Barn Samba: 1967 VW 21 Window Bus


When it comes to Volkswagen Buses, the more windows, the better. Here in the States, we actually gave each model of Bus a different name depending on how many pieces of glass it came with. The top and most desirable model today is the Samba which featured 21 or 23 windows. This 1967 VW Samba is a 21 window model with a folding sunroof. It was recently pulled out of a barn and is now offered here on eBay.


The rear fenders show evidence of a blotched repair job, but that shouldn’t be too hard to reverse. Parts are plentiful, so finding replacement panels will be a breeze. There is some rust that needs addressed, so you might as well take care of all the metal work at once.


The motor hasn’t been run for the past 5 years, but the previous owner claims that they had it rebuilt about 10 years ago. Chances are this 1.5 liter boxer four will need rebuilt again, but you never know. These VW engines have been known to start right up after sitting dormant for years. That little 40 horsepower Beetle engine isn’t going to get you anywhere fast. That is okay though because there are enough windows up top to ensure that every one of your occupants can work on their tans while making the long journey.


Like the rest of this Samba, the interior is going to need work. It appears that most of the major components are there. It is missing the middle seat and the driver’s seat. Thankfully, the Bus was just as simplistic as the Beetle so it shouldn’t be too expensive to restore.


This Bus is going to be a big project, but should bring back some good memories of the ’60s. While there are some great looking modified VW buses out there, this rare Samba deserves to be returned to original. Well, then again, some safari windows would look great out front…


  1. Jim

    Watch & see how crazy bidding gets on this…

    Like 1
  2. Chris H.

    Thanks Barrett Jackson, now everybody thinks these are worth a mint. Guess I should’ve grabbed one when they were practically free.

    • Charlie

      Yeah… Guess I should not have shoved that early 50s Barn Door bus (less engine) into the dump/landfill back in 1968! ARGH!

      • Cameron

        We all do things we regret and we all do stupid things but to be honest that is far far far beyond stupid, If I had owned one of those I would have used it as a shed at least instead of bining it.

  3. --Robert

    There’s an awful lot of could’ve would’ve should’ve in this writeup. If anyone thinks that getting into one of these projects is simple, like a Beetle, they got another thing coming.

    These are unibody vans. There are an awful lot of pieces that have to be taken apart to get to the bottom of that rust. A 3″ tall rocker skin is not a fix to the structure that’s gone underneath.

    The van needs all new rear fender arches to fix that hack “flare” job. The roof driprail rust on these can separate the whole roof skin from the structure. The rot under the windshields is not going to be fun to fix correctly either, though luckily it doesn’t seem to go far down the panel.

    Who knows what’s been done to it mechanically. Looks like it’s on GM wheel adapters- probably easy to correct, assuming you want original type wheels. The engine needs whatever it needs- might get lucky but more than likely needs at least cylinders and heads and seals. It’s not a 1500 (correct for 1967), it’s a 1600 dual-port, which is like a ’71 Bus or 71-74 Beetle engine, and a bit more powerful if not necessarily longer lived. Looking at the rest, I’m sure it’s hacked together with JC Whitney quality aftermarket parts.

    On top of the bodywork and mechanicals and interior, this bus needs around a $1000 worth of window seals. Hope you find someone who has a clue about how they go together. Good luck.

    Like 1
    • scot

      ~ That’s how i see it, –Robert. They aren’t likely to get cheaper but i’d find a more solid start if i had to have another. I recall paying $425 for my first one (w/out sun roof) so i might be a bit jaded. When i saw this yesterday i shuddered a little with the memory. @ rich says Corvair van – much greater up-side potential.

    • Cameron

      The solution here would be to spend a week stripping it and then send it to be acid dipped where they dip the parts and shell in varying strengths of Acids and Alkaline to remove all that is not metal (IE Rust Underseal Oil ECT, The only problem with this is it can cause some alarm in that you could think there is only minor welding to do going in but coming out you might find that you have practicly no shell left which can be disappointing especially when you see the bill (as Acid Dipping is not the cheapest of options)

  4. David

    In MHO, the only good VW van is one that has paid a visit to the junk yard and has been thoroughly smashed beyond recognition. Under powered, under braked, accidents looking for a place to happen. I have been stuck behind too many of them, puttering along at snail speeds to want to see any of these modified bread boxes restored and returned to the street.

    Like 1
    • Mike

      … Raspberry…

    • Horse Radish

      How about that.
      Let’s compare that to the eighties’ GMC or Chevy vans, they called the Econoline and got 5 miles per gallon, ugly things, fat and wide and looked fully loaded even when empty.
      I delivered flowers with those things around the holidays around 1990 in Beverly Hills of all places, but those things went, slurped up gas when it was dirt cheap and made it back to the shop.

      But let’s be honest: if it was yours or even for resale value: What would you rather have? And those Chevy Econoline were supposed to be an improvement… Just a little off topic comparison, why these VWs are gaining in value…

      • Lon Lofgren

        The Econoline is a Ford name. I had a ’63 with the mid-ship engine. What a sweatbox!

      • Cameron

        I would rather have a Devon Vdub to any of the american offerings.

  5. Dolphin Member

    I’m with Robert on this… Think twice before believing that it will be easy to make this into a $100K sale at Barett-Jackson next year, or even just a very nice original bus to bring to your local Show ‘N Shine. Evidence of racer-wannabee mods and lots of neglect mean lots of work and $$$ to put this right.

    The ones that bring the big bids are PERFECT #1 vehicles, and this is the wrong way to start. Best thing to do might be to get it running and do a minimal refurb and then go surfing, but I am always gunshy of a deal where the seller says he hasn’t even tried to start what looks to be a complete engine sitting in the vehicle. The only reason not to try would be old timing belts that might break and destroy the engine, but this not only doesn’t have timing belts, it doesn’t even have overhead cams.

    Don’t bid until you hear it run.

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I agree with you and Robert. This is going to be one extremely dedicated restoration, a lot more involved than what the buyer thinks. The new owner better be dedicated and keep it because it’s going to take as much as they’re going for at BJ’s to fix it. Nothing else to do but drive it and enjoy it (after the resto is done, of course).

    • Cameron

      Even if it doesn’t run it reminds me of “Dipsy” from “Campervan Crisis” they show the series on “Quest” every now and again, he put a Porche Engine in his to drag race it in under 10 secs and it did not worsen the quality of the van when he had finished it rode perfectly and it continued being the family runabout.

  6. rancho bella

    These are still running around San Diego. If you haven’t seen one for a while, you’re just living where they ain’t. I see one a week, and not the same one all the time. They are not rare here.

    I don’t get the draw to them… On the other hand, people think me crazy for lovin’ Lotus.

    • Cameron

      Lotus have made ad still do make some brilliant cars

  7. jim

    No detailed photos of underside. Are the reduction gearboxs still there? or is that the reason for the fender mods = wrong transaxle? way to far away from stock and way to much money/time to get back to stock. Still there are a lot of bids so it must be a good find for some people.

    • Cameron

      I do agree with what you are saying, if I were to sell one of these I would thake it to my local MOT station and ask to borrow the pit or a ramp to take detailed photos of the underside.

  8. rich

    At 17 grand and reserve not met crazy. Maybe 2 grand max for me, rather have a Corvair Greenbrier much better van.

  9. bill

    Had a new one in 1975… Ok driver… But 17 grand and reserve not met! For this pile of rust? Thats the definition of insanity.

  10. Lon Lofgren

    I had a ’66 Westfalia camper that I bout from my Dad back in ’79 for $1100. It was the greatest, most fun vehicle I’ve ever had. It ran great and everything in the camper worked! I loved that Bus! Then I got crazy in ’82 and sold it for $1500. AND BOUGHT A PINTO! Now, you can’t get one for 10 times that! AArrgghh! Been kicking myself ever since!

  11. mike

    17 K? . Oh boy what I could find instead for 17k. Don’t believe Jay Leno would pay that much for it to have to TOTAL Rebuild There’s a saying that you can ask any outrageous price for anything, but Seriously? This must be ” LIVE from New York, , , IT’s SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.

  12. mark

    My parents had a ’61 factory Westphalia camper with all of the “goodies”. My dad god about 200K miles out of it, but took three engines to do so, they were so overworked. Easily the slowest vehicle ever produced.

  13. Horse Radish

    I don’t know what the formula is on the window count.
    I count 25 separate window panes (12 each side, & one in big rear hatch).

    I will watch the price tag at the end of this.
    But just to compare.
    I have a Mercedes Panorama bus with 29 separate window panes, … And mine’s bigger than yours…; ^}

    • Jim

      Horse Radish -Let me know when you decide to unload that Panorama: )

      • scot

        ~ Big M-B Diesel v. Air-cooled flat 4. Hmm… Well, factor in shape, size, fit, finish, potential, sure! facts, darn facts, you can prove everything with ’em… I dig the pix i’ve seen of your bus. I’d have a difficult time talking myself past making it full-home fitted and heading across country.

  14. Cameron

    1967, Won’t that have the fixed bulkhead front seats? If so its not really my thing, probably could convert it with alot of effort and strengthening but I wouldn’t have the time, also the rust looks fairly rough and you know the rule of thumb says that the rust is at least 10x worse where you can’t see it than where you can see it.
    I will say one thing though, its a prime candidate for the 10 second and under club for VW Transporter drag racing: )

    • Mike

      Fwiw, 67 is as likely to have walk-thru front seats as fixed bulkhead.

      • Mike

        Looking again at the pics, this one is a walk- thru.

      • Cameron

        Yes I do realise it is a walk through bulkhead but you can’t turn the seats to create a living room that includes but is separate from the cab

  15. Chris

    Can someone explain why these are worth so much money? I just recently found out these are worth a good chunk of dough, I still dont understand it.

    • Chuck

      If you haven’t owned or actually rode / drove in one you will never understand.

      Like 1
  16. Richard L Gugenberger

    Had one of these in 1969,same color combo and all. Bought it for $200 , engine was in baskets in the back . took me and my father two brothers and anyone who stopped by the old mans house . all summer to figure out and put it all together again , even had the gas heater. taught my sisters how to drive stick on it. We had a lot of fun withit . was used as a third vehicle keys always in it everyone drove it for about four years , never gave a problem always ran , one day my sisters were hit by a drunk driver while stopped at a light on the way to high school ,so hard that they were driven across the intersection and the engine was knocked out on the road , needless to say the love bug was history . We all still talk about the fun times we had with it ,

  17. Jim

    Well, it sold for $25K.
    Someone asked why they sell for such big dollars. Let me take a crack at answering this.
    I guess some would say the 21/23 window VW bus is emblematic or iconic of the baby boomer generation, the “Woodstock” generation. And, these individuals are now mature with a little extra coin in their pockets and wish to re-live, ” the glory years”.
    I had a VW bus back in the day & like other posters here i can attest as to how slow they were!
    But, they represented a time in our lives, in America, when our lives were full of promise, when we were young, when we had no responsibilities (yet!), and life was just unfolding.
    That’s my take, for what it’s worth.
    I’d love an old 21/23 window, but alas, it’s out of my financial reach. I do have a ’59 Volvo duett, which is pretty damn cool and emblematic of the times….

  18. Todd Sloan

    I bought a ’67 21 window bus back in the summer of 1971. Same color as the bus for sale here. I promptly took off across Canada and back through half of the lower 48. Paid $1800 for it because it was low mileage and was flawless. A year later did another cross country trip down in the southern states with a McGovern For President window sticker and man did I get harassed! A few States in the rust belt weren’t to freiddly either. Since then I have used it and used it, still low mileage at 250,000 and still looks fantastic. I still have it, drove it today.
    The bus for sale here needs a heck of a lot or work.

    Like 2

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