Madison

Why Old is Better.

Volkswagen Bus Profile Picture Photo Booth

There is a bit to blogging that feels a lot like a soap box.   I'm not really sure who's reading this, but I do know it kinda feels like I'm talking to myself.  But that's ok.  

This is going to be a short one but still a valid observation.  During this renovation I am reminded of why I love antiques.  

You see, I have an incredible sense for detail.  (notice, I didn't say OCD)  While this trait seems suitable for restoration of an antique car...it can actually drive you FLIPPIN' CRAZY :)  I'm learning fast that there are two stages to restoration.  1. You go over things first, find what's missing, what's broke, and make general improvements.  2. Once everything is operational, THEN you worry about the fine details.  

Much like an antique piece of furniture, if it has aged gracefully, it is worthy of a second chance.  The discoloration and imperfections often make it unique and give it character.  And the most important part for me, being a details freak, is when your wood floor gets a ding, or when your kids throw a toy at the hall tree, you take a deep breath and remind yourself that dings and dents give it character ;)

Everything about this Bus just fascinates me.  How it can be so old yet come back to life so effortlessly.  I've heard two phrases from my mechanic, repeatedly, over the past few months.  "She's responding well to my treatments" and "there is some good karma with this Bus."  At first I thought he was crazy but I'm warming up to both ideas.  

Why a Vintage Photo Booth?

Volkswagen Bus Photo Booth First Photo.  

The decisions leading up to buying this Bus and the ideas that moved it forward are simple.  If you build it, they will come :)  No, but really, I had ran the idea past a few close friends expecting them to shoot holes through it a bit and there was an overwhelming feeling of support that this would be something great.  

One friend wisely said for any new venture to have success you need two things.  "A great idea and an unfair advantage."  I had both.  Having been a wedding photographer for almost a decade in the area, I already had all the connections.  I had all the gear.  I knew the products and how to make it all work.  

To that point, I also had one other crucial asset to making this all work as planned.  A good friend of mine is an incredible VW mechanic; the old school kind.  The craftsman type.  He's known in some circles as "the Bus Whisperer" and has roughly 50 VW restorations under his belt.  As soon as I knew he was up for a small project I began to search for a Bus.  

I knew I wanted a Westfalia Camper.  They're far more desirable than a standard passenger model and offer the creature comforts I was looking for.  The Westy's came in a lot of configurations so in order to have as much room for the photo booth, I was really after ONE specific layout.  (A near impossible feat)

There's also the issue of trying to find something that's 40 years old in the Midwest.  These things don't exist here; my sights were set somewhere in California.  A rust free bus.  One that hasn't been put through winters, salt, and other harsh conditions.

Now here's where we catch the break of a lifetime.  My wife was taking in our VW to the dealer for an oil change.  My wife is great; but she's not the most observant when it comes to vehicles.  They're just a means to her...a way to get from point A to point B.  She's handled my enthusiasm quite well over the years but it's hardly rubbled off on her.  Ok, back to the story.  So she pulls into the service bay and in a strange series of events, as if all stars aligned at this very moment, she glances right and through an opened door, sees a bus pass by.  Let me say that again.  You have my wife driving one way.  The bus driving another way.  And a door swung open in between them.  Talk about magical.  

She texts me a picture of the bus with a smiley face.  The first thing I notice is it doesn't have a rear license plate.  Without hesitation I ask, "Is it for sale, there's no plate on it!"  Staring at those three dots as I'm waiting for her to hit send...that seemed like an eternity.  

"YEP!!!"

I replied, "I'm on my way."