Dear Tom and Ray:
My boyfriend is turning 40 this year, and I really want to get him something special, something that will surprise him and that he never would guess I could pull off. So naturally, I'm thinking of something in the "car" department, as I have no knowledge of the subject. He has a 1971 VW bus in storage. He's wanted to work on it for years. And just this year, he's started to tinker around with it, but I don't think he's progressed very far. I don't know much about this fine artifact, other than it's old, it has a pop top and he loves it. What could I beg, borrow, steal or possibly buy that would complement his '71 bus? Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. — Carlin
Ray: What do you give a man with a '71 VW Bus? Well, the first things that come to mind are a series of psychiatric appointments or a gift certificate for the crusher. But I sense that you don't want to put a damper on his enthusiasm for this project.
Tom: The problem is, it's hard to know what he needs for this bus, other than, probably, everything.
Ray: So I think the best thing you can do is get him a gift certificate to one of the places that sell parts for these old VW buses. That way, he can order parts for the next project he wants to tackle — whatever that is.
Tom: We've heard good things about www.busdepot.com. But if you go online and search for "VW Bus parts," you'll find a bunch of online stores that sell parts for these vehicles. With a gift certificate to one of these places, he can order anything from an engine to a dome light.
Ray: And if they don't offer gift certificates (which is likely, because there are very few loved ones who want to encourage this hobby), just contact them, and I'm sure they'll make an arrangement for you.
Tom: Your boyfriend will be impressed and thrilled, Carlin. And you'll be a VW Bus widow before you know it.
(Car Talk is a nationally syndicated column by automotive experts (and brothers) Tom and Ray Magliozzi. Write to them at the Car Talk website.)