Ride of the Week: Surfin’ Nostalgia aboard the Ray ’66 VW BUS…

It’s very hard to explain passion, excitement and positivity to someone who’s in a negative frame of mind.

You’ve all been there. No matter what you say, show them or reveal to them, they just focus on what’s bad. But this is where car culture comes in to save the day.

You can put a 10-year-old with a Hot Wheels, a 30-year-old with an MSeries BMW, a 55-year-old with a ’57 Chevy and an 85-year-old with a Model into the same room, and they cheer each other on. Why? How do cars generate and keep people happy? Well, it’s because positivity exists in the present. And the present is where love, creativity and flow exists. So, let’s get into it with this week’s Ride of the Week.

Enter Dan Ray, a retired food service guru, who drives a 1966 Sundial Camper VW Bus.

With a 1776 CC Motor and Dual Weber Carbs, the Buster has a freeway flyer IRS transaxle. All rebuilt brand new. According to Ray, it’s safe and cruises up to about 75 mph on the freeway.

Ray and his wife, Connie, bought the bus five years ago.

“We immediately started the restoration process, which took approximately two years,” Ray explains. “This bus was in OK shape with some body work done and was painted on a rotisserie inside and out.”

For Ray, the car provides a trip down memory lane, as he had a ’63 VW bus in his high school and college years, when he was a traveling surfer dude.

“I used to go down to Mexico and actually went up to Haight-Ashbury in 1969 after graduating from high school to check it out,” Ray said. “Amazing memories and such a great time. I got this car because it brings back those memories.”

And that it does. A rolling museum piece that exudes cool.

But the best part of the car for Ray? 

“I’m into woodworking and so I believe the best part of the car is the wood interior using more [than] seven different types of woods,” he said. “It reminds me of how they used to build surfboards back in the day. The license plate says ‘LBZRULE,’ which means longboards rule and would be the general overall theme for the van.”

Now, for those of you non-surf-dudes, a longboard is for those who want a soft-carving cruise on the wave instead of the hyper shorties that splash, spray and twist your back into a pretzel. The bottom line is, longboards do rule.

“We love going to car shows like Wheels and Waves in Malibu and hanging out at the beach,” Ray said. 

And you got an extra Hot Wheels coming to ya because you plugged my show. Good on ya, mate.

But as far as stories go, Ray tells a surf diddy.

“This bus was chosen to ride in the 2016 Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade,” he recalls. “I had Australian surfer Peter Townend riding shotgun with me (first world champion of surfing) which was a lot of fun and a great honor.”

Pretty sure that’s the slowest best driving story I’ve gotten yet. And if you know Peter Townend, it’s also a doozie.

And what do Ray and the fam love about driving in Malibu? In his own words: “Malibu is the most classic surf town ever. I can’t help but dream about what it must have been like to surf there in the ’50s and ’60s. Nothing more fun than driving down coast highway and eating at one of the many restaurants in town.”

And although I personally wasn’t here in the ’60s, my wife was. And she said it was spectacular, but so is today.

And that’s a true statement of being present and appreciating what you have. Back in the day was grand, but someone will say the same thing about today in another 50 years.

Thanks for being my Ride of the Week, Dan!

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.