As promised months ago, here are the photos from my epic road trip to Edmonton Alberta and back home (just outside Toronto Ontario). This is about 2,000 miles each way.
For those of you who didn't see the original thread, or have OGS and don't remember, I had sold my Thunderbird Super Coupe to a friend of friend out in Edmonton. Having lots of vacation time available, and never having driven through northern Ontario and out west, I figured it was as good excuse as any to take a fall trip. Leaves would be changing colour on the trees, and I would get to see a very neat part of my big country.
So plans were made, and after 3-1/2 days of driving, I was in Edmonton. Luckily I missed some snow by about a day coming through Saskatchewan. I'm sure that the 275 width Eagle F1 rubber on the T-Bird wouldn't have liked the white stuff too much. Stayed there for a day, left the car with its new owner, and caught a ride from my friend who had arranged the deal, down to Calgary, which is a few hours south of Edmonton. As luck would have it, my friend Rick, who I hadn't seen for a while had recently moved back to Calgary from Kelowna BC ... so I had a place to stay in that city.
Prior to heading out west, I was scouting kijiji and craigslist to find something interesting to purchase for the drive home. I was hoping to make a fun two-way trip out of it, rather than having to catch a flight home. I had owned a 72 VW Super Beetle when I was a teen, and for several years I had thought about getting another one. So when I saw this seemingly nice 73 Super for $4K on kijiji in Calgary, I had to check it out. Talked to the seller on the phone, he and his girlfriend were moving back east this spring, and didn't want to pay to transport 2 vehicles. So the girl's summer toy had to go. Rick was able to take a look at the car for me before I left Toronto, and sent a bunch of photos. He doesn't really know VWs, but is enough of a car guy to look for rust and damage. Based on what I saw, I sent them a $500 bank transfer to hold the car.
Somewhere in Saskatchewan on the way out, I get a call on my cell from the VW owner. He tells me they are having some running problems with the car, and are taking it to a VW specialty shop in Calgary for a look. I had time at that point to wait a few days if needed for the car, so I told him to keep in touch as to its status. By the time I get down to Calgary, they have a quote for over $1000 parts and labour for a new carb and intake, as well as the replacement of the engine cooling fan. The techs at the shop noticed it was wobbly while performing the other work. Being air-cooled, a wobbly fan can come apart and create disaster for the engine, quick overheating would be the result.
So the long and short of it, the seller wanted an extra $1000 for the car, to recoup part of the costs from the repair. At that point I backed away, and he agreed to refund the deposit. Spent the next day on the computer at Rick's place looking around furiously on the ads for something else. Found another Beetle, a 75 with some nice mods, but it was $6K. Also had my eye on an early A-body Valiant, I had previously owned one of those too. Also looked at a 73 Karmann Ghia cabriolet for $4700. Good runner, but needed a full exterior resto. Prefer the hardtop versions of those cars anyway.
In the meantime, the seller of the 73 calls me back, saying they would take $4500 for the car. Told him I would consider it, and was looking at some other cars. Still hadn't seen the 73 in person at that point. Next day I talk to him again, the car is ready to go at the shop, so I decide to take a look for myself. It looked pretty good in person, and drove decently too. Repaint was the original metallic colour, meaing it was some sort of special edition. Had a pretty new set of Porsche 914 replica wheels, an aftermarket 60s style canvas sunroof, and a Hurst shifter just like I had put in my 72 back 25 years ago. They wanted to make a deal, so $4200 was the negotiated price. That included the original (somewhat rare) 5-1/2" wide steel sport wheels that were part of the Sports Bug package, and a few other original bits that had been replaced for custom pieces on the car. I didn't know the car was a Sports Bug until after making the deal, and digging around on the VW forums on the Net. Seems I had scored a fairly desirable Super Beetle for a reasonable price.
Before I shook on the deal, I had the guys at the VW shop give the car a good checkover, asking them "Am I nuts to try drive this thing back to Ontario?". They were of the opinion that it was a decent car, so after I made the deal, I arranged to have them do a valve adjustment, and sell me a few spare parts such as the clutch and accel cables, and a fan belt, just in case. I had a small tool kit with me that I had brought along.
So, 4-1/2 days later, I was back home. Some of those big hills in northern Ontario were a bit of a challenge for the VDub, but a shift down to 3rd did the trick. Luckily the roads weren't very busy at all, not even much truck traffic, so I wasn't holding anyone up.
Would I do it again? Probably not in a Beetle!!
But it was a great trip, and I love the look on people's faces when I tell them I bought a 73 VW in Calgary, and drove it 2,000 miles home. ;)
Without further ado, here is a slideshow with the photos:
Here is a link to the album with all the same photos, I have put a brief description with each of them:
A few of my favourites: