I could open up two cubic feet of space inside the van if I were to mount the spare tire on the front of the bus like a reasonable person. But, truth be told, my vanity stands in the way. I can’t bring myself to cover up the coveted VW ornament on the front. So I keep my spare inside.
To prevent things from falling into the spare tire holder and for aesthetic reasons, I decided I wanted a tire cover—the old plastic shells found only in some buses.
This turned out to be harder than I thought. Norm, my ever trusty and reliable mechanic, who has no fewer than ten buses in his yard, did not have a cover, said he had never seen a cover in any other color other than black. (For the record, I know VW made a black, brown, and orangish colored one for their Champagne Edition bus.) I made the task harder on myself because I wanted the tie downs to still be intact and shell free of cracks.
My I-don’t-want-to-repair-shit qualifier winnowed the field of tire covers down to a mere few—most of them well over $200. Finally I found one at Avery’s Aircooled in Washington for $110. Add in the $87 for shipping and I was hitting average. (Lesson here is that if you find one for $50 like I did on Samba—buy it immediately.)
They shipped it and it arrived—cracked. I fumed. I sent an email to Avery’s, saying I know it was probably shipping, but the reason I ordered from them was that they had one that was not cracked. After a few congenial emails, we agreed that a $45 discount was fine.
To repair the crack, I used a two-part plastic glue and let it set overnight. It worked like a charm. To add some strength, I used a patch kit on the back side and also let that sit overnight. Then I Armoralled the shit out of that thing. Really shined it up so the plastic had new life in it.
Not too shabby.