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Our VW bus restoration | Photo Love Bus photo booth

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Our VW bus restoration | Photo Love Bus photo booth

Colorado Springs red white VW busGinger’s Makeover: From Drab to Fab

If you’ve seen Ginger and her beautiful red and white paint job, you may have wondered what she looked like before her transformation.

Ginger was originally red and white, just like now, except the original VW bus red was darker and duller. You can still see some of her original paint in the interior and in the engine area.

Geezers Aboard VW busWhen I bought her from a dealer here in Colorado Springs, she was a solid off-white on both top and bottom. Nothing horrible, but nothing remarkable either. The best part of all was the “Geezers Aboard” decal in the back window, which we regrettably removed.

She had some rust on the sides, but her interior, including the seats, sides and headliner, were all in fairly decent shape, given they were original. I say original, but at least some of the seats are from other old buses, so they are not all original to her. I know that since the front seats are brown, but the back seat is black.

Ginger the Photo Love Bus before paint jobThe headliner did, and still does, have a few tears, and has acquired another one or two, which was probably inevitable given the thousands of people who have climbed in and out of the bus since we started operating as the Photo Love Bus. I’m not yet willing to replace the headliner , though, and choose to view the tears as a little bit of character.

I went round and round (and round) about what color to paint her. I originally decided I was going to go with red and white, but then got sidetracked with thoughts of a flowery hippie paint job, then turquoise … no, wait, yellow …. no, pale green ….  no, baby blue …. hmm, how about pale pink? Said a friend, “You could be the Pepto Bismol bus!” Okay then. So maybe not pink. Round and round some more, but luckily, Maaco didn’t have any turquoise I liked, and I drove myself nuts worrying if I would choose the right color.

1971 VW bus middle seat

When we first saw Ginger, the front, middle, and rear seats were three different colors. Earlier photos I saw of Ginger lead me to believe the original seats were probably white. We removed the middle seat since we don’t need it for our photo booth.

I eventually ended up back at my original choice, red, because I feel it is the iconic VW bus color, and would work in any setting. It was also what my gut had told me from the start. “So bring me your red choices,” I told the guy at Maaco. They must have had at least a couple hundred variations of red. Many, many subtle variations of red from vibrant orange red to blue red, and all in-between. After staring at them for hours, they all started looking the same, but I finally settled on one, which ended up being THE PERFECT RED.

Waiting for that paint job to be finished was torture. The day finally arrived, and due to some confusion in the paint shop, they presented me with a red and white bus with RED BUMPERS. Oh no! My heart sank. This was not the gorgeous red and white bus of my dreams.

VW bus red bumpers

Red bumpers. Oops!

“Uh, guys, the bumpers were supposed to be white, not red?”

“Oh yeah. Oops! Bring it back in after it’s cured for a couple weeks, and we’ll make it right.”

After another long couple weeks, I took her back in, waited a couple days, and voila, the white bumpers I was after. Whew! Now she was looking super gorge, but she still needed a roof rack to complete the look and turn heads the way I wanted her to. Finding a beautiful new roof rack online was easy enough, and a friend was gracious enough to assemble and install it for me. A little chrome polish on the hub caps, new, modern seat belts, and that’s about it!

Red VW bus with roof rack

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