1974 VW Bus Bay Window

Karen Straus

This is Little Miss Tomato Bus, my beloved 1974 Bay. Originally a Transporter, I have modified her to be a Tintop camper. In 2020, she was invited to participate in That 70s Car Show at the San Diego Automotive Museum.

This is my third Bay, all of which I converted to campers. I have had Miss Tomato for three years. We found her on the Samba website, and it was love at first sight as we turned onto the street in Huntington Beach and there she was. The first time I drove her was to bring her to her new home in San Diego. Her previous owner found her in Idaho and trailered her to Huntington Beach, where, over five years, he did mechanical and exterior restorations. I had the fun part, the interior redesign. I love finding vintage items to add to her picnic, beach and camping supplies.

I have loved VW Buses since my high school years (mid-1960s) in Nairobi, Kenya. We had a Kombi Bus that served as the kitchen supplies vehicle when we went camping. That plucky Kombi went everywhere the four-wheel-drive Land Rovers could go. I always rode in the Kombi. One one occasion, while crossing a wide, shallow river, the Kombi lost traction and started floating! My dad quickly ran out a cable and hooked it on. The Land Rover’s bumper-mounted electric winch reeled us in to the bank. The drive continued to the campsite, all the food and kitchen supplies safe and dry.