California Dream’n: 1962 VW Bus Survivor

Garr LarsonBy Garr Larson

Its’ so classic, quintessential, California – it’s almost cliché. It’s 1962 – Surfin’ Safari was released by the Beach Boys and you’re so inspired by the draw of surfing, camp-fires on the beaches of Malibu, and the possibility of a laid-back lifestyle that you pack your sack, throw it in your Vanagon, and leave Portland. Fast forward to 2018, and those beach days are distant memories, and your 1962 VW Type 2 Van looks like the one found here on eBay.

If your travels to LA landed you in Hollywood, then perhaps your career and your van share something in common. After nearly six decades you are both worth a lot of money. Your beachfront Malibu home is worth millions, and your trusty, funky rebuilt van is worth upwards of $50k, $60k, even over $100k depending on its condition. The van for sale here – a 1962 VW split window that includes a new set of pop-out windows and seals, looks to be a great start to relive the California dream or begin a new one.

The most sought-after version of these vans is obviously the classic Type 2 – 23 window rare “Sunroof Deluxe” versions that let plenty of light in as long as you are willing to shell over $200k at auction. Type 2 T1 “Barndoors” (because of their massive rear door like the one for sale here) can still be had for the low $20’s in driving condition – but have seen a sizable increase in value as the market for vintage trucks, vans, and SUVs heats up (fueled by those of us trying to revisit our youth).

There’s a lot of work to get this particular project back to surfing shape. It’s rusty and is a bit of a calico when it comes to heritage – somewhere along the way picking up parts and portions of a Westfalia. The seller says “The engine will start and run with fresh battery and auxiliary fuel source. A good solid bus with very cool patina.” As most of you know, I almost always vote patina, but I think I’d relive my Hermosa Beach days with this ’62 completely rebuilt, repainted, and rejuvenated for another generation to take it to Huntington and Malibu, to shoot the pier and walk the nose!

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Comments

  1. sparkster

    You can almost hear the Beach Boys song coming out of this am radio back in the 60’s . . . . .
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
    Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
    And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
    In the kind of world where we belong




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  2. DETROIT LAND YACHT

    All VW buses are worth restoring.
    My barn door ’65 bus doubled as my living quarters back in the day…while I spent one unforgettable spring in Florida trying to catch on with a Major League Baseball team.Went to 8 different free agent tryouts. The bus…and that particular dream ended in Ft.Lauderdale.Still see plenty of them here in SoCal…on the way to Angels or Dodgers games. The level of restomod for buses is top notch around here.




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  3. Steve R

    I guess Fast and Loud isn’t interested in featuring this car, maybe Dennis decided to sell it through his personal business.

    Through the 90’s these littered the self service junkyards in the San Francisco Bay Area. An old roommate of mine had one, he’d go with me to the Pick Your Part in town, I’d go to the American cars, he would head off to the import truck section. Back then the yards were full of cheap parts from cars most people would die for today.

    Steve R




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  4. KO

    Just a little clarification here on the term “barndoor bus”. I’ve copied from thesamba.com. Production started in 1950.
    Any Bus produced through February, 1955. The term Barndoor is credited to Jeff Walters and is in reference to the large decklid found on those vehicles. Barndoor Type 2’s can also be recognized by the lack of an overhead fresh air vent over the windshield, 16 inch rims, the lack of full dash on non-deluxe models, non-opening rear window hatch (a few exceptions); not to mention miscellaneous switches, latches, seats and body panels that are unique to the Barndoor bus and no other. The term is often mistakenly used to refer to the 2 cargo doors on the side of a Bus.




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  5. Gaspumpchas

    pretty solid, hopefully the calico rust is surface. Can see daylight in a few places but overall a good start for someone. that turquoise and white paint scheme is beautiful. That’s rust not patina, paint it!

    Good luck to the new owner.
    “the heavies at the pipeline are ok,
    but you cant beat the savage surf at Waimea bay….”




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  6. Howard A Member

    A guy in my daughters apt. building in L.A. had a really nice bus. Powder blue, mags, lowered a bit, it was the nicest VW van I’d seen, and told him that. He said, “well, thanks, but that’s not what the VW show officials in Huntington Beach thought” Apparently, it was TOO nice, and 1st place went to a bus similar to this.




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  7. Mountainwoodie

    lunacy




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  8. Darrell

    This is my 1966 slammed on the ground with disc brakes and a 1915 Motor and dual carbs.. found it last year sitting in a storage warehouse in Kentucky.. finished assembling and just painted Flatz Coyote and White to enjoy this year.




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  9. Steven

    Way back, in the late 50’s, I delivered liquor for a store in Manhattan Beach and we were given a 1957 VW panel delivery van for the job. No rear or side windows and all pressed metal surfaces to reflect every noise coming from that under powered and over burdened engine. But, it never quit despite the abuse we gave it. The owner loved the thing and I, a 17 year old, would wear dark glasses and slouch down as low as I could so I wouldn’t be recognized. Of course I’m curious, what would a van like that (in good condition) be worth these days?




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  10. PatrickM

    I’ve never caught on to these. But,,there is a huge market for them. Something no one says… They are top heavy. Be careful,going around corners. I know. I drove one once




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  11. Nevis Beeman

    Oooh the memories come flooding back….of a childhood spent travelling all about Britain in one or other of VW’s just like this; RHD of course. OFN 974; 1397 FN; & DFN 931B ….where are you now?




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  12. George

    I bought a ‘68 VW van in Frankfort, Germany , put a bed in the back behind the middle seat! For a year and half traveled all over Europe , sometimes sleeping in it and other times getting hotel rooms ! I drove it hard much of the time and particularly remember getting flipped off on the autobahn for taking too long to pass another vehicle ! Great memories ! Sold it in Amsterdam for a third more than I paid for it!!




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