Should I Buy A Bus?

Alex was amazed to learn that both his mom’s and my first cars were Volkswagen Bugs.

I bought a used 1965 bug back in 1969 not too long after I got my driver’s license. I had been working at Burger Boy drive-in in Waimalu for most of the year and had saved most of the money I had made–$1.25-an-hour!

It was a deep forest green with an A.M. radio! I added an 8-track tape player with home stereo speakers behind the rear seat. I used to drive around with “Ina Gadda Da Vida” blasting from the 8-track. I taught my friend Sonia how to drive in that car, in the Aiea High parking lot. That car got me into and out of more trouble than I can describe here!

I drove that Bug until a year after I graduated from high school when I joined the Navy, then I sold it to my friend, Carlton. I didn’t get another bug until several years later, after getting out of the Navy.

I got my second Bug, a hot rod 1972 some time around 1978. It was deep red, had one-piece door windows and American Racing rims with slightly wide-profile radial tires. The car had a beefy 1835cc motor with dual 44-IDE Weber carbs, ported-and-polished heads, 3/4-race camshaft, racing clutch and racing transmisison with super-low gear ratios. The interior had a full roll cage, just in case, gauges, a nice custom steering wheel and a racing shifter. The interior was gutted of the back seat and a wood “floor” covered in carpet was added to dress the back seat area. The doors and back panels had light-weight button-tuck panels added. In front, a pair of fiberglass bucket seats with thick, heavy duty seat belts and shoulder straps finished it off.

When I met her in 1977, my present wife Jean knew how to drive her father’s automatic-transmission Buick. In 1978, I set about teaching her to drive a standard shift in my “race-ready” hot rod Bug! I took her up to what is now Royal Summit, which was under initial construction, as it was steep and hilly. I pointed the hot rod Bug up the hill, put her in the driver’s seat and taught her how to start up while going up a really steep hill, first.

Jean’s first car was a baby blue 1968 Bug that she bought some time around 1978, after I had finished with Blaine’s Hot Rod Driving Lessons! We drove out to Kahala and bought the cute blue Bug, used, from an ad in the paper. Jean didn’t want to drive it home; she was scared! So I drove the new Bug home while she drove the hot rod! Later when she took her new car for a drive, she couldn’t get over how easy it was compared to my hot rod. 🙂

Recently, my boy Alex gained a fascination with Volkswagen Bugs, both new- and old-style. He started collecting VW toys a few months back, built a couple of models and talks about owning a Bug when he gets old enough to buy his own car. When I pulled out an old photo album and showed him my hot rod from the ’70s, he flipped! Then I told him about my collection of Bug toys that is stashed somewhere in my house. He wants me to go fish it out of storage so he can add it to his collection, right now!

I currently drive a 2000 Nissan Frontier quad-cab pickup. It’s getting up in miles and is nearing the time when it will start to need regular, heavy service.

I started looking around for a newer truck that I could trade the Nissan for when I got the idea it might be fun to own an old Bug again. But I needed the truck for ferrying the flotsam and jetsam that comes with being a soccer coach. I need to bring a big bag with all kinds of soccer needs to every practice and game. There are the cones–you gotta have cones to be a soccer coach. There’s the big pop-up tent to keep the kids cool while waiting for the game. And I usually lug a cooler and water jug to the games.

A Bug just wouldn’t be practical–too small.

Then I got the idea to get a VW van! Not one of the newer guys, mind you, but an old classic. I’ve been poring over the classified ads in the two dailies, plus looking at some of the free picture classifieds publications looking for an old Volkswagen van… you know, the old “hippie” vans! this one:

<img src=”” alt=”VW Sundial camper van”>

While looking in the papers, I found an old 1961 VW camper van for a reasonable price. The bugga is cuuuute!!! I think I’m going to go look at it tonight. Letcha know what happens.