Created for TV: Custom 1970 VW Bus

This unusual VW Bus has been chopped up and extended to create a rig that is only limited by your imagination and budget. It also seems like it’s being used as a casting call for Discovery Channel show, Welder Up. This latest form of reality entertainment is new to me, but I’m guessing based on the listing found here on eBay that the Bus is both for sale and a potential recruiting tool for non-welding hobbyists to get their ride featured on the West Coast Customs of the fabrication world. 

The Bus has no engine and a transmission that needs repair. It is also said to need further fabrication work to be considered complete (which is odd for a show / entertainer that specializes in selling eye-popping custom products and expects owners to fork over between $75K – $150K for the build). The smoke stacks and dual rear axle are perhaps the most memorable aspects of this Bus conversion, but rather meaningless at the moment without a powerplant.

The cabin looks decent, and remains original despite the extra space created behind the front seats. On that note, why aren’t any photos included of what we’d presume to be sleeping quarters or extra seating behind the front row passengers? Seems to us that’s one of the more appealing parts of this conversion – a Bus that still provides sleeping quarters in the Westfalia tradition but also makes it possible to tow a Formula Vee racecar or other air-cooled project behind it.

It’s hard to tell from the photos, but it also appears there’s rust in the cab corners and under the windshield seal, so despite all of the fabrication work, rust repair still hasn’t been addressed. We’d also remove the “custom” front bumper and replace with an original chrome unit, and obviously source a VW badge for the nose. Despite the odd manner of selling both a vehicle and an audition spot, this custom Bus could be a one-of-a-kind creation for the next owner without the need to make it past a casting call.

Fast Finds


  1. Dave Member

    Although they are neat and considered iconic, they are very underpowered and with the extra weight…..better get a small block in it…

  2. Brian G.

    Just another truckload of BS to flog yet another $100 pile of crusher fodder. Good luck to any trout dumb enough to bite on this one. Hahahaha Welder Up? More like Dummy Up.

  3. JW

    Not a VW fan but I liked it until I read no drivetrain and rust issues, send it back to Discovery to get it finished then they might sell it.

  4. David Frank David F Member

    Have we missed the true nature of this project? This thing was not created for the TV show. It is owned by an individual who says it could be a contestant on the show, Welderup. This project is nothing like the diesel powered rat rods they build. The seller doesn’t actually state the project has been submitted, much less accepted. It’s not even certain there will be a fourth season. They are filming season 3 now as I understand it. So far, it doesn’t seem like The Discovery Channel has anything to do with this project. This is yet another way a shady seller is trying to sell a dead end project to folks who don’t read and understand fully what is being sold.

    Like 1
    • Bobsmyuncle

      The only misrepresentation I see is on behalf of Barnfinds, including the suggestion that the vehicle has been worked on by the show;

      “It is also said to need further fabrication work to be considered complete (which is odd for a show / entertainer that specializes in selling eye-popping custom products”

      And that money is required by the next owner;

      “… and expects owners to fork over between $75K – $150K for the rebuild”

      The figures suggested are clearly outlined as the budgets for the show’s THIRD SEASON,

      “Budgets for season 3 were $75,000 to $150,000.”

  5. whippeteer

    Not actually tied to Welder UP and Discovery. “Considered for?” Probably all they did was send a form in. Having had old buses, rust issues scare me. Throw in no engine and bad tranny. A stock 1600 couldn’t even move this down the driveway.

    What diesel would they put in? A pancake from a Crown to fit under the bed? NAH! That would make it useable.

  6. Jeffro

    Sounds like this guy is getting ahead of himself. Your buying a chance you might get this on tv. Pass!

  7. Art M.

    The show is called Vegas Rat Rods, the name of the shop is Welder Up. This is in no way Darnell’s work, just someone throwing a name out there to make their in uncompleted project sound a little bit better. Welder Up builds some pretty interesting stuff. I met Darnell at the SEMA show about eight or so years ago, he is a really nice guy and believes in building quality and powerful Rat Rods.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      The show has different names in foreign markets.

  8. healeydays

    I like that show. Welder Up is a creative shop out of Vegas that does some unique vehicles. It would be interesting to see what they could do with this thing, but a couple things the buyer would have to understand are:
    . They love their diesel builds
    . It will cost at a minimum 60-90K to have Welder Up build it
    . I’m guessing you won’t end up with a flatbed in the end, as that’s where the motor would be and not in the rear as the VW was.
    . You will have limited say on what they build, but will have a unique vehicle at the end of the build

    Also, from what is being said in the ad, it’s not a done deal that this one would get built by them for tv.

  9. angliagt

    He might be qualified –
    maybe he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

    Like 1
  10. DrinkinGasoline

    Quote: “I have this VW Bus and no time to work on it!! It is a very unique setup, never seen one like this ”.
    Umm, yea….there’s a reason for that. :(

  11. Van

    Looks like the perfect tow vehicle for a load of cotton candy. As long as the trailer is made of balsa wood and Tonka toys.

  12. Bill McCoskey

    The 2 photographs showing the underside of the flat bed area [both photographs are inverted – or the vehicle is hanging from the rafters!] show what looks like a water cooled upright 4 cylinder carburated OHV engine.

    Also of note: the exhaust stack goes straight up the center of the vehicle, directly behind the cab. Following the exhaust pipe back from there, you will see in those 2 photographs the exhaust pipe passes thru what appears to be a plywood bulkhead, with no insulating material between the pipe and the wood!

  13. Ed Williams

    I don’t know. It looks to me like the height of the rear deck could only provide enough room for a nice Corvair engine and tranny. Too bad there isn’t any photos showing the inside of that area.

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