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THE VAULT: Archives of Past Features
Feature Site: Thom's Vintage VW Bus Site
By: Mike Connell


Got that good ol' hankering to bone up on your vintage VW van and bus lore? Who doesn't every now and then?! Well, in your search for the eccentric and quaint might I suggest giving Thom's Vintage VW Bus Site a visit? Certainly dependant upon a proclivity for VW vans, buses, and other vintage effects, Thom Fitzpatrick's vintagebus.com provides any interested with a wide scope of information – anything ranging from technical, to aesthetic, to related interests, to "for sale" items. Content coupled with a genuinely enthusiastic tone, this site welcomes potential or fellow vintage VW enthusiasts into Thom's field of interest.

In terms of what one should be looking for in such sites of interest I have to be honest in my answer of "I'm not too sure". Neither a car expert, nor a recognized authority on web design, I do, however, know what I like . . . and it is a site such as this that, while not addressing an area of specific interest for me, does attract attention through its honesty and enthusiasm, providing enough information to make the novice feel knowledgeable and the connoisseur comfortable.

Apart from the artwork and associated comments the selling point of this site is the FAQ page. I shock myself in this choice, often avoiding such sections on my normal rounds of sites, but this link, aptly titled Split-Window VW Bus Frequently Asked Questions, grabbed my attention at the outset. The very fact that there are question to be asked, and asked frequently, about split-windowed VWs seemed a little riduculous at first, especially in light of my ignorance on the subject. However, upon reading the questions and answers, I found that these insights – normally attributed to enthusiasts or those at least possessing familiarity – were not only the best possible tools to get a grasp on antique car assessment, but also interesting reading!

Affirming that it is just about impossible to cover everything there is to know about buses, Thom makes a great effort in covering any and all Q&A's that would tax (I'm guessing here) even the most qualified expert. Covering simple questions like "what is a barndoor bus?" and "what is a reduction box?" to ones a little more complicated like "what's a governor/what's that aluminum-covered thing between my carb and intake manifold" makes this section good reading at the very least (although I'm not entirely certain I want to know about anything that was between his carb and manifold, much less why it was covered . . .).

Even if not interested in this subject, Thom's Vintage Bus Site (www.vintagebus.com) not only covers the material but also provides a good indication of what possible sites of interest can look like. Have a hobby? Like to find out who else has the same interest? Build a site. Not too sure where to start? Look at sites such as these. One can tell by Thom's commentary and the mass of information compiled that he really gets a kick out of building and maintaing this site, not to mention VW vans and buses. That alone makes it fun to stop by and take a peak, perhaps picking up some tips while you're there!

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