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Story by Lois Grace

If you're going to buy used cars, you have to get used to the idea that you can't always get the ones you want. Sometimes, the one you're after gets sold to someone else before you can get there. While it's certainly disappointing, we've all been through it, and know eventually it'll happen if you look at enough used vehicles. This is toughest to deal with when you've really got your heart set on a particular VW, and you still end up losing it. I call these "The Ones That Got Away."

It happened to me recently. A friend sent me an innocent email, one that asked if I knew anyone interested in a 1969 VW Bus. The Bus wasn't anything special, just a Bus, but it was in danger of being towed off for auction (or worse) if a new owner didn't step in. Now, at the time, I wasn't looking for a Bus, new or old. In fact, I come across homeless VW's often enough that if I adopted every one I found, I'd soon be homeless too. (Although if this happened, I'm sure I could live in the Bus in question)  I just can't act on every single one I find. But something about this particular '69 Bus intrigued me.  I don't know why, I hadn't even met it in person but there it was so I had to think about it - did I want it?  My father had a 1968 7-passenger Bus similar to this one and I'd always hoped to have one like it someday. The price was ridiculously low, and I was hoping there would be some way I could talk myself into wanting it. The process didn't take long: a couple emails later found me making an offer that was accepted (or so we thought).  I was going to see the Bus the next weekend.

Through a series of strange happenings (I'll spare you the boring details) the Bus was towed away the Monday after this deal was struck. Why? Neither my friend nor I can quite figure that out, but it seemed fate was intervening in our well-laid plans. The person responsible for selling the Bus called a tow company, who came out and took the Bus away, right from under my nose (figuratively speaking). My friend was as astonished and dismayed as I was. I called the tow company and asked them if I could buy the bus. I was told then that the poor VW had 'gone to a trucking yard' to await auction. I asked the guy to see if he could get the Bus back for me and let me know. The last message I got from him was that the Bus was gone for good, off to auction, and there was nothing he could do about it. Boy, that was a dark day in VolkswomanLand.

I couldn't figure out why losing this Bus I hadn't even known was such a huge disappointment. It took me a couple days to figure out that even though I hadn't actually seen the Bus in person (only gotten an idea of it through many photos), I'd become a bit attached to it merely because of the potential it had. While rough on the outside, and more than a bit disheveled on the inside, it would have been a nifty project. The paint was still pretty good, and with a good clean and wax it would have been more than presentable. Powder coats the wheels, put on a new set of tires, reline the brakes, and I would have been good to go. Installing an interior kit with seat covers and door panels wouldn't have been a big deal and could have been done at any time I chose.  Meanwhile, I would have had the fun of driving a Bay window Bus around. I had begun to look forward to finding all the small things it needed, and installing them. I was busy thinking ahead to the day when my Bus, red and white now, might be a pristine example of a late-model Type II...and that's when it all became clear. I wasn't disappointed because I'd just lost a great deal on a Bay Window Bus. I was upset about the Bus going to someone who might not have dreams for it, who might just need the new engine it had, or some parts that would complete another project. It was upsetting to think of all this Bus could have been with me, and now would not be.  But that's how it is with the Ones that Get Away: they travel their route, and we travel ours.  Sometimes the routes intersect; sometimes they don't.  If it were meant to be for this Bus and me, it would have been easier. And, I would have made it happen

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