Thousands of VW Type two trucks were assembled in Germany from 1950 to 1967 and shipped to the U.S. market. The engineering is simple and reliable as with their sister vehicle the Bug. Engine sizes are 4-cylinder 2.0 liters or less and usually paired with a low-geared four speed manual transmission.
Butler’s bus has the familiar split windshield. Each side opens and stays propped forward for interior ventilation. The door glass slides sideways to open rather than rolling down.
Inside there are seats for driver and passenger up front and two rows of bench seats in back. It’s enough room to transport a nine-person commune. There’s no air conditioning and few passenger amenities. 65 mph would be top highway cruising speed.
Butler has had the bus refurbished to make it a safe and reliable vehicle. Parts are not difficult to find for the bus but the quality level varies. Both for price and durability German-made components are more expensive and better than those manufactured in China.
Since the bus had always been in Texas its body is relatively rust free. Butler has taken the vehicle to Ed Mullikin at Off Campus Foreign Car and Engine Service, 318 _ E. Gray to get it running at peak performance.
Mullikin diagnosed a few glitches that would have taken Butler a long time to understand and address correctly.
He’s also been instrumental in judging which parts to install.
“I’d take off for San Francisco in it tomorrow,” Butler said. “But we’d probably go by back roads like old Route 66 instead of the interstate.”
Probably most significant about the bus and what charms people right away is that it is a rolling work of American folk art. The former owner and his mother painted the outside of it using bright acrylics. Hippies around the country began doing these decorative jobs in the 1960’s so it’s not a unique concept but this example is particularly well-done.