I don’t want to sound dramatic, but that hasn’t stopped me this far, so I’ll just say it – getting Bustache was the work of destiny.
Steve and I went camping for my birthday. We go every year, but this last year, two of our college friends joined us. And they brought a friend. Her name is Peach.
Peach is a 1978 Orange pop-top VW Bus. And she was our first. 60 minutes of driving down the northern CA coast singing along to Tom Petty in the comfort of a retro mobile living-room, and we were hooked. We could do this every weekend, we exclaimed! This could be our life.
We, of course, were only half serious. But, I, often being the over-eager (and sometimes unrealistic) half of our duo, started searching our local craigslist posting the night we got home. We live in Orange County, and, unlike in the more liberal leaning regions of LA and the Bay, the pickings were slim. But there was one post that stuck out. It started like this:
“Unique 1979 Adventure Wagon: The Bustache is for sale :(“
The Bustache? The van’s name is “The Bustache?”
It went on:
“This bus is sleazy-hence the affectionate nickname “Bustache”. With a Safari top, it towers above all other cars, putting them to shame. It is equipped with a folding bed , a stove/sink/fridge unit and all the head room you could ever ask for, unless you’re a giant. It has tons of storage basically everywhere and has been our weekend home at the beach countless times.”
It is only getting better, I thought. But then I read:
“It ran out of oil and now needs an engine rebuild. I don’t have the money for it so it is with a very heavy heart that I am selling simply the best vehicle ever.”
It doesn’t run. It is too good to be true.
See, this was less than 48 hours from our very first encounter with Peach and her kind. We had yet to learn of the unbreakable VW Bus spirit. And so I knew taking a chance on a non-running auto was not the smartest idea.
But I sent the posting to Steve anyway, and received this response:
“AHHHHHHH, IT IS PERFECT!!!! WE MUST GO SEE THIS VAN…AND MAYBE BUY IT….IF WE CAN GET IT CHEAP ENOUGH, I AM SERIOUS! “ (copied directly from Steve’s e-mail)
Still off our weekend high, it looked like we were willing to throw caution to the wind. So I gave the contact from the posting a call.
Her name was Ms. E. She was enthusiastic. She made Bustache seem like a deal. But she had other people interested. We had competition. Competition from people who were willing to pay more than we were for a non-running camper.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we exchanged e-mails. Set up a couple of failed appointments to meet. Ms. E. liked us enough. But she had people willing to pay more. One guy offered to trade a Vagaon, and she seemed to prefer that arrangement.
With the euphoria of my birthday weekend fading, and 400 miles between us and Peach, Steve and I became more hesitant about making this kind of purchase. Old cars are a risk. A risk that usually ends in frustration, heartbreak, and lots of money lost. Our buying price got smaller, as did our likelihood of securing Bustache.
After a month and a half of negotiating, discussing and updating, Ms. E let me know someone had committed to buying Bustache for a higher amount than we were willing to offer. She’d let us know if anything changed, but it appeared to be a done deal. And that was that. Our dream of joining the ranks of bus ownership was over.
Or was it? (I guess you already know the answer to this one… Drats! My attempt at creating suspense is ruined!)