Preaching to the non-coverted


de_grave

New member
confused.gif

This thing's been bugging me for a while, but has resurfaced twice in the last week. Nearly all of my friends, colleagues, and family simply adore our '85 Westy, but try to convince them that it is a good investment, reliable, useful, fun, servicable, etc. and they will not believe me.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gifI enjoy reading the new message boards and the sense of community found here, I realize that there's no sense trying to preach to "we, the converted...", but the misconceptions that people have about these excellent vehicles are truly unjust.

I would like to put the question out there to you guys/gals: Have you had these types of experiences (the ones closer to home [ ie. family] are most annoying), and how have you handled them?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Until they have owned one, they know not of what they speak and are to be pitied.

Personally, I like to let the Westy do the talking, making sure our trip albums show the Westy at the end of the Canol Rd. in the Yukon. Or crossing the Arctic Circle & into the NWT enroute to Inuvik on the Arctic Ocean. Maybe at the foot of a glacier in Hyder AK. How about a rutted buffalo trail, which I happen to be driving on, in Woods Buffalo National Park?

We actually make an extra effort to take some of these pictures; my wife will get out and I'll backtrack and reapproach for some of the shots we have that rival any Madison Avenue ad. After all, the Westy is part of the family. You'd take pictures of the kids, wouldn't you?


[This message has been edited by Capt. Mike (edited 06-29-2000).]
 

Dave in KC

New member
Couldn't help but notice your mention of an 85 Westy. I just acquired one (an 85 Weekender) last week. Today, as I took it into the shop for the first time to have it looked over, the mechanic said, "You really gotta want one of these things to buy one!"

BTW... Is there a forum or board for introductions? This is my first post to these boards. Looking forward to many more.

Dave in KC
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gifThere is a ROll CALL page where you can post your info, interests, and willingness to help others. Click on ROLL CALL on the home page and then find your area.

PS: I'd find another mechanic!

[This message has been edited by Capt. Mike (edited 06-29-2000).]
 

Bill Forst

New member
I love my '84 Westy too. It is my 4th van, 2nd Westy. I've spent 3 summers now, virtually living in it for 6 weeks each summer.
However, I can understand the reluctance of others. If you like reasonable power and speed, heat in the winter, hearing each other at high speed, then the Westy isn't for you.
I find that I never want to loan or rent mine to others, not even my grown sons, as it might come home with mold and fungus in the tent or with a drained expansion tank.
The only way to really enjoy a Westy is to form a relationship with it, to love it and baby it, to tend to its needs and its tantrums. Only when you do, does it provide the delights and satisfaction of an adventure caravan, and a snug home-on-the-road.
 

de_grave

New member
I believe that you are right about the relationship...it seems that my Westy will "heal" itself of small problems after I spend some time with it (not necessarily fixing anything physically. I'm well aware that this doesn't seem at all possible, but it seems to occur too often to be just coincidence.
cool.gif
 

Gary B. Dixner

New member
As I look back over the almost 50 years I have owned cars, the ones most maligned by others have been my favorites. Actually though, they probably wouldn't want to own one, but most people admire my 85. My daughter and a friend have each bought Westy's based on our mutual experiences. I slso own a highly touted 2000 Honda Odyssey and there are things the Westy does better. The seats are more comfortable and you can live in the Westy.
 
When members of my family and friends found out that i bought a vw bus - a '71 westy, most of them jokingly said that i took too many herbs. They all acted like i had lost all of my marbles. Boy did they change their tune the first time we all traveled quite a distance to go white water rafting. Not only was my bus roomy enough for them all to sit comfortably, but it also had enough room to store the rafts and life jackets. Once they realized that vws have indescribable charm and a great, homey feeling, and are also very useful in hauling people and things they gained a lot of admiration for them. Now i just wish i could get my dad to convert. I emailed him a pic of my bus (he's in another state) and i swear he wont even look at the picture. He feels like it was a stupid investment on my part! Boy, does he need some counseling on the benefits of buses!
 

Shona

New member
I agree with everyone -- I don't even own one yet, but people think I'm nuts. The functionality of being able to camp and carry lots of stuff is great. We often drive Whitehorse to Vancouver straight through taking shifts. It's a lot easier to pull over and pop the top for a couple of hours, than trying to find a place to put up your tent for the night. Everyone keeps saying, "okay, but what are you going to do with it for the other 7 months of the year?"
Well duh, but I want to drive it!!!! Anyway, it's an uphill battle and I'm woefully outnumbered, but I'm going with my gut on this one. I think it will be great.
 
I get that a lot too. I should preface this, though, by saying that before we bought our bus, I had an intense dislike for VW busses. I bought into the attitude so many have about them..the misconceptions and stereotyping typical of a non-bus owner.

Well...we bought Gus and I changed my tune. I realized how much FUN he is..what a great time we have as a family, that I LOVE the stares and the smiles and the waves...and that this little bus is a great drive! I'm more addicted to him now than my husband is! LOL

I think it's really hard to understand the appeal of a bus unless you've owned one, and you've let them get under your skin, so to speak. Just keep drivin' and smilin' and know that you love your ride no matter what anyone else thinks! I know I do! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Becky
 

Shona

New member
Well I got one! WOOHOO. It's blue and beautiful - in great shape! (bought it off the website here!!!)

I think it's great that you named yours - it should be mandatory with purchase! I'm still working in the naming of ours.... these things take time.
 

ricksvw

New member
I LOVE MY WESTY!
THEY ARE GREAT!
THE BEST WAY TO FIND FREEDOM IN THE USA.
Thanks to this website to help me keep her running and it really is easy to do most of your own work on them.
Keep on truckin! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
 

Ed Pullen

New member
Isn't it great to be "in the know"? Our vehicles are considered to be a milestone in vehicular travel by the current and past owners, and even the folks who think we have a few marbles rolling around in the wrong place. My wife and I "lived" in ours this summer for 6 weeks while working on our other "Westy", a Westsail 32 sailboat (the features and quality of construction when compared between the Westphalia and the Westsail leads one to suspect that one is the RV division and the other the Marine division of the German Panzer Tank Manufacturers). However, we stayed in our camper for an extended time while doing what WE WANTED TO do. I have a hard time visualizing staying for that long, and longer, while trying to prepare and commute to work and then have enough positive energy to make a decent meal after the hassle of using a remote shower. A house, these are not. A friend of mine calls it the "Quintessential Vehicle", and I agree, for the following reasons:
1) It gets reasonable gas mileage for a RV; 2) It is nimble to drive and very easy to park in tight, city conditions; 3) It is an emergency shelter to sleep in when on a long road trip; 4) It is a nearly self-contained lunch or dinner diner ready to provide a hot meal in minutes, allowing one to get back on the road; 5) It is a really beautiful car in looks and function; 6) It has the most advanced, best-designed camping and convenience features on the planet: The Original Full-Sized "Transformer".

When people cringe at the mention of "VW Camper", I pull out pictures of my first one, a '69 Westy sans pop-top, in the San Quintin Valley of Baja California, before Mexican Highway One was graded, let alone paved. We made 100 miles in 10 hours that day, and completed our 600 mile round-trip over every terrain that most any vehicle with rubber tires has been on. If that is not convincing enough, I mention the day that we drove our brand new 1988 full Westy from Guerrero Negro (Scammon's Lagoon) to the Sea of Cortez. The air temperature was well over 115 degrees F, and the road surface temperature could only be imagined. The engine temp gauge never twitched or anything. Unfortunately, we had to sell that one, due to financial reasons. We now own a 1989 Westy, which has had more than its share of cooling problems. But this won't stop us. Because I know that it takes time and money and persistence to keep these vehicles in shape. But if you do that, you will have one of the most reliable and thoroughly enjoyable things you will ever own.
 

Bill Forst

New member
Just got back from Christmas at mother-in-law's on Saltspring Island. Despite her big, warm house, my wife and I choose to sleep in our Westy, it's so snug and private. Temperature was around 0 celsius, but we borrowed her electric space heater, which we only used when waking and dressing. Lots of covers and toques were enough.
On the way home, we need to take 3 different ferries. We discovered a 4 hour wait on the second one, which would mean not getting on the last run home of the 3rd ferry... so... we just found a campsite for the night. Couldn't do that with a SUV!. First time sleeping with our two big dogs in the van... no problem, except my wife blamed the snoring on me! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
 

Shona

New member
I have a problem... I am now going on 1 year having my Westy and I adore it. We went all over the country last year and we're going down through Washington and Oregon this year.

Problem is: everyone thought I was crazy until we got ours and now everyone wants to borrow and I don't want to share! It's one of those things in life that if anyone every did anything to it, I don't think I could ever forgive them! Westy report card: does not share well and spends too much time honking!
 

A. Cooper

New member
Chrysler is currently running TV ads for their annual National Minivan Sales Event.
"We invented the minivan!" the narrator excitedly boasts as the camera flashes a shot of the first Dodge Caravan, a boxy yellow affair with faux wood paneling on the sides. At the bottom of the screen appears a dateline of 1984.

Excuse me?

A lazy turn of the head allows me to glance casually down into my driveway, where there sits a Westy, almost the same color as the original Caravan but sans the fake wood panels. It is a VW Vanagon. A 1983 VW Vanagon!

Where does Chrysler get off proclaiming themselves the 'inventors of the minivan', when the Vanagon predates their re-creation by at least three years? Not to mention the split-window and breadloaf busses!

Chrysler can say what they want; we Westy-owners know the true heritage of the minivan!
Ë›
 

erifah

New member
My '82 Westfalia is a van, but it is hardly "mini."

A few weeks ago, I had occasion to park next to a 1970 Ford Econoline with the camper bubble-top. (It was identical to the Ford we had when I was a kid.) Side-by-side, the VW isn't much smaller.

'Course, the Ford was packin' a V-8 compared to a Westy's horizontal-4...
 

A. Cooper

New member
You point is well taken, erifah. Considering overall dimensions, the Westy is nearly as large as many other vans. The original Caravan was indeed pretty compact, especially compared to most of the full-size vans of its day. But as the modern minivan has grown ever more luxuriant, spacious, and SUV-like, they're really stretching the meaning of the word "mini". Does an 8-passenger vehicle really need 13 cupholders?

And most Ford or Dodge camper-conversions I've seen don't make as clever a utilization of interior space as does the Westy. So I would argue that while the Westy may be nearly as large on the outside, it's a lot more roomy on the inside.

Where the Westy compactness really shines though, is in the turning radius of its short wheelbase. A few weeks ago while exploring the backwoods of northern Wisconsin with my dad, I missed a turn. Without really thinking about it, I pulled over to the shoulder of the road, cranked the wheel and headed back to take the side road. My old man busted out laughing: "Dang, this little rig is alright! If I miss a turn in my fifth-wheel camper, I'm gonna be a while getting it straightened out."

Perception is a funny thing. Perhaps due to its clean and tight design, the Westy only seems smaller. I've been in line to board an auto ferry and had the attendant charge extra for the Chevy camper-conversion ahead of me, while my Westy was waved right through. And I have motor home plates!
 

Mike Robinson

New member
Strangley enough my '82 Westy fits well in my garage, it is actually smaller than my Isuzu Rodeo!

In the Rodeo I can get 4 people, some gear and well that is it. In the Westy - sleeps 4 people, with gear etc etc.

It really is a remarkable vehicle. I was discussing it the other day with a friend who has a Dodge RAM 1500 x-cab. Apart from being smaller, and slower (only slightly) it beats the dodge on so many factors - and can still haul 4'x8' plywood. Talk about an efficeint vehicle. I also (being diesel helps on this one) get 35mpg - he gets 11mpg!!! Now if I had a syncro and a bigger diesel engine ......

Mike
 

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