In 1980 we were expecting our first child, so we decided that we needed a larger vehicle. Being that we both had Beetles, we decided
that the light blue '68 would be the one to go. I found a '68 Squareback and we thought this would be a good family car. It belonged
to two German tourists who had flown to Washington and they bought the Squareback for their USA trip. They brought the car to us
and offered it for $1200. They had bought the car for $1500 and were having engine problems with it, so they wanted to purchase a
more reliable vehicle. More reliable that a Volkswagen? Not a chance! The car was painted a hideous gold color. I knew what the
problem was and it was one that could be easily fixed. The interior was in beautiful condition and I knew this was worth buying.
Shortly after buying it we moved to a mobile home in San Bernardino. Our son Marc was born in May of 1981 and we joke that he
was born holding a tool in each hand. He loved cars and was eager to help Dad with the repairs. He tried very hard to open the
Squareback's engine compartment. I guess he wanted to give me a few tips. The car had a very bad paint job and the ugly gold paint
began flaking off right away. I removed it with many razor blades. After removing the paint, the car went to work with me to work and
Toyota did all the paint and body work on it. Below are some photos showing the process. There is an interesting story about the
wheels on here. I was working for Bob Lilligard in 1978 and these particular wheels are the first set of reproduction Empi Wheels .
He had been given permission to produce the wheels. These are the first set that came out of the mold. Bob sold the wheels to Auto
Haus as a distributor. Another interesting bit about this car is that the transmission from it is now installed in our friend Chuck Lee's
car. So, a small piece of the Squareback is still with us. We had that car for seven years and then sold it to a young couple, who
promptly crashed it just days after buying it from us.
As our family grew we wanted to buy a bus so we would all be more comfortable on family outings. The way we acquired our 1961
bus makes for a very interesting story:
On Mother's Day in 1984 we were eating breakfast at a Coco's restaurant in San Bernardino and talking about looking for a bus. By
this time, our daughter Michelle had joined the family. The Squareback was very crowded with the four of us. Both kids were in car
seats and of course whenever we went somewhere their gear took up a lot of space, which as you know is one thing a Volkswagen
lacks. We looked out to the parking lot and saw a gorgeous 1961 bus. We checked it out as we were walking to our car and saw that it
was all original. We remarked how it would be wonderful to find one just like this. Since we didn't see a For Sale sign on it, we
admired it and went on our way. Not long after that we were driving up in the mountains near Crestline, and we saw the same bus we
had seen at Coco's going uphill and this time it had a For Sale sign on it! We bought the bus for $3500. It was a beauty. I took it home
and I hand rubbed and polished it. It shone like it just stepped off the showroom floor. It was my daily driver for six years from San
Bernadino to Long Beach, which was 72 miles one way. We had some great times in that bus. We sold it five years later for $3800 to a
gentleman from Japan, where it now lives in a museum. Steve Nye was the facilitator of that deal. I have owned so many Volkswagens
over the years and there aren't many that I wish I had kept. This bus is the one we wish we had kept. We have such good memories
of it and every time we see one that looks like it, we look at each other and say, "We should have kept that bus".
I really missed having a bus, so in 1996 I began the search for another one. I found a 1967 Sundial at a SOTO meet in Garden Grove.
By this time, we had left California and we were living in Tempe, Arizona. I came home and contacted the owner. He told me that
his Mom had purchased the bus new in 1967. A price of $3500 was settled on and the next weekend I went back to Placentia and
bought it. I drove it to the Toyota facility in Long Beach and sent it home on a car hauler. As soon as I got it home, I stripped the
interior. I wanted to convert it to a Kombi passenger bus. I traded the interior for the back and middle seats. It took a while to locate
the seats, but Dave Schweinhagen came through for me. After stripping the interior, I removed the engine. It was the original engine
and a new one was rebuilt for it. In addition to that, the bus received new tires, new shocks, a brake job and the seats were
reupholstered. The dash was in very good condition and the paint on it is original. Butch Casdorf repainted the lower package tray.
Today, the bus is a daily driver for our son, the same little boy who tried so hard to get into the Squareback's engine compartment.
|(Click on the cars to see a larger view.)
|SOTO was the original Bus club and it
is one of the clubs I belonged to. The
t-shirt on the left is the first SOTO
shirt issued. It commemorates the 1st
Anniversary Meet on June 17, 1984.
The t-shirt on the right is the second
SOTO shirt issued.
(Click on the shirts to see a larger view.)