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Brush Find: 1959 Volkswagen Bus

Despite being hidden by the weeds, bidders have pushed this listing for a 1959 Volkswagen Bus project to nearly $30,000. This is an early, double-door panel model that looks to be quite rusty but is also seemingly quite complete with all of its glass still in place and the remnants of an attractive in-period two-tone paint job. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $29,100 and the trailer included in the final sale.

The Bus is located in South Padre Island, Texas but wears old-school license plates from Minnesota. The seller doesn’t mention where the Bus was extracted from, but either location presents its challenges, from the snow-covered roads of the Twin Cities to the damp, tropical climate of South Padre. Still, in the world of Type 2 ownership, this is far from the rustiest Bus ever restored.

The seller mentions he bought the Bus for his wife, but illness has forced them to abandon this restoration project. The included trailer looks quite robust, and the seller pegs its value at $5K. While it’s hard to discern just how rusty the VW is, this is not stopping bidders from pushing the number ever higher – and this isn’t even one of the treasured 21-window models.

One aspect of this Type 2 that is likely helping bidders gain the confidence to lodge a bid is the fact that it looks reasonably complete. The bumpers, glass, and doors are still there, and many of these Buses, when recovered from places like this one was, are missing some combination of those parts. If the interior is there, it may start to make even more sense. Still, the reserve remains unmet at $29K.


  1. Keith Keith

    Roached VW van at 30k? I don’t get it?????

    Like 28
    • Dovi65

      I don’t get it either. The seller probably paid a hundred dollars for this relic, and will make a nice fortune on the flip. Good for him.

      Like 13
    • sir mike

      If it was Porsche it would be over 100,000.by now.

      Like 9
    • Doc

      WTF? Like it’s being treated as a abandoned Hemi ‘Cuda or something. This market will cool down faster than the seasons change over the next few years,

      Like 7
  2. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member


    Like 9
  3. elrod

    Its a crazy world when you see these prices – but its a free market. Hopefully the owner gets cash in hand. Always sorry to hear about forced sales from health issue- been there. Moral to the story here- build your dream vehicles while you can- time waits for no man.

    Like 15
    • Grandpa Lou

      Interesting. You know, the people who originally drove these and made them famous were anything but free market people. How strange that the well healed crowd now uses them to make a buck.

      Like 9
    • moosie moosie


      Like 2
  4. Ian McLennan

    This is nuts!!

    Like 11
  5. JW454

    Strange…. Only 4 bidders on the auction. None of the bidders have ever bid on anything else, EVER. The starting bid was 25K. Does this sound like shill bidding to anyone else but me?

    Like 36
    • Dave

      If that’s the case then the shills can have it! I remember these littering the berms of the Pennsylvania Turnpike when we would go on vacation in the mid 1960s. The combination of the 65 mph speed limit and steep upgrades would kill the engines.

      Like 15
      • Marshall

        In 1966, our family came out west from New England in a 1964 VW bus. Surely we must have gone over the “berms of Pennsylvania. (in fact, the stinkiest bathroom of my entire life I still remember was from a restaurant in Pennsylvania) Of course, our bus was only two years old back then. But we had it for many years after that. Dad sold it in 1976 with about 100,000 miles on it. It was still running. He might have kept it many years longer had I not wrecked the front end of it in 1975.

        In 1959 VW came out with an engine that turned out to be a lemon, in so much that they offered to replace them all.

        Like 0
  6. art

    A fool and his money are soon parted.
    Hope it survives the trailer ride and does not collapse into a pile of rust.
    I, like most folks on here, am amazed at what folks will throw money at.
    If rebuilt, it will be rebuilt with a ton of low quality Chinese made steel panels, so where then is it’s German heritage?
    Can you imagine the poor suc…, um, er, person that buys this when/if it gets “restored”..lol…too funny. My guess is there won’t be any before and after photos shown.

    Like 8
    • MGSteve

      Well, as noted by others, the VW & Porsche hater/contributors often do not know what they are ranting about. Most of the Type II “busses” are being restored, not with Chinese parts, but rather with VW of Brazil parts. The “bus” is still being made in Brazil, and after about 1.5 million have been made there, production is to stop (or may have just recently) sometime this year. Here ya go:


      Like 3
  7. Will Fox

    Only a clueless jamoke would pay anywhere near the $29K for this bus. The trailer is obviously worth more than the VW Bus. If you are willing to pay this seller’s price, you have more money than brains. As ‘complete’ as this looks (and we get no interior or engine photos, btw) it is EASILY a $100K restoration to get this to concours condition. The current ‘rage’ of interest in VW vans, IMHO, is nothing short of stupid. But, if a person wants to toss their hard-earned money away on something that will take another $100K to restore ON TOP OF the seller’s price, more power to `em.

    Like 10
    • Marshall


      Like 0
      • Will Fox

        (insert your own term; I pulled Jamoke outa thin air.)

        Like 4
    • triumph1954

      Will Fox. Current ‘rage’ of interest in VW vans? Guess you haven’t been in or following the old car hobby very long. Guess you are nothing short of stupid! IMHO.

      Like 2
      • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

        Where’s the thumbs down button when I need it?

        Like 1
      • Gaspumpchas

        Please, guys, no name calling. The BF folks are doing us a favor by providing this great forum. Lets not screw it up.

        Like 3
  8. Gaspumpchas

    JW454, you are correct. Pi$$ poor pictures that show nothing, no close ups or engine pics and most importantly no pics of the underbelly. Zero feedback. Broken English? me smells a Furrin’ scammer. Will I agree that this is stupid. but as JW said, bidders that nobody has ever heard of. Be careful out there.
    BTW didn’t we see this before?? Caveat emptor.

    Like 7
  9. Chebby Staff

    “Supposed to be for my wife but she got sick”

    Yeah she got sick when she saw this!!

    Like 19
  10. Alan Brase

    The amount of mistaken comments on here is amazing. I agree the ad is pretty lacking enough details to give any legit buyer much confidence.
    But REALLY, $100,000 for a restoration?
    Chinese metal resto panels? The best are made by some real craftsmen in Columbia, and other good ones in UK.
    And BarnFinds own description: double door panel? It is neither.
    What it is is a 15 window deLuxe. Like a 23 (not “treasured 21” like you said. Wrong year for that!), but without the sunroof and skylights.
    A pretty rare and treasured model in its own right.
    Yes, a lot of them died on the highway. But they are cute and sweet drivers and in the right hands can live a very long time.
    The later motors 40 hp and 1500 made highway travel a little more possible.
    (My 1955 built single cab has a red line on the speedo at 48MPH!)
    I agree that these bids do not reflect reality. $20k car and a $5k trailer. (trailers says “rentals” on the side. I’d want to see the title before bidding.)
    At $30k you’d be upside down in it if you intended to restore. I’d think you could find a pretty good 15 window for $40k. And drive it tomorrow.

    Like 19
  11. Gaspumpchas

    Alan, I dunno but when was the last time you priced a shop done restoration? I don’t even see 20k here, and that trailer is a $2000 car trailer. And I would challenge you to find a restored one that’s road ready for 40k. No one has any idea about the underbelly- I would bet its crackers. I stand by this ol grey hair’s opinion, this one is very suspicious. Broken English, zero feedback. Good luck to the new owner, use yer head and don’t get sucked into this scam.

    Like 6
  12. Evan

    It’s not a 1959. It’s a ’62 or ’63.
    It’s not a “double door panel.” It’s a normal Deluxe.

    Like 7
    • Alan Brase

      1962-3! Yes, I never even looked very close. It has “fried egg” blinkers. I’m just baffled that Ebay does not act a bit more responsibly on at least the VIN. Used to be that every car advertised in California had to have the VIN in the ad.
      There was a very long drawn out thread on theSamba about a guy dropping big money (about $125k, I think) for a very attractive 1959ish 23 window at Mecum auction, only to find out it was patched together Frankenstein car. It did have a VW birth certificate, but was in fact, 2 or 3 different cars. With advice from a few experts and good attorney, he got ALL his money back from Mecum (who of course,claimed all along it was BUYER BEWARE, WHEN it came time to actually be as they said over their PA what it was described as.)
      Additionally, the state of California then SEIZED the car and put somebody in jail.
      Rather satisfying in the end.
      But the bottom line: Whether buying a VW bus, a Hemi Cuda or Gogomobile, do your due diligence: get it up on a lift with a genuine expert looking at it.
      Having said all this, yes, there are many warning signs here. I think “Bring a Trailer ” is the best venue for selling stuff. Reader feedback and sellers responding eliminates surprises.
      and yeah, they did manage to get $400k for a rusty Speedster.
      But the bubble is over. And I bet that car would only bring HALF that today.

      Like 11
  13. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    There was a time when even a car offered out at $1000 would merit more than four crappy photos and a couple of sentences about things other than the vehicle itself.

    This is nearly 30K. And people bid? Crazy.

    Like 4
  14. Will Fox

    10-11–GUYS: Take a look at the second or so page on Hemmings under ‘Cars for sale’. A `61 23-window Bus in the same colors, fully restored. Mind you, a 23 window and not a Deluxe like this….”$181,000.” Just goes to show you where prices on the best ones are going…..to “Ludicrous-land, that’s for sure!!

    Like 1
    • Alan Brase

      Haha! Dreaming. The bubble burst two years ago.I owned one of these for about 40 years. In 1980? bought as a 3rd owner with a title from 1961. Pretty original but Iowa rusty. My brother did some lovely work on the rust repair, then it sat for years. I sold it after advertising for a couple years. I followed the market pretty closely. Trust me, maybe 2 have sold for near $200k at auctions, but NOBODY is paying anywhere close that money in the real world. I’d bet most nice cars (23’s, not 21’s), sell for $60-90k. There are lots of counterfeits out there (and certainly, some offer good value to their buyers) for $30-45k. Brazilian buses were made into the mid 70’s as 15 windows, so adding sunroof and skylights is a $5-6k job to make it into a 23 window. And it has 15 years of mechanical improvements underside. Well, not that many improvements, but much better driver than a 1200 cc. Brazilian buses have NO HEATER provisions, not even defrosters.

      Like 2
  15. Russell Ashley

    Wow. It surprises me that anyone even wants one of those. When I was in high school in 1959 I worked at a drycleaners that had a 57 VW panel van, like this but no windows. I put a lot of miles on it, and being a crazy teen-ager at the time, I’m lucky that I survived it. Your legs and feet are the crumple zones in those and the rear end will pass you on a wet road. One of the most un-safe vehicles ever made, IMO. I was crazy then and maybe still am a little, but I’m not crazy enough to pay big money for that rusty thing. I know these things are riding a wave right now but not with me.

    Like 4
    • Marshall

      “No windows“?, Including no rear window? EXTREMELY RARE! I have only seen one of those “ windowless” commercial VW vans in my entire life, in a junkyard in 1974. I asked the junkman out of curiosity how much they wanted to sell the whole thing for. They said $400. It was unwrecked, but I think it had been in a fire if I remember right. Samba.com would be the source to confirm this. But if the VIN number plate confirms that any particular commercial van originally came with “privacy” rear door, it adds to its value.

      Like 0
  16. glenn

    Fools and their money….reminds me of the Beanie Baby craze.

    Like 2
  17. John b

    I dont think its a 59. The front turn signals should be the bullet type.

    Like 1
  18. RJ

    “Reminds me of the Beanie Baby craze” – absolutely! I loved them when I had them – looong ago.

    Like 1
  19. PRA4SNW

    Auction just ended. No sale at $29,100. It was not sold to S. Hill.

    Like 5

    😲I HAVE A 1973 12 WINDOW VAN
    $10,000 DAVID (310)(906)(5887)😎

    Like 1
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      David Keniry,

      You have done this before. Please read the commenting rules, especially this one:

      “Don’t post your car for sale in the comments.”

      There is a method for posting cars for sale here. It would be great if you used it, and didn’t irritate the site owners and readers.

      Like 5
      • DougB

        I totally thought his post was a joke ad :-o

        Like 2

        😲i don”t👍want
        2 irritate anybody
        i’m an oldman, got kicked out of
        lion’s 1961 no money 2 buy new☎ mine won’t
        send pic’s 2 site? i’ve tried many times the barnfind boss’s no & haven’t cut me off please bare with me please tell your
        friend’s i have #10
        project’s they r all complete
        i drove the piss out of all of them before being parked, i have purchased many part’s & engine’s 4 all of
        them since my neck was broken
        take care & stay
        safe thank’s

        Like 1

        😲cool handle 4 my
        thought’s when u
        get old u do alot
        what if’s 👍😎

        Like 0
      • Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

        DayDream…..Give the old guy a break…..Graduating from the 5th grade was different back then. And they complain about immigrants not being able to speak English!

        Like 1
  21. 1st Gear

    RUN Forrest RUN ! ! !

    Like 3
  22. TimM

    With the look of the rust it’s a good thing there including the trailer!!! $30,000 for a rusty old VW van!!! I guess it’s time to scour the woods for rusty old POS VW vans!!!

    Like 2
  23. DougB

    To each his/her own. Though I’d never pay what people are currently paying for split-window VWs buses in any condition, I’d also spend cash on a bus so much faster than any American car of the same era. My family never owned a VW until I came along, and we grew up surrounded by ‘Cudas, Challengers, Firebirds and more. But when I caught the VW bug, I caught it bad. I have a ’75 Westy that’s been all up and down the east coast, from FL to ME, and I’m often seen passing people on the highway. The one benefit to me is that the skyrocketing price of splitties has resulted in a trickle down effect for the value of my bus…people are selling Bay Window buses for $15K – $20K depending on condition…a nice profit on the $6K this Westy cost new or the $4K I paid for it 7 years ago. Currently equipped with a 2.0L Raby Camper Special and often the weekend home for our family of 4 at campgrounds around the mid-Atlantic (and also my daily driver).

    Like 1
  24. Bill Ridge

    I was 9 years old when my father bought a new drop side pick up. So it’s basically the same vehicle mechanically. He nursed it along for 10 years, not because he liked it, but because he had to. We lived at the top of pretty steep hill, about 500 feet above the town. The VW didn’t like that hill. In the winter the derned thing didn’t make heat until after we got off the hill. The engine and tranny hated the hill (lots of failures) and the body hated the snow and salt.

    As others have said…..I don’t get it. What is the attraction to these things?

    Like 1
  25. stillrunners

    Funny somebody from the Great Lakes drove this down to Padre Island on spring break and it broke down.

    On the other hand Tommy and I – cause I stripped the chrome off on one like this in his yard – kicking our butts….he sold it to cheap just like I did the chrome trim !

    Like 0
  26. Jeffery

    Its easy to see why it is in such demand. Look at all the comments it brings up. People just want them.

    Like 0
  27. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Sold for $80K


    One heck of a lot of money.
    But it makes this fright pig look far more expensive by comparison.

    Like 0
    • DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

      I thought it said “sold”, but apparently this one did not sell for the $80K. Might be a clue as to where the market is, though.

      Like 1

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