What kind of bus do you have?
Clyde is a 1973 Adventurewagen............ He belonged to a good Vw friend of mine (Rick) in Shreveport , Louisiana……. Rick had a shop in Shreveport and had been using the bus occassionally on canoe trips….. Rick had retired from his Vw work and the shop had closed… like so many in current days…. The bus fell into disrepair and was put to pasture. I found Clyde sitting about 20 miles south of town in the middle of another friends pasture……. They joked about hanging targets on it for sighting in hunting rifles.. Clyde was going to waste… all the tires were flat. The motor was in boxes inside…. All the cabinets were eaten up by ants…… and he was home to a gazillion red wasps…. But he was 100% original…. I had to have him…..
When did you become interested in VW Buses?
I’ve been a Vw guy since 1975….. My first Vw was a 1971 Beetle…. It was my main transportation for work and school. When I joined the military in 1980 I moved to Koln Germany…… there I was in the “Kafer Klub Koln” Vw club…… I was the only american in the club of over 100 members…… we traveled all over Germany to events and often camped in our Vw’s on the grounds….. I slept many a night in my bugs…. Wishing I had a Bus but didn’t get one while I lived there… I worked for the German Luftwaffe during my 5 years there. All of our vehicles were Vw’s We had a Vanagon , 2 Kombi’s, a (Kafer) Beetle, a Thing, and a Passat….. all painted camo green….. We would blast the autobahn in the kombi’s going to and from outlying work areas…….Kind of cool….Most of our support equipment for the aircraft were Vw powered also…. Beetle engines..
Tell us about a trip you took in your bus that stands out in your mind?
Well, Clyde survived the trip........... We left out Friday evening getting to the mountain top park about 1 hour after dark..(about a 4 hr drive) .......the campground is on the peak of the mountain and has scrub trees on top........ We setup camp and got the steaks on the grill for dinner...... about as soon as we had the campfire roaring pretty good and our belly's full of great dinner, things changed like someone flushed the punch bowl...... A cold front had made it to us and instantly the wind went to 40+ mph with a 30 degree temp drop ........ Fire embers were shooting everywhere from the great fire i made earlier......... ... Next thing we know all the stuff on the table was gone... We saved what we could and made for Clyde..... Luckily i had setup Clyde for the night prior to dinner so all we had to do was get in and get the heat going..... we spent the rest of the evening enjoying some beverages and watching a movie ... ... The wind increased to over 50 mph (according to the park rangers) for most of the night until about 8 am the next morning...... It just roared and shook Clyde but we were very toasty and warm.... My Temp panel said it was 29 degrees outside and 72 inside...... not counting wind chill... We made it through the storm and woke up to ice and frozen fog on trees and Clyde....... Saturday the sky opened up to Blue and got to a decent temp without wind... We went for a Valentines hike on the mountain to "Lovers Leap" ..... Very scenic and a nice hike..... Bear were in abundance in the area so we had a short visit on the trail..... made it back to camp for some relaxation and music........ Had a great evening and the return trip Sunday was uneventful..... Clyde enjoyed the windy mountain roads and so did my wife...... This place is neat for a visit but not really for camping very long..... It's a RV park with hookups and hot showers which was a hit with the wife.... We did get to tryout some new gadgets and see what needs to be changed on Clyde for future campouts......
What modification have you done that you are happiest with?
The watercooled conversion I did on Clyde is one of the boldest things I’ve done to one…I’ve always been sort of a “Purist” and decided to go to the “Dark Side”. I wanted to see if I could do it….. Many folks out there would say it’s not worth it….It won’t work, it’ll depreciate the value…. But ya know…. I don’t get/drive Vw’s for the investment….i enjoy them and have fun in them…… This conversion has opened up more options for Clyde…. Now all the fab work is done I can change to different engines like swapping socks……
The 2.8L V6 Chevy was not my 1st choice… I was originally looking at the 1.8 Golf motor, then the 2.8 Ford V6 from the Scorpio, and the 2300 cc Ford Mustang motor…. Of these the Chevy was the most cost effective choice for the conversion….. with 190-200 hp and 200 ft. Lb torque Clyde is a tank….. more than enough power to move him down the road and towing abilities only dreamed about by other bus owners…. He is very driver friendly in town and cruises great on the highway getting 21 mpg… until I open up the 4bbl carb passing someone…. LOL
What is one of your favorite things about owning a VW bus?
It’s a piece of my history……. Where I come from and where I’m going …. The bus was a simple design that left a lot to the imagination…… you can connect with it and personalize it to your taste…. I’ve not had but a handful of folks ever have a bad thing to say about it….. most remember the simpler times and the fun they’ve had in one…… And…. “Chicks dig the Bus”… My wife hates it too……… Everywhere we go in Clyde there’s always several women and or young girls that comment on their love of Clyde….. I just look at my wife and always say “ Baby… Chicks dig the Bus” to which she smacks me with her backhand …. And says she doesn’t understand it….. LOL
What advice would you give a "new" VW bus owner?
Just because your bus isn’t “finished” or “pretty” doesn’t make it any less a Bus….. they are all unique, each with it’s own character that needs to be set loose on the world…. Get it mechanically sound and drive and enjoy it…….. you can “Buff that $#!T out” later….. and make it purty……
Enjoy your bus………. Drive it…. Don’t get discouraged because you don’t understand it or a problem your having with it…. Seek help, study the service manual, be patient and you will grow with your bus……. With a complete understanding of what it means to be a “Bus Driver”.
I am 48 years old……. I work for the U.S. Airforce in Northwest Louisiana. I’ve been with them for 30 years……. (dang I’m getting old) …. I’ve been into Vw’s since about 1975… I have owned over 48-50 in my time and currently own 3….. Clyde a 1973 Adventurewagen Baja Bus , My show winning 1970 Formula Vee, and Christine, a 1961 Deluxe Beetle that I’m currently restoring…. I can do most anything to cars……
I’ve race stockcars for over 11 years and won many races, Autocross (SCCA ProSolo) raced for many years and drove in a Rally race the Eifel mountains in Germany, Competed in 2 offroad races , won many Mud drag races in a Vw… I don’t know eveything but know just enough to be dangerous….. and I’m very dangerous …..LOL
I have a lovely wife that’s a RN and 2 daughters…. Both in college……. And a Cat named Maggie…..
I’ve lived in 35 states and Europe in my life and been to over 10 countries on both sides of the globe. Because of this I’m very open to others way of life and views…
I’m all about this country and what it stands for……. Red, White and Blue runs through my veins … just ask anyone ….. I think this is the greatest place in the world….. and I’m doing my part to keep it that way…
Cause we get to drive Busses… “ I love My Bus”…….