from the shores of sunny California USA to the sunny shores of the UK, quite a journey…

A few of posts ago, I was thinking about trying to trace the last Californian owner detailed on the US title to find out some more of the history of my van. Well thought finally turned to action, and I put a post up on a big American VW forum called thesamba.com to see if anyone knew or could help me get in contact with the previous owner…

Well, I’m glad that we live in the days of the internet, as sure enough a very helpful forum member who lived pretty near the address location, and after a brief exchange of messages, I got in contact with someone out of the blue and sue enough, it turned out it was indeed their old bus! Happy days!

beach bus – at home by the sea in sunny California, Highway 1 (Circa 1995)
beach bus – at home by the sea in sunny California, Highway 1 (Circa 1995)

The bus was owned by Gary at Two Larry’s Racing for some twenty plus years, and he has been really helpful in sharing his memories of the bus, along with sharing various photos of the bus from the past. So a big thanks to Gary and the people at Two Larry’s Racing for looking after the bus for so long prior to it coming over here for its european adventure!

When Gary first saw the bus, he was in high school. A friend had purchased it from the original owner, an elderly lady in Diamond Springs, CA. To the best of his knowledge, it’s been in this area of California for it’s entire life since being imported! This would go a long way to explain the solid and dry condition of the bus underneath!

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Gary’s friend immediately slammed the bus to the ground, so low that you couldn’t even get it into a driveway! This goes to explain the dents in the rear wheel arches from its initial time of being so low, I guess the hub caps must have pushed the arches out a little! So that’s one little mystery solved!

in the woods saying hello to a younger VW relative
in the woods saying hello to a younger VW relative

They only drove it a couple of months before they blew the engine (surprise!) and then it sat for a while. Then Gary (in his early 20’s) bought it from him for $250 (oh for a time machine!), raised it back up from the deck, and brought it back to life. It was then kitted out with a full length roof rack and traveled to a lot of VW shows, to help buy/sell parts at various swap meets. It’s probably been to in excess of 30 shows in four states!

sporting a full length roof rack for working various swap meet shows
sporting a full length roof rack for working various swap meet shows

Maybe if you saw it there, or have any old photos of it, you could get in contact with me, I’d love to hear any more stories or see old photos etc. of it from its time in the US…

woodland lifestyle
woodland lifestyle

After a while, the original transmission finally gave up somewhere in the early 2000’s, so a replacement gearbox was built for it!

catching some Californian sunshine
catching some Californian sunshine

Gary had plans for it at the time so added a Super Street bus transmission with a .388 ring and pinion and built a 1907cc engine to match. That must have been pretty fun! Unfortunately, the Two Larry Racing 1907cc engine was no longer with the bus by the time it got to me!

the Two Larry's Racing 1907cc engine that was originally in the bus
the Two Larry’s Racing 1907cc engine that was originally in the bus

The engine running in the bus sounded pretty sweet!

Eventually life takes it’s winding course, and Gary ended up parking the bus in 2008. However, after a while couldn’t stand to see it sitting any longer without a job, so late in 2013 Gary went to work on it again and brought it back to running condition before advertising it for sale…

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