Bubbly Bus: 1978 Volkswagen Champagne Edition Van

083116 Barn Finds - 1978 VW Van - 1

Clink – let’s raise a toast to this bubbly, 1978 Volkswagen Champagne Edition Van! This rare project is in Anaheim, California and is listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $4,000 or make an offer. If you’re in a Lawrence Welk cover band, this one is a no-brainer. Thanks to Josh, for finding this one!

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These special edition vans, or buses, or Transporters, or Kombis, or Type 2s.. were made in 1977 and 1978 and the photos seem to show a heck of a nice van for $4,000! The seller says that it’s a “PROJECT Bus” and when they use all-caps you know they mean business, so be prepared for some work on this one. But, once you’re done, you’ll have an absolutely beautiful prize-winner on your hands and will be the envy of everyone you know; well, other than your brother-in-law who never really liked you in the first place.

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Ok, now we see that there’s some work to be done. Call me crazy, and most of you do, but I always think that it’s advisable to have a windshield. Of course, you can get 99.9% of any and every part that you’ll ever need for a VW Van so no worries there. $250 and a couple of hours and you’re in business, windshield-wise. The seller says that it has a solid windshield, but they don’t show it at all so I’d budget for a new one, just in case. They also say that this baby is “almost rust free and only rust is front driver / passenger area”, as they show in this photo. Any person with experience restoring Volkswagens could probably do that repair in their jammies, in-between their first and second cup of organic French roast in the morning. Seriously, this is looking like a nice project, isn’t it?

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There aren’t any good, overall dash photos, or any that really show the seats, or the front of the interior at all, but if you can click a box on an online order form you can have the vast majority of any missing parts delivered to your door. And, again, once you’re done; wow! The rear portion should have a seat or two, but they must be missing and there’s no mention of them in the ad.

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According to the seller, this is a “complete motor” in “unknown condition” that was “running when parked”, so plan on a total rebuild here. But, this van is worthy of a nut-and-bolt restoration so you’d want to do that anyway. It will look darn similar to this one when you’re done with it. 1978 was the first year for electronic ignition and all of these vans have fuel-injection by this point, so that should take care of at least some of the roadside repairs and adjustments. But, sometimes breaking down on the side of the road makes for good memories. No, scratch that, it’s better to not have your vehicle break down on the side of the road. This should be a 1.8L opposed-four with self-adjusting hydraulic valves good for about 67 hp. This is the stuff that champagne wishes and caviar dreams are made of. Have you seen a Champagne Edition VW van before? What do you think of this one? Being pretty rare I think it’s worthy of an original-spec restoration, how about you?

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Comments

  1. Fred w.

    Wasn’t aware of this particular model and like it a lot. This does look like a restoration that a serious restorer could do in his sleep.

    Like 1
    • norman martin

      Is this Bus still for sale two is better than two meny got a 1976 to put beside it, someone please let me know.

  2. whippeteer

    But for all the damage and questions, I think 4K is rather high.

  3. hhaleblian

    Ah one, Ah two, Ah three! I’m out, even if the Lennon sisters were in the cab.

  4. Leon

    Whats so special about this?…
    Looks like a normal bus..with a ugly paint choice?

  5. Bob Hess

    Had to straighten out the nose of our ’77 camper with similar damage. With the slight curve and raised boarder accent it rated as one of the biggest repair challenges I’ve ever gotten into. To fix that one I’d have to be paid the 4K, not the other way around. That dash has been without the windshield for quite a while….

  6. Mark MacD

    I’m wth Bob, fixing the curve on that busted nose would be no small task. Can’t say I remember this particular model but the 70’s browns are not a turn off for me. I like it but think there is much to do with a questionable pay off at the end.

    • TracRat

      Oh I know who would probably snap this one up & fixer up to mint if he dodn’t already have one. That would be Fluff the comedian. He’s got the most serious VW collection on the planet. Check it out if you get a minute. He’s definitely all in on em.

  7. Ken

    My ’78 bus has a front air bag (spare mounted on front), which may have softened that front end crunch. Or else left a round rim imprint.

    • Charles

      Funny!

  8. RichS

    That catalytic converter looks like a serious afterthought – did they originally even come with them? Seems like a ham-fisted way to get this thing to pass the CA tailpipe test if so.

  9. jaymes

    I bet the fronts bent for the windsheild

  10. charlie Member

    Put a Subaru engine in it and GO. It will never be original again anyway.

  11. Jeff

    I know these are climbing in value, and that has led to a lot of dreamers price wise. I’ve owned 11 of these myself. Like Rick on Pawn Stars says, “Asking or getting?”, I think the price is way too steep for what it is.

  12. Doc

    The Subaru change over requires a radiator, done right,they perform well. 4WD is tempting.

  13. rob pearcey

    Right heres what you make it into

  14. rob pearcey

    A beer VW

  15. Louis Chen

    I remembered these Champagne editions well, especially with electronic ignition, hydraulic valve lifters and fuel injection. These upgrades was really needed in these VW vans. Like all Type 2 vans they’re roomy and fairly comfortable ride except for crosswinds. The only problem with this edition the color wasn’t to my liking. It would be a re-restoration project but the price is a little high.

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