Adam and I bought a retro, 1975 Dodge B300 Camper Van in early July. It felt a little crazy, but it felt good. It was fun. We loved that van when we first saw it on Craigslist and couldn’t stop daydreaming about it until we made an appointment to see it.
We did everything we thought of to be smart about the purchase. Neither of us had ever bought anything on Craigslist, so we weren’t really sure how it would go. But we test drove it, inspected it, asked a million questions, and even paid $90 to have a local shop look it over and give us an idea of how much we’d have to put into it to get it up to par.
The initial inspection by us showed we would need to fix a seatbelt and get a turn signal working. These were things we knew were necessary to get fixed so it would be legal and safe to drive. The shop also told us while the tires were practically unused, they were so old they were cracking and needed to be replaced. There were a couple of small leaks we didn’t have to worry about, and in general, the van was in great condition considering its 40-year old age.
We decided to go for it. The price seemed right even though we knew we’d have to put some more money into it. We paid cash and drove it to the DMV to switch the title over and get our new RV plates right away. We were excited and didn’t want to waste any time.
We had to head out on another trucking run to California that same night, so we dropped it off at our local dealer to get the ball rolling on getting a small list of things looked at, parts ordered, and fixed up.
And then it sat. For almost 2-1/2 months. Who knew getting parts for a 40-year old vehicle would be so difficult? Who knew our precious new old van needed waaaay more work than we thought? Who knew it would nearly die on us during the drive from Fond du Lac to Kaukauna? Oy. Well, we knew it was going to be a project, and it was. It is. But we didn’t know it would be a test of our patience, too.
We just wanted to take it out for a spin. We wanted to spruce it up, decorate it, camp in it and show it to our friends. But we had to wait. A lot.
During that time, a laundry list of parts were ordered and hours were put into repairs. A new fuel tank and sending unit, resulting in a now-working fuel guage. A new turn signal switch. An operational driver’s side seat belt. A fixed coolant leak (we hope). A replaced exhaust manifold. An oil change. A new fuel filter (there’s two on this vehicle). And new tires. I think that’s all…
The good news to this story is that I can say that – finally – we were able to take Ol’ Burt (name is not yet official) for a joy ride! FINALLY! We’re so excited!
Please keep your fingers crossed for us that he keeps running good and doesn’t need anymore major repairs! We just wanna’ play!
Oh, and I’ll add a few more photos once we start moving in. I have some redecorating to do, also. These curtains… Ugh.
Tonight I love our new old camper van!
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!