The Color Of Joy

August 22, 2019

I sat in the passenger seat of my friends truck that Monday morning, rounding the final street corner towards the auto-body shop that held my freshly painted, brand-new Joybug. The radio was blasting, my friend was telling me a story, but I couldn’t follow the words or the music. I was remembering the day that the dream of restoring Joybug was born, and feeling overwhelmed by all that had come to fruition to make this moment possible.

The evolution of Joybug’s body work from original paint through sanding and primer

Over the last two years, I have gotten a lot of input  on how to paint my Joybug. There were lots of various opinions on the matter: two-tone vs one color, belly trim vs no belly trim, wild and crazy vs minimal and conservative, restoring her original vintage color vs creating a modern look – there were even some who suggested stripping her and polishing the aluminum so she would blend in with her Airstream cousins! The truth is though, that I knew on my very first encounter with her, covered in mold and 40 year old paint, what color she would be: She would be the color of Joy.

My stomach was a swarm of butterflies as we pulled into the driveway of the shop. I felt like I was walking into a first date. I was already swooning and I hadn’t even seen her. Then, all of a sudden, there she was!!!! A gleaming, shining, beautiful, and brand new trailer! Even on the cloudy grey day of her homecoming, she was still glistening.

She was totally gorgeous: a slice of key-lime pie at sunset after a hot day on the beach, a spoonful of mango sherbet melting cold on your tongue, the sunshine Care-Bear from my 80s childhood blasting rainbows from her happy belly; a never-ending field of girasole flowers in the valleys of southern Italy. She was radiant. I was in love.


I danced around like a kid, hugging the body, squealing and acting completely ridiculous, yet I think it warmed the heart of Ron – the artist who painted her, and my friend as well. I call him an artist rather than a contractor because that title fits him better than any other. The paint job was GORGEOUS – and well worth the month wait. After dealing with one awful contractor after another, it was a balm to my spirit to finally find a contractor who cared about his clients and his work. Ron even cleaned up the work from the restorer who sanded it before him – (the roof had not been sanded much at all) – investing hours of his time, and didn’t charge me a dime for it.

Moe, Curly and Larry are looking much better these days!

I took a tour of his work, revisiting the patches I had created and bucked on, which looked awesome. Even the hideous 1/4 rivets on the back of the trailer, (which I had been forced to use after accidentally making the holes 3x bigger via a buck riveting error) had been sanded down and painted, and look great.

I now lovingly call those rivets, which I got while obtaining my concussion,  “Moe, Curly and Larry.” I think its pretty cool that they will forever tell a war-story of my restoration process. In fact, I’m kind of falling in love with all the errors on the trailer that probably no one will notice but me. It’s like I’m writing a story on her skin: a treasure map of sweat equity, scars and endless devotion that only I can see.

With all the colors of the color wheel at my disposal, you may be wondering – did I choose yellow for my girl? It’s pretty simple. I wanted her to be a celebration of life The color yellow spiritually represents freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, and let us not forget… JOY. I wanted my girl Joybug to exude a positive energy, because she is a vehicle of dreams.


Gotta love that rare, rear back door!

Driving home with Joybug in my rear view mirror, it occurred to me that from this day forward, everyone who meets her will only ever see her fancy, new, gorgeous shell. They wont see what lies beneath it: the 450 hours I have spent to get her to this point. They wont see me power washing her in February. Mouse-poop raining down on my face as I removed the belly pan in a snowstorm. Installing the subfloor wrong twice. Installing 190 bolts. They wont see me scrubbing my skin off for two hours after getting covered in automotive undercoating from a days work. Nearly cutting my hand off when a piece of aluminum got caught in my power saw. The day I experimented with metal work and didnt wear gloves, and the way the hot water in the shower stung the hundred micro-cuts I had on my hands for a week. Nor a thousand other moments where I wanted to quit, but put my head down and kept going.

That story is now buried beneath her fresh coat of beautiful paint. But maybe that’s how it is supposed to be. After all, that story is hers and mine only. The sacred lies in her in her secrets.

There’s a lot more work to be done – I have to finish re-installing her rub-rail, marker lights, reflectors, name plate, door lock and tail lights, and polish a lot of those up or have them re-chromed. And when that’s done, it’ll be time to move inside where she remains still a gutted shell and begin an entirely NEW journey. But I’m half way there, and it’s a damn good feeling to be able to scream that from the rooftops! GUYS – I AM HALF-WAY THEREEEEEEEE!

Give a warm welcome home to my girl JoyBug by commenting below!

Thanks for journeying with us!

15 people reacted to this

  1. I love the yellow!!!! Everybody will know who you are when you are going down the road!! Perfect!!

  2. Welcome home Joybug! We’ll know ya when we see ya on the road. Can’t wait to see your insides. I know that the driver in the tow vehicle pulling you will be grinning ear to ear! You are awesome!

    1. hahah right? No hiding with this baby! I cant wait to do the inside too! Gotta finish a little on the outside – but I’m getting there! and I am gonna be the driver! hahah 🙂

  3. Absolutely beautiful! I think yellow is the perfect color for joy!!❤️ * The shade Of yellow is GORGEOUS!!! Well done!!!????

  4. Welcome home Joybug. You are GORGEOUS!! You will surely bring a bright and happy smile to many faces as you roll down the road with your strong, determined, independent, talented, loving and beautiful other half tows you on many exciting adventures. When I see you now, I think of that bright yellow iconic smiley face that we use today ???

    I’m excited to see the rest of your transformation on the inside. I’m certain it will be equally joyful.

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