‘Fast Times’ Movie Bus Begins Tour after Collector Keeps it Secret More Than a Year

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VACAVILLE -- The VW bus used in the classic high school comedy "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" went on the road Wednesday, headed to Southern California where it gained its fame.

Located and acquired by VW bus restoration expert Robert Skinner, it was kept under wraps for a year-and-half until it was unveiled in an April open house at Skinner's Vacaville Auto Body Center.

It featured a re-enactment of the famous going to school scene in which the Sean Penn character, Jeff Spicoli, and friends spill out of the van engulfed in marijuana smoke.

Skinner and his wife, Marlo, had to refit the interior using movie posters and photos because it was gutted after the movie. But the paint job remains original.

Skinner, who has an international reputation as a restorer of split windshield VW buses, saw the move when he was in high school in 1982 and got his first bus a year later. He still owns that bus and has about 45 VW buses in his shop in various stages of restoration.

"I was in high school at the same time, so it definitely had an influence," Skinner said.

The Library of Congress has designated the film as culturally and socially significant.

Penn has been awarded two best actor Oscars since the movie was released. Best Actor Oscar winners Nicholas Cage and Forest Whitaker also had small roles.

The bus has already been a hit at local car shows and will be shown at shows and special events in Southern California.

One of the appearances will be at Van Nuys High School where the movie was filmed on the last day of school.

Despite the rebellious students and drug use featured in the movie, the schools principal was excited about the visit and is making sure students know the bus will be available for viewing.


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