Live Auctions

Split Window Barn Find: 1959 Volkswagen Bus

This 1959 Volkswagen Transporter is called a barn find by the seller, who notes he may have done the hard work of finding and then dragging this split screen Bus home, but he’s not going to finish it any time soon. The market for Type 2s has been hot for some time, but has cooled just a bit so that the truly rotten projects tend to remain hard sells, unlike a few years ago when even the rustiest carcasses were pulling four figures with ease. This example looks wholly worthy of restoration and is the super cool panel van design typically used by contractors and the like. Find it here on eBay where bidding is approaching $5,000 with no reserve. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Russ D. for the find. 

Despite its less-than-ideal storage arrangement, the Bus looks reasonably solid in the more vulnerable areas for rust. The panel edges and lower sills all look more solid than we’d typically expect in a barn find Bus of this vintage, and there’s a chance that’s original two-tone paint still hanging on for dear life. The old-school Nebraska license plates suggest that this VW has lived in a potentially dry climate for much of its life; it’s certainly holding up better than any barn find Buses discovered in the rust or snow belts. There is obviously plenty of missing trim and other flaws, but at least you won’t be attempting to replace 21 small skylight windows.

The interior is nothing to write home about and will need total restoration if you’re looking for a concours-grade example. For many of us, however, throwing down a Mexican blanket would likely suffice for the time being. The interior photos don’t tell us much, other than someone installed a bulkhead behind the front seats, which I believe wasn’t standard in a Bus of any configuration – but I could be wrong. It would make sense that the models used for a commercial business would want a divider between where the occupants sat and the materials and tools they were hauling were stored. It’s hard to get a good sense on the condition of the interior floors, but the seat will definitely need upholstery work.

So, at first glance, the Transporter looks reasonably solid in some the typically weak areas, but this photo shows us a piece of sheetmetal screwed into the sill between the front and rear wheels. This doesn’t exactly look like a high-quality repair, so there may be more rust hiding than we can see in these pictures. Still, the Bus doesn’t look nearly as rotten as other examples we’ve featured, and there’s numerous sources for spare parts and replacement body panels given the popularity these Type 2s have with restoration shops and DIYers alike. The price bid right now is quite afforable, and with an engine that still turns over, it’s one of the very few projects that could be a runner again in short order.


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Barnfind? Well, perhaps at some time in the past, but it’s clearly been sitting in that spot for long time.

    Like 7
  2. Phil

    Non walk thru like this bus would have a bulk head because of the bench seat. Also non-walk thru had rear vents in the upper rear panel due to no ventilation in rear cargo area.
    They had a divider like cardboard material that fit above bench seat rail seperating the rear. Some dividers had small windows in them.

    Like 2
  3. doug edwards

    $5500 & 3 days to go. Looks a lot better than many to start with. Who says the prices have cooled off on these? I’m watching this. I have an early bus and I can tell you, the young kids go nuts over these. It’s going to continue to drive the price up.

    Like 4
  4. Phathead Phil

    ‘59 VW bus in this condition is hard to find.

    Even if it’s a “Field Find.”

    Price is CORRECT! 😎

    Like 2
  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    Well OK then, you just go ahead and snag this little bijou!

    Like 3
    • Phlathead Phil

      Why? Just because I think the deal is o.k., does NOT mean I’m buying’ alrighty ?

      You should see what these are going for on other sites.

      Like 1
  6. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    “The interior is nothing to write home about”

    I am picturing many puzzled young people wondering what that could mean.

    Like 6
  7. RJ

    Back in the day I’d buy these for $200, grind the valves, and sell for $400 – and I thought I was slick. How times change,

    Like 5
    • Roy Blankenship

      Exactly! My bus story was a panel van like this, a 1960, it only had a drivers seat and had belonged to a lawn mower repair, it had the remnants of the logos on it, so it was affectionately called the Lawn-Boy bus. It had a ’68 motor with a two barrel and headers, and I bought it for…$400. In 1973, my friend came home from the Army, we drove from Columbus, OH to the World Trade Center, then to POE in New Jersey to pick up his Triumph Bonneville he had bought in Germany and drove home, all in a day and a half. I can’t believe we made it. This bus brings back a lot of memories and luckily, there are a lot of panels being made for these because they did rust! The charm and personality of older VW’s is a real thing, I hope this one lives to see another day…

      Like 1
  8. Rusty T

    Transporter? That’s a van. Transporters are the VW pickup trucks.

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