HISTORY // Der Bus was originally purchased new by an engineer and his wife in ’75 in Massachusetts and used to drive to town, etc. Over the years, he developed muscular dystrophy and found himself wheelchair bound, so he had some modifications made. The middle row of seats were removed, the floor was lowered by 8 inches, a wheel chair ramp was installed and the side door was motorized. Unfortunately, he eventually passed away and in 2008 his daughter sold it to me, an enthusiastic high school senior/future mechanical engineering who liked taking things apart. At the time, before the odometer broke, Der Bus only had about 81,000 miles on it.
In 2009, I left for college in Wisconsin leaving Der Bus behind until 2011 when I decided to ship it out to Madison with a transport company. I drove it in Madison for a couple years periodically; sometimes stored with a garage, sometime not. In 2013, it became my daily driver on an off for 2 years depending on the temperature (it didn’t do well below zero).
In 2015, I moved to San Francisco and decided that I wouldn’t need a car so I decided to drive it back to my parent’s house in Massachusetts. So over Thanksgiving, my father and I, wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags, drove it the ~1100 miles without a single issue the whole way! And it is here that it has been for the last year.
Over the years, as you would expect, various issues would come up and depending on how busy I was they would be fixed within a couple days to a couple months. This has been the most frustrating and rewarding part of owning this car. Even with no real experience working on cars, there’s yet to be a problem that I haven’t been able to fix with the help of some friends at Sector 67.
- Running engine!
- Automatic transmission (RARE)
- Electric Side Door (RARE) – I lost the wheel chair ramp somehow over the years
- Custom Speaker System
THINGS I HAVE REPLACED (RECENTLY-ISH) //
- Brake master cylinder
- Ignition Coil
- Distributor Cap
- Wind Shield Wipers
- Engine Mount
- Oil Pressure Switch
- Spark Plugs
- Head Gaskets
- I’m sure other things that I can’t remember
ISSUES TO BE FIXED //
- Front door locks are broken (~$40 to fix)
- Passenger Side Mirror Glass missing
- Cosmetic Rust spots on exterior
- Various other minor nicks