be an amazing story for any owner that their bus had driven all over Europe, but for you to have been in it?!?!?! Priceless!
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sunnydog
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:10 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thanks to everybody for your kind responses. I didn't have ready access to good scanner, but here's a couple of early pics for you to enjoy: This is the day the old bus came to us at when we lived at Holyrood Close, Cambridge. Note the popped top in the neighborhood and the orange and white balloons from the dealership for the three kids. I am the youngest, sitting on mom's lap, with a black stocking cap. I am 2 years old. My older brother and sister, too. Dig those long socks! This is Oct 1970.
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Parking lot of the London Zoo in Oct 1970: Mom is standing outside in a sweet 70s housecoat, scarf and pointy glasses, looking demure. You can see Dad's shadow as he takes the pic. Us three kids are crammed together for the photo. I am rocking some bright red pants. Both these pictures show the side mirrors turned horizontal on the bus? Did it come that way from the dealer? Damn, that needs it's own thread!
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The bus parked in front of the British Houses of Parliament, in front of the statue of Richard the Lion-Hearted. Sort of between Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. This is Fall of 1970 -- seriously, can you even park there now? Stock wheels were grey/silver alloy rims and caps. As I get it back on the road, I am going with chrome caps and white powdercoat rims. Why? Well, why not?
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Desertbusman
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tremendous story and history. Do good to it and give it lots of love. It's so much more than just a bus. It's a family keeper so make sure it's preserved and passes on to the kids.

A friend of mine here drove his dads purchase of a new '70 home from the dealership in Guatamala. Then years later he and his wife drove it up here. It's a family keeper and inheritance.
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nineteensixtyfiveVG
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

amazing.
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blue77bay
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a fabulous story ,loved the pics ,PLEASE keep us updated and congratulations
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WestyPop
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story. The pics are fantastic. Have fun with your camper; it still looks pretty solid.
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ccpalmer
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story!
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