1962 VW Bus: 23 Windows

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We know by now that the number of windows on vintage VW Bus seems to correspond directly with an increase in value and desirability. These laws of attraction seem to transcend reasonable judgement, especially with rusty specimens like this one here on eBay – it’s a ’62 VW Bus with bidding approaching $17,000 and the reserve unmet. 

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I always find it interesting when a seller jumps right to the original spec sheet and doesn’t spend any time talking about their vehicle’s current condition. Plus, the potential buyer is recommended to study the pictures carefully, because what you see is what you get. Well, because these are such expensive projects to buy, I’d appreciate a bit more information regarding just how bad the corrosion is.

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The seller points out that there is the potential for a substantial upside given the rapidly rising values of Buses with lots of factory glass. The desirability only increases with split-windshield models, so this ’62 is definitely a highly-sought after model among the air-cooled faithful, but look at that rust: it appears to permeate every surface, an unusual quality for a California vehicle. Perhaps it resided somewhere else before coming to a fair-weather state, or it spent too many years down by the beach.

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Whenever a seller mentions the possibility of buying a spare vehicle as a donor for the project they’re selling, it’s rarely a good sign. We don’t know anything about the engine, but I’d count on it being missing. It looks like some of the unique glass pieces are missing as well, so the treasure hunt will be extensive for anyone looking to put this Bus back to OEM spec. The bidders don’t seem to mind, however. At what price point does it cease to make sense to bid on this 23-window VW?

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Comments

  1. mark

    Current bid @ 17,000 Bucks??? Proof that some people have too much money.

    • Davnkatz

      I think I’ll go to that “bug” place I passed on the highway the other day. Saw a “bus” with a sign for sale for $1,700. Don’t think it was a 21 window version but heck of a lot better condition than this piece of rotten metal. AND here in Texas we don’t have to contend with salt!

  2. jimbosidecar

    Rust must be priced like gold

  3. John

    Pricey but consider that there is now some very high quality replacement metal available and this is a $100K + VW when done.

  4. skloon

    Maybe the rust was transfered from a 911?

  5. DRV

    Do its serial numbers tell of how many windows?
    If so just use the windowed roof on another, not that it would be easy.

  6. JohnM

    Pretty sure I clicked on the wrong website and ended up at one of Bring A Trailer’s “see where they rust” features.

  7. David Frank David Member

    This old bus gives a whole new meaning to the term “air cooled”. At least they don’t claim it’s only surface rust!

  8. David C

    The interesting part will be to see how high it goes. What will the selling priced be?
    Anybody else in on the guessing game? My best guess after looking at what info is available is that it will bring at least $25,000 but not $30,000.
    What do you think?

  9. Marty Member

    Mark, Everyone always loves a good game of “What If”.

    What if: Your elderly neighbor has passed away. His adult kids are in from out of town cleaning out the house, because they’ve just made a quick, as-is sale to a real estate wholesaler. They’ve opened the garage, and unbeknownst to everyone involved, sits this vehicle. The house closes tomorrow at noon, and everything must go, and the adult kids all have planes to catch. Looking like rusty scrap metal, they offer this VW bus to you for $200, because that’s what the junkyard told them over the phone when they described it. It’s too rough for you, and you’re not into VW buses anyway, so the next day you list it for sale on eBay, to sell to the highest bidder.

    With two days and twelve hours left, and the bid price above $16,500, cash that is headed straight for your hip pocket, is it still the same proof that some people have too much money?

    • Willy

      I don’t see how that changes anything about the bidders, to whom I believe Mark is referring.

      • Marty Member

        Whose money would be headed for his pocket in that scenario?

        In this case, if it were yours, would you tell your buyers that they’re paying too much?

  10. Eric

    17,000k the is very low compared to this being even 85% restored

  11. randy

    Having grown up near South Padre Island, I bet this party wagon spent a lot of time “at the beach” in California. Salt water make German cars worth so much more.

  12. Frankie Paige

    Ok, so you buy it and spend the money to restore it, what then? Are you going to drive it? Park it in your living room? Venture out into the heated storage every three months? Buy and enclosed trailer and drive it car shows? Very cool bus, I heard about some guy who paid to have one airlifted out of the forest in Germany, that’s dedication and expensive. If your going to spend his much on a project I’d spend a few hundred on a good inspection.

    • JW454

      Frankie,

      I also read a story recently where one of these had been underwater for 35+ years. After it suffered a mechanical failure, they simply released the brakes and let it roll into the lake long ago. It had been the airport shuttle bus for a resort. Someone sent down divers to connect cables and it was pulled out. At the time the story was written it was well on way to being completely restored. This one looks a lot better than that one did. Go figure…I don’t get it.

  13. Cassidy

    is this what a 356 looks like before they melt into the shape of a large rust/dirt covered rugby fossil?

  14. Sukey

    Hahahahahahhhaahahahhaha
    Pt Barnum was right !

  15. fred

    Not sure why anyone would pay these prices when you consider how easily a good sheet metal man could facilitate those windows in an ordinary van. The only difficult part is the inset flange. If nobody is making those yet, they will soon.

    • anon

      There is at least one outfit who will stamp windows/sunroofs in lower-trim bus models. From the photos it looks like high-quality stuff. I think this is it: http://grumpysmetal.com

  16. Charles

    Formerly used as a fish habitat at the bottom of the ocean.

  17. hhaleblian

    Someone’s in for a big surprise when the transport drops off this cockroach. Of course one could rattle can it just in time for BJ.

  18. Nessy

    It’s still a VW BUS. Mint or rusted out. One window or 100 windows. I do not think I would bid a dollar on one except to resell it since some others somehow seem to find value in a VW BUS. I can not believe how these duds have climbed so high in value over the last 10 years or so….

  19. Michael P

    I think its insane and stupid. Some guy finds this in a seaside jungle, drags it home and instantly puts it up on E-Bay to make a fast buck off of one of the suckers that are born every minute. Its a rolling rusted metal box without a motor with little that can be saved. After you finish replacing all the rusted sheetmetal what is left that is original? Making one from scratch with all new parts I think would be easier and cheeper than fixing this one. I noticed that the license plate is from out of state and the pink slip for California is from November of 2014. So does that make it a CA. car?!?

  20. piper62j

    Gimmee a break.. Wheeler Dealers does a puff up on one of these and every owner of a junker thinks they’re sitting on a bucket of gold. It might be restorable, but at 17k,,, will the market still support the investment when it’s completed???

  21. Mark S Member

    I saw one of these up close about fifteen years ago, it was in a large work shop that at the time was new. It was located on a acreage back in the forestry of the Alberta Rockies. The one I saw was an almost complete restoration that had stalled. It belonged to a freind of my dad, I only saw it once and have no idea where it is now. Even back then the guy that owned it seemed to know that he had something that was worth something. Personally I just can’t see what people are seeing in these. Under powered, poor handling, nothing to look at, and a death trap in a front end colision.

    • KEN

      coming from southern california and being a prior owner of one (when i was in hs i bought one for $500.00) i fixed it up and i used to take it to the beach and go surfing its a piece of history thats what you are paying for not sure if i would pay that much (not on my priorty list) but i understand why

  22. Rex Kahrs Member

    I like Marty’s scenario, and some cars surely get “flipped” in a similar manner. Personally I’d love to have some widow tell me to “get this damn Jaguar out of here, I just want it gone!”.

    And re: this microbus, I’ll repeat myself: I SO do not get the fascination with this slow and uninteresting loaf of bread. And I actually like Ramblers. And I used to smoke pot.

    • randy

      These vans went nuts in value 20 + years ago. I agree with your sentiment 100%.

  23. kenzo

    It’s at 19,000 with a BIN of 25K. I’m a VW fan but not that big of a fan. Gotta check back in 2 days and 4 hours to see how it is doing.

  24. piper62j

    This is getting scary.. I’ll be up all night thinking of how I can schmooze someone into buying one that I got out of a junk yard..

    • randy

      Hey Piper, no schmoozing necessary, all you need is a rust bucket from Germany.
      The German metal turns to gold when expose to the elements.

  25. hollywoodcarguy

    Well they are rare and they are expensive . The restoration might prove as long a journey as it will be cost prohibitive. As far as a California car it has been in the state about an hour and a half … Seriously as evidenced by the title it came into the state in November of 2015.

  26. Texas Tea

    Stupid! That’s the only thing I can think of when I see something like this.

  27. Dutch 1960

    The bus is a “62”, and the license plate (sequence starting with “H”) was issued in ’56 or ’57, and was probably a front plate as it has no year stickers. I would bet that ain’t no California rust on there (also see hollywoodcarguy’s post above). Which means I would not trust any claims the seller makes, at this point.

  28. Keith

    Just call it a 356 and ask 100k!

  29. Jason Houston

    ‘Dutch 1960’ raises a valid point with regard to the ‘H’-series plate. That plate was actually issued in December, 1955, and would never have appeared on any 1962 car, much less without validation stickers.

    And since the current registration was issued an hour ago, this could only be a ”revived no record” California vehicle (which is 99.9% unlikely) or much more likely, a non-resident (out of state) vehicle with an old ’56 plate the crooked seller found at a yard sale for 50c thrown on to enhance his fake credibility.

    Factor in his shill bidders and you can see why this heap of dreadful junk is where it is on the Shill Bid Rack. If some naïve fool doesn’t step up and take over bidding, the lying seller will just file a “non-paying bidder” with eBay and get his commission refunded!

    Isn’t eBay is such a fun, reliable, trustworthy place!

  30. Jason Houston

    According to the title, the car came into California in 2015 with a stated value of $600 – $800 (at least that’s the lie he handed he DMV).

  31. Pete Koehler

    For $25,000 I could buy the very best 1962 Corvair Greenbrier van on the planet and motor off into the sunset knowing my new purchase is ready to enjoy and is NOT a microbus. Here’s hoping the rest of the world doesn’t figure out what a better bargain the Corvair is!

  32. guggie

    Had one of these back in the day , lots of fun until got rear ended at light end of story and end of VW bus !!

  33. David C

    I’m not really sure exactly why but what started the crazy rise in prices in the late 1990’s for the split bus (pre 1968) was the Japanese. Many people don’t know that the Japanese started buying up everything and paying big money for it. They still import everything they can get their hands on (particularly restored examples). The VW bus following and VW’s (aircooled) in general in Japan is huge! Anyway it is interesting.

    • Charles

      If they are charged per pound for shipping costs to Japan they will save a lot by shipping a pre-rusted version like this one.

  34. al frost

    There were a couple of mint ones that went for 100 grand, I suspect that there are now at least 200 of them being restored in various states and that when they start appearing finished the prices will drop to 50 to 70 grand. – take a look at the price of oil the past 2 years,supply-demand. They are just the current novelty item and something else will soon take over

  35. David C

    You can get a completely restored Brazilian Bus for $70,000 to $80,000 depending on how you want it equipped from a company in Florida.(www.microbus.vintagevw.com)
    But! All buses are not created equal! In 2011 one sold at auction for just under $220,000! In December 2014 that mark went away when another sold for $235,000 with the buyers premium. Well restored (German) common 21 or 23 window buses all go for over $100,000 and the more rare the price goes up. I do think we have seen the high mark but I said that about 911’s 2 years ago (I was way wrong).

  36. randy

    Sold for 25K. I am on the hunt for VW busses.

  37. Woodie Man

    Absolutely nuts! And by the way the seller registered it and received a modern white plate beginning sequenced number 7. I have a mint set of roof windows for a 21-23 window bus I am willing to let go for five thousand dollars….

  38. Dominique Legeai

    ….maybe “crazy”, or “nuts”, or whatever….bottom line is: there is a market for such rust bucket and the seller knows it! It is now up to the potential buyer to investigate the truthfulness of the seller. This is called free enterprise, consumerism, offer and demand, capitalism….etc….the backbone of our system where each person involved plays a role and the better you “play” the better off you end up.
    BD

  39. Mike R

    Some of the responses are a bit surprising. If this was big block Vette, Cuda, Camaro, etc. or any other desirable muscle car which could fetch north of 100K when done, I wonder if people would take the same stance.

    Personally, I don’t see the appeal in these vehicles but I would have to look at the potential upside price wise before saying someone paid too much..

    • randy

      We / I ridicule all of the insanity. Will I buy a rusted out VW van cheap? Darn straight.

  40. Dovi65

    No engine. PLENTY of cancer. Still sold for $25K. Someone has more dollars than sense

  41. KO

    I worked for a couple guys in the early 90s that were restoring buses and shipping them to Japan. It’s really been a steady climb ever since. Being lucky enough to own a ’66 Deluxe Microbus for 22 years now, I am still surprised by the dollars needed to get a rusty/trashed example. I have many friends that have been in the hobby for years. The ones that don’t have a pre-’67 bus all say they’ll never have one because of the prices. I feel like there was a minor correction in the last two years, but every time a rare unrestored model comes up people in the community go crazy for it driving up the price.

    Look no further than a couple examples from guys in the scene. Full disclosure – I don’t personally know Brendan or Drew, I just drool over some of the cars they sell.
    http://www.holygrailgarage.com/1958_23_Window_Deluxe_.html
    http://colomemotors.com/all-classics-for-sale/volkswagen-buses/

    I would LOVE to have the ’58 Deluxe in the first link or the ’58 Standard in the second link. If money were no object, both would be in my garage. What’s happened is there’s more people than we want to admit out there where money is no object. I’ll just keep my head down and working toward the day that I become one of them.

  42. Nick Whitlow

    This looks like the one they found on “American Pickers” with trees growing through it.

  43. Tundra/BMW Guy

    KO, good for you!! I love your thought process “I’ll just keep my head down and working toward the day that I become one of them.” That is so admirable to have an outlook of “I’ll work hard for what I want”!!!!!! That is definitely contrary to a lot of others thought process’! With that kind of outlook, you WILL get whatever you want!!! Keep it up!!

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