The Story of Vincent Van Go... So Far
Written by: Kenzie
As you probably know, I recently purchased a 1978 blue Volkswagen Van from eBay. Now, a VW Van has been my dream car for years and years now (since I was in Jr. High, not even kidding). Periodically, I would check eBay and Craigslist and see if there were any spectacular deals and sometimes if I was feeling brave, I would bid on one. I only bid when I actually had the money and when I was almost certain I would be outbid before the auction ended. I wasn’t ready for the commitment, I just wanted some of the fun, the thrill of the bid.
Last May, I was doing my searching and found one in South Carolina that ran and was in decent shape and was decently priced - like I could afford it if I wanted to. So I bid on it, thinking I would be outbid. Callie and I were working at a local coffee shop one evening and I remembered how I hadn’t received an email saying I was outbid, which had always happened in the past. I checked my email and sure enough, there was an email from eBay, but it wasn’t saying I had been outbid; it was saying I won the auction.
I was completely dumbfounded - Callie can vouch for me. The next few days consisted of many discussions with my parents, much research on vehicle shipping companies, and the back-and-forth of me trying to decide if I should back out of the deal, or just take a chance and go through with it. Eventually, I just went through with it.
It was a huge leap and I had to pay one thousand more dollars to ship it here to Texas and when it showed up, I was less than thrilled. It looked much shabbier in person than it did in the photos. The entire back seat was filled with miscellaneous parts and pieces that I had no idea where they went. The electrical was all kind of jacked up - the lights, radio, and A/C didn’t work. It ran - like they said - but it definitely wasn’t road legal.
The first couple of months, I was too scared to drive it. My mom drove it. My dad drove it. It was a lot of fun to ride in! Eventually, I tried to drive and could not get it down, stalling at nearly every stop sign. Don’t get me wrong, I had learned to drive stick on my dad’s 1968 Ford Bronco when I was in high school, but something about the van - the van I actually owned - scared me to death. I didn’t have to worry about that, though, because the van spent the next several months in the shop. I mean, it was there a long time. However, they did manage to make it road legal and fixed all the electrical issues!
During this time, my excitement for the beast had dwindled slightly. After it showed up at our curb looking worse-for-wear than the pictures let on and after I shelled out cough cough thousands and thousands of dollars on it, I was getting pessimistic about the whole thing. I couldn’t even drive it properly! However, my pal, Claire - remember her from New Zealand and England and all the other fun things? - came up with the best name, Vinny. Short for Vincent Van Go (isn’t she hilarious?). This helped me to regain some of the excitement I had, the name and the fact that I finally had it back from the shop!
My parents drove it around town more, I got the registration and license plates, and I started to drive it more myself, with my dad in the passenger seat, giving pointers. Dad and I worked on it in the garage, sanding the rusty spots (there’s a lot) and trying to figure out why the gas was slowly leaking. Around Thanksgiving, he was up underneath Vinny, twisting a piece in the gas line, and it absolutely fell apart, draining gas on Dad and all over the garage floor. The day after Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law towed it to a different shop where it spent another several months being worked on and I spent another several hundred (or thousands, I’m not telling) on it.
But, he’s back, people! And has been for a while, and I can actually drive him! I take him out to the garden frequently (Claire and I are finishing up planting today, I’ll keep you updated) and have only stalled on a big road once. Usually, people are good-natured about it, giving me a thumbs up and a big smile.
He doesn’t go fast, he looks a little (or a lot) shabby, he’s cost me way more money than I should’ve spent and will cost me much more in the future, but he’s so darn cute. When I see him out in the garage, it just makes me happy and when I’m driving down the road, the windows down, not worried about getting to a certain destination, it just makes me happy. Yes, it was an accident I bought him, but I’m glad I did. I’ll have a project to work on for years and am so excited for his first camping trip (which, fingers crossed, will happen soon). Vinny the Van will certainly go places.