Thursday, May 8, 2008

Big Blue's 40th birthday is May 9th, 2008

In honor of Big Blue's upcoming birthday, I asked Monty Finefrock - the previous driver of Big Blue (for almost 38 years!) to answer some questions about the origins of his interest in Big Blue. Below are his responses. Sounds like he had a pretty good time...

1. What drew you to buying a VW Bus in the first place. Did you look at other buses, or just Big Blue?
In 1969. I was in the Air Force reserves as a medic. I worked full time in the bay area, drove to Travis Air Force Base and performed my medic duties with an air evac unit. We worked odd hours, I partied with friends in Davis and then came home Sunday evenings at the end of an Air Force weekend. Sometimes I was pretty tired. One time I fell asleep in my regular car. Decided to get a VW bus which was becoming a craze then (3 of my friends bought buses also). I went to a vw dealer, saw big blu, drove it, bought it right away and starting on a journey that lasted for 200,000+ miles. And a change in lifestyle. Now I could sleep by the side of the road. I didn't even have to leave my parking spot at local bars. Just move my tool chest from the back deck, pull the curtains and sleep (or "crash"). Did you know that if you can find a drive-in movie these days, you can go in, park car in a spot backwards, open the rear window and watch the movie. Fall asleep and wake up to no one there!

2. What did your wife think of you buying Big Blue?
I was single. My girlfriend (and subsequent first wife) loved it. We travelled all over in it. Subsequently, I took it to Mexico multiple times with friends and another wife to be (I have been married to my third wife now for 20 years. She too loved big blu). Back to my first days with my girlfriend. She really enjoyed camping in it. we had many adventures. Some included utilizing all the amenities of a bedroom without roommates in the house I shared!

3. How did you come up with the name Big Blue? Did you come up with it, or did someone suggest it?
My second wife did and subsequently got me the license plate. As you can tell by the sequence, big blue, big blue one and two were taken already!

4. Did you ever own any other VWs? What was your first car?
My first car was a new 1964 aqua blue vw purchased by me with paper route money. My parents picked it up in Germany, new. That was a big deal then: fly to Germany, buy a car (preorded for factory pickup), drive Europe and ship it home. Getting your driver's license was a big deal with my two older brothers and I followed their tradition: on your 16th birthday, skip school in the morning, drive down and get your license then drive to school. It was exciting.

5. Did you know a lot about engines and cars prior to buying Big Blue? How was it learning to work on Big Blue?
No. I just started working on it and other VWs I owned. Since VWs were a lifestyle at the time, the idiots guide to VW repair came out and with the help of a local hippy VW shop, I kept it running. Biggest unsolved issue was oil cooling. Never did get it satisfactorily figured out.

6. Was it "too hippy" for you? Did you consider that when buying the bus? Or were you a little bit hippy yourself?
I'd say I was a hippy in it. At least according to my definition.


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