Everyone who knows me well is aware of my love and fandom for anything and everything related to the Volkswagen Bus. I do not care what year the bus is, I do not have a preference of a favorite year. I just love the iconic classic regardless. Some people like them because it takes them back to a simplistic time in their lives of the 60’s when life was good. Things were cheaper. Times were simpler. TV and music was better. There wasn’t online streaming or Netflix. Cars at that time were built to last. The Volkswagen car company was more known for it’s popular Beetle. The Bus/Van models at the time were not sought after. They were considered slow and not very reliable. Today, the VW Bus is considered highly collectable.
On Saturday, April 20th, I was out and about with my camera and I was shooting a local 5K run. After it was over I decided to take some landscape photos over at Hart Park. While I was getting ready to leave, this beautiful 1964 VW Bus went driving by. So I whipped out my camera and started clicking away.
While my husband Sean and I were pulling away to drive off, I noticed the VW Bus parked down the street. I wanted to take some photos up close instead of just driving by. I decided to get out of my car and ask the owners, Chris and Annette Mercado, if I could take some close up photos of the bus and possibly take a closer look at some of the work they have done to it. They warmly obliged after I introduced myself and explained to them that I was a photographer, along with also an avid VW Bus collector. They didn’t notice me wearing a VW Bus shirt until later on during our conversation.
While I was snapping some photos, my husband and I started engaging in conversation with Chris and Annette wanting to know more about the bus, such as their interest, where they purchased it and so on. As many know, the VW Bus can become an awesome conversation piece which they even mentioned themselves. They told us how they get a lot of people stopping them just wanting to take a look or talk about it.
The Mercado’s shared with us that they purchased the bus in Huntington Beach a couple of months ago. They have been doing some restoring to the inside. They mentioned that they do not want to do too much restoration to the outside as they want to keep it’s original look as much as possible. They purchased the vehicle for around $19,000. They recently installed a new sunroof. They have the headliner but have not installed it yet. The doors inside, the Mercado’s want to put some wood paneling as many of the 1964 models featured on the inside doors at that time. They also plan on adding their own style to it including a bed in the back. Annette informed me that they do not know if they will paint it the original white or another color with white on top.
Chris Mercado replaced the original fifty horsepower engine with a new one hundred horsepower engine that is small and easy to work on. It will give the bus more power than the original engine would have. Both engines would be much easier to work on and repair than an engine in any of the newer cars today. Which is why these classics are so highly sought after. The reliability and ease of repairs. Chris said that he liked the ability that he could do the repairs on the engine himself very easily if necessary.
We are hoping at some point to get together when Chris and Annette have completed their restore so I can take more photos of their finished product. In the meantime they explained they are going to take time with this journey as they are in no hurry to get the restore completed. The bus is in great running condition, outside of minor rust on the inside and out, it is in overall great cosmetic condition. It will give them plenty of fun and enjoyment while they take their time restoring it in their vision.
As a photographer, many aspects of my photography is enjoying what I shoot. This is without a doubt one of those times. I plan on printing up one of these photos and framing it in my living room. Who knows. Maybe Chris and Annette Mercado will do the same.