The Bus gets lots of thumbs up and recognition when it ventures out of the garage in the spring.
Josh and Jami Wingert are proud owners of a 1971 green and white Volkswagen Bus. This fine machine has been in the family for years, and was originally bought by Josh’s grandma for a total of $2,000. Her brother brought it to her California home in Claremont from San Diego. Josh’s grandma owned an antique and gift shop called “Barbara Cheatley’s Antique and Gift” that she opened in 1975 and used the Volkswagen for hauling purposes when she purchased new pieces for her store. She parked it in her shop for about 15 years.
During that time, an old war vet, Jim “the homeless guy,” started living in it while it was parked at her shop.
“The thing with Jim was, he chose to be homeless,” Josh says. Jim set up camp with a lawn chair and umbrella, and would blast classical music from his boom box. The cops called Josh’s grandma with their concerns, but she didn’t mind.
When Josh was 12, he decided to tear The Bus apart with his best friend and started to restore it with his dad. Josh actually learned how to drive in The Bus later on. Growing up, they lived on the second longest avenue in the country, and Josh would sneak out during his teenage years and push The Bus down the road. Little did Josh know that his mom could always hear him leave when he would finally start up it up to drive away.
Josh has restored the VW about two to three times, and claims, “my mom always counters it with abuse.” He finally brought it home four years ago. He made the long trip to California (30 hours one way), and dollied The Bus back to his home here in Iowa.
Josh and Jami have put some miles on The Bus since they have owned it, and the odometer has been turned over a few times. They travel to Nebraska to Bustoberfest at Indian Cave State Park, a VW Bus festival, and meet up with fellow Buskatiers around Halloween. They travel in a group known as a “CaraBus” to the events.
The Bus has had the same color scheme throughout the years, and the only out-of-stock pieces on the vehicle are the tires.
“Iowa roads called for bigger tires,” Josh explains.
This historical vehicle has always been in the family, and rumor has it, according to Josh, that “you will be disowned from the family” if it ever is sold to someone else.
Next time you see a green and white VW Bus on the road, give it a thumbs up.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or Darren@dmcityview.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”