While VW Transporters tend to be a dime a dozen, finding a later model in decent condition is always worth a closer look. Although most air-cooled fanatics are salivating over earlier models in the 23-window configuration, this could be a good time to snag a less-desirable but far cheaper example like this 1971 Bus here on eBay and located in Maine, where it used to transport employees to the Augusta Mental Health Institute in the 70s.
What stands out right away is the impressive condition of the interior. Although the seller could have done a better job photographing some of the less attractive areas of the van, it is unusual to see a Bus in any configuration with an interior as clean as this one. The headliner appears nearly new and the middle and rear row benches are untorn. Sure, you wouldn’t have the exclusivity of windows cut into the roof, but that’s also probably a big reason why the headliner isn’t stained! If it was used for employee transport, that might explain why it’s equipped with the rare gas-fired heater.
Up front, the same level of impressive interior preservation continues, with an uncracked dash and factory radio still in place. The glovebox should hold a bevy of original paperwork and owner’s documents, according to the seller, and even the original “Morlong Falmouth” dealer decals are still intact. Within that paperwork, the seller claims there’s a receipt documenting an engine rebuild performed in 1977, though the engine currently does not run. It will turn over with a battery hooked up, but given it’s been off the road since 1990, some level of mechanical restoration will be required.
The seller doesn’t include any full-on shots of the front of the Bus, but there are some photos in the listing documenting body rust and some amateur bodywork as seen in this photo. The photos seem to indicate some level of corrosion on the frame, but I can’t tell just how deep it goes. The tires will also need replacing, as the ones in the photo are dry-rotted. The seller has a buy-it-now of $6,500 listed, but I think $4,500 would be a fair price given the questions about rust that won’t be answered without an in-person inspection. What do you think this former employee transport Bus is worth?