East Coast Rust: 1965 VW Bus


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Just once I’d like to see a barn find VW Bus show up that isn’t rusty. But here we are again, this time with an 11-window Bus here on The Samba classifieds that comes with some free rust, courtesy of its four-season location. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Derek for sending this rusty Bus to us, which – truth be told – is far from the worst we’ve seen. The seller is asking a reasonable $5,000 and the VW is located in Pennsylvania. 


So first, where it isn’t rusty: the frame rails. Now, where it is rusty: front valence, doglegs, rockers, floor, front roof and rear hatch areas are all in need of repair, and the Bus does not come with a rear hatch or valence. I don’t think you need to ask if a motor or transmission is included; just check out that big, gaping hole in the engine bay. While the wheels and hubcaps may catch your eye, those will not come with the Bus but the seller will include some wheels mounted on tires that hold air.


The interior is probably the most pleasant part of this Bus’ otherwise rough appearance. The headliner looks to be in decent condition, and the seller says the grey door panels are also presentable. While it’s currently sporting an open-air look, the seller will include the missing side windows. Depending on your intentions with a project like this, you’ll also need to source a new bench seat back for rear passengers, or just keep it open and add an indoor shelving unit if you plan to use this Bus for business purposes.


Before you worry about the interior, though, you’ll need to tackle the rust. Although history tells us more windows generally means a higher price, I feel like all of the early air-cooled Buses are being pushed upwards by collectors. Though it makes do with only 11 windows, this Bus is still a desirable specimen, especially with what some VW fanatics might consider “manageable” rust. I don’t think I could love a brand enough to want to take on this level of corrosion repair, but I’m certainly not one to judge the wiseness of project-car investments. What about you?


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  1. Joe Nose

    After using your favorite double or ‘folding’ LP cover to remove the seeds from your purchase, take (toke?) this bus, fold it along the crease, and jam it back into your record shelf.

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    • Woodie Man

      So true……I’d forgotten! Naturally

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  2. Doug Edwards

    Send it over to Europe. Someone there will jump on it.

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    • skloon

      Oops hit wrong button-

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  3. Frankie

    I’ve seen pretty rusty busses and this one isn’t so bad especially for the price.

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  4. rmward194Member

    Passed two of them in perfect condition yesterday on I-10 headed into Phoenix. Going so slow they almost caused an accident with everyone else doing 80+ MPH. Really cool looking, but these belong on the side roads.

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    • Cassidy

      The best place for VW vams, (if I can use that word) is either in a museum if its restored or on a car trailer. Unrestored, rust buckets belong in the junk yard, first in line to get smased! Sadly, the people who used to drive them and escaped alive are now driving Prius’s in the same manner: thoughtlessly and slow. Thankfully, the cost of replacing all those batteriers will put most of them in the junk yard at an early age!

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  5. Mark S

    What I don’t get is the seller puts these wheels tires and hub caps on the van then he says to us you can’t have these ones, I have an old $h!tty set for you to take with the van. In my mind that is miss leading as h&!!, a little lipstick on a pig. As for the van since you get the van with a big cavity in the back why not put a horizontal six and trans in there out of a corvair preferably with a 4 speed stick. As for the rust, up in Canada we have a rust inhibitor that can be bought from your local NAPA store that is called ( rust mort ) it mainly contains phosphoric acid. What if does is react chemically to oxidation and stops it cold. The rest of the van I’d restore stock, but with that twin carb six back there this little van would be full of surprises.

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  6. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    The seller is asking a reasonable $5,000. Wow! I must be way out of touch. In Pennsylvania this is worth 5K, in Wisconsin it is a gravel pit target. Salvage what you can and then open fire. Sad to say, but our hobby has really taken a turn for the worst. I did get lucky in one years ago, so I do think they are kind of cool, but 5K for what?

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  7. HoA Howard AMember

    I agree with leiniedude. Whilst snowmobiling in da’ northwoods of Wis., which generally takes you “off the beaten path”, one comes across this stuff all the time with deer slug holes in them.( didn’t get a deer, so I’m gonna shoot something, dammit) Now these are a hot item. I’m staying near Kingston, NY for a spell, and on the Catskills CL, someone had a 28(?) window bus, looked just like this ( except for the extra windows, of course) and they were asking $44g’s. Sorry, I just don’t get it. Quick story. While visiting my daughter in L.A., a neighbor in her apt. building had a really nice bus. One of the nicest I’ve seen. It was powder blue, lowered a bit, nice wheels, and was a super nice guy. I said “nice bus”, he said, “thanks, but apparently the judges didn’t think so”. He had just gotten back from a VW bus show in Huntington Beach, and the judges claimed his bus was TOO clean. 1st place went to a bus similar in condition ( only running) to this. Go figure.

    Like 0

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