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Barn Find Bus: 1972 Volkswagen Van

This 1972 Volkswagen “Bay Window” Bus is described as a barn find that’s just begging to be restored, and from what we can see in the pictures, that doesn’t seem far off. The bay windows are typically less desirable than their split-screen siblings, which usually translates into them being cheaper to buy. That’s certainly the case here, as $5,500 will buy you a Bus that last ran in 2008 and looks reasonably solid despite its hiatus from the road. And how many are these are left with the original VW emblem still attached to the nose? Find the Bus here on craigslist near Springfield, MO.

The Bus looks quite original, still wearing its original hubcaps and possibly two-tone paint scheme, as this was the factory look when the Bus was new. Check out the antique stickers in the back rear side glass – I wonder what bands or places they represent. The Bus still has curtains hung in the window, so it seems likely this one was used for camping despite not being a desirable pop-top model. The tin top Buses are actually more appealing in some ways given the lack of complexity and better chance of water not sneaking in past the giant hole in the ceiling. Plus, you can port over all of the Campmobile pieces to the inside to get 90 percent of the experience at a much lower price point.

The seller shows a few different angles of the lower sills and floors, and it all looks reasonably solid . I don’t know if this picture of the front floor underneath the floormat should reveal anything particularly telling, but there’s no gaping holes to stick your fist through. There’s some rust along the lower edges of the body, but again, nothing catastrophic, and the completeness of the interior suggests this Bus never went down the slippery slope of becoming someone’s permanent home on wheels. The front passenger cabin looks very straight in pictures and the seller notes the dash isn’t cracked, which does seem to confirm long-term indoor storage.

The 1700 engine last ran in 2008 with no confirmation by the seller as to whether it still turns over freely. The engine bay looks slightly tired, but as long as the rodents haven’t moved in during its hiatus from the road, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get it to fire once again. The Bus also features its original windows, and appears to have the optional roof-mounted HVAC controls. The headliner is also in good shape, as is the rear seat and door panels. Bay windows are a great value compared to the earlier models, especially without the Westfalia tax. This one looks like it is, indeed, worthy of restoring – do you agree?


  1. Avatar photo steve

    The list of things wrong here is endless. Sure, the hubcaps might be original as might be some of the paint. The rest of it is hacked. To have the power inlet on the driver’s side panel, it would be a Westfalia. BUT..those came with a wooden headliner not the vinyl. Engine is wrong (later blower housing) and has about the worst answer ever for a fuel system in that center-mounted carb (manifold heat anyone?). Is it just me or is the riveted driver’s floor patch panel starting to rust out? So, sure, if your 1st car was a 72 Bus (mine was) and even better, it was THIS bus, it’s a restoration candidate. Short of that, the ask is insane and it’s only about 60% “there”:. Go ahead, FIND the “72 only” carbs and air cleaner. Good luck!

    Like 2
  2. Avatar photo Fred W

    Pretty sure I sold a ’78 too cheap about 3 years ago. Mine had a good body with new paint but had fuel injection problems. I spent a couple of months replacing fuel lines and injectors, got it running, freshened the interior and installed sound deadening, put new tires on and sold it at a small profit for 5K.

    Like 1
  3. Avatar photo Ken

    Baywindows may not be as desirable as older models unless you value driving over style. Bays from 71- on had disc brakes with a neat compensator that provided a bit of anti-lock, front to rear. Very stable, modern braking. From the time they put the Type 4 engine in, as this one has, it was a great driver’s car. The heater booster fan was good too. The later 2 liter with hydraulic cam, improved shifter and all was very good. The 2.0 was adequate in my 78 Westy. Same cannot be said of the same engine in my 83 Vanagon Westy which I always feel like I’m carrying on my back. I wish I still had the BayWindow Westy

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo 69bus Member

    Anyone that is nostalgic over one of these never owned one…

    Like 3

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