1964 Volkswagen 13 Window Bus On loan from the Dan Lucarelli family, Slingerlands, NY
“I own three VWs, one for each of the girls,” tips Dan. “The other two are bugs, one a ’61 ragtop and the other a ’64 convertible, but they like the Bus the best. They think it’s great because of all the ‘thumbs up’ we get whenever we’re out with it.
“I’ve been a car lover since I can remember. As a kid, I was always waxing my parents’ cars and couldn’t wait to drive. I can remember going to the DMV on my 16th birthday to get my learner’s permit and I know I drove my parents crazy. My first car was a Dodge Daytona and people joked that if you leaned on it, you’d slide off because of all the wax on it.”
The Dodge was a great first car but like so many other enthusiasts, Dan’s focal point soon changed.
“I’ve never really been into American cars that much and over the years, I’ve gravitated to European cars,” explained the GE designer/drafter. “For me, it’s about the shape and the craftsmanship. To me, my VWs are works of art. The cars sitting in my garage are like paintings hung on a wall! And I’ve recently started thinking of my cars as an investment as well as a great hobby, because more and more people are starting to appreciate these VWs. The only problem with that is that I don’t want to think about selling them.”
When asked how the attention-gathering Bus came to grace the family garage, Lucarelli relates the tale as if it were yesterday.
“As a Volkswagen enthusiast, I’m always searching for that special vehicle that my family and I can enjoy. After owning a 1961 Beetle, I was looking for something that my wife and our daughters could enjoy as well and I thought a Volkswagen Bus would do the trick and be a ton more fun!
“Our 1964 13-window Deluxe Volkswagen Bus was originally owned by an American serviceman stationed in Germany. When he came back to the US, his beloved Bus came with him. Years later, the Bus was purchased by the second owner, who had the engine rebuilt, replaced the wheels and painted it, changing the color from the original red and white to blue. He lived in Jacksonville, FL, and I bought it from him in a private sale after seeing it advertised on a VW forum.”
Once the Bus made its New York debut, some improvements were in order, but nothing beyond the reach of the average enthusiast.
“The first thing that I had to do was add seatbelts, so that our crew could travel around safely. Several of the windows were not working, so they also needed repair, and I replaced the steering box and a few other steering components. I try to buy cars that don’t need a lot of work and this fit perfectly into my comfort zone.
“Now it drives really well, though I don’t think I could drive it every day. In this day and age, we’re in the car a lot more and everything is much faster paced, so comfort and safety become issues. That makes riding in it even more special when we head out to the ice cream stand or take it to a cruise-in or local car show, spending time together as a family while I enjoy my hobby. “
Wherever we go, the Bus draws a lot of attention because it brings back memories people have of a time when VWs like this were everywhere. Area car shows are mostly American ‘muscle cars,’ so the Bus sticks out and people think it’s really cool. We all enjoy the attention it gets but for me, the fun is multi-faceted. I love the initial search, the finding and purchasing, the tinkering in the garage and finally, looking at them and showing them off to other enthusiasts.
“And finally, when you’re driving a car like this, there’s something about their primitive feel on the road that I enjoy, something you just don’t get with a newer car!”