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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm needless to say new to this forum. I have owned VW busses over the years, a "59" panel van back in my college days and a "70" window bus as my family grew. The "59" had a bus rear seat sitting on the carpeted floor. Hit the brakes and it opened into a bed, but for slow speed "cruising" and the daily commute to college, it was a good machine! I also was the most popular member of my rock band because all our equipment fit into the bus.

I have a question that might be off the wall, but in my old memories (I'm 72 now, so bear with me please) I recall my "59" had no gas gauge, but instead used a pull out knob (under the front of the seat, between the driver's legs and looked like a manual choke knob) to access the "reserve" if you hadn't planned well enough for gas stops. I also seem to remember that the actual gas tank was under the driver's seat and filled from just behind the driver's door.

Is that my bad memory, as all pictures I see of that era's bus show the standard VW gas door on the passenger side forward of the rear wheels? Was that reserve pull knob on a long cable, or was that supposed to be a choke? I thought that model used an automatic (electric self heating) choke and I never needed to "choke" the engine to start it.

I sometimes miss that old bus. The 36 hp and 6v were a pain, but that was before I learned how to take VW air cooleds apart and do my own upgrades. By the days of my "70", I could take the engine in and out and do complete overhauls. I helped several others to upgrade from 6 v to 12 v and even "built" a few high power engines for friends. I even played with a Corvair kit but with the need to reverse the engine's rotation with the IRS tranny, decided to stay with the slightly modified 1600 engine. (Didn't need a bus that could outrun anything in the area as long as you didn't mind having 4 speeds in reverse!) The Corvair engine reversing "cam" kit was hard to find and very expensive! Too bad as the 110hp Corvair engine was much more powerful than the 52 hp VW and fit in the engine compartment with no problems. If I had known about that Corvair set up when I had the "59", I probably would still be driving it today! The "59" required only swapping the left and right outer gears at the transmission to reverse the transmission's rotation and thus a stock Corvair engine could run in its designed direction of rotation.

I got away from the VWs when the rotary Mazdas came out. I raced my RX-3 and both of my RX-7s in SCCA for years, used an RX-4 as the family sedan and used my Rotary Pick up, AKA REPU to tow the race cars to and from the track. I'd like to get back into the old buses, but the prices these days are ridiculous. I live in the city and have almost no hills, so the old VW low top end speed and pulling power are no problem.
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