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Field Find: 1973 Volkswagen Bus

During the height of the Volkswagen van craze in the late 2010s, it wasn’t uncommon to see some nice examples bring six figures at auction. Prices have dropped off since then, but their popularity hasn’t waned. This one is from 1973 and can be found here on eBay with a current bid of $560. Located in El Dorado, Arkansas, there isn’t a lot of information in the ad. If you’ve been looking for a VW project, this might be an inexpensive place to start. Check it out and see if you agree.

Vintage VW buses have become so popular, you can order completely new 23-window bodies like this one from Classic Steel Body in Sandusky, Ohio. While some purists will think this is blasphemous, it isn’t a bad option for projects that are completely rusted. The price tag for a new body is around $30k, but with the time and money spent doing a bunch of rust repairs, it might be the way to go.

As you can see, the interior is just about as rough as the exterior. I’d venture to bet that this project would be better off being used as a parts donor.

The ad says that there are two engines in the van, one inside and one in the engine compartment. Chances are it was parked due to a catastrophic engine failure. The second engine was either swapped and never fully installed or just placed in the back and never swapped. Either way, the buyer shouldn’t bet on either of them being viable at this point. Overall, this looks like a parts vehicle to me, what do you think? Will someone restore this one?


  1. Charles Atlas

    I prefer my white 1986 Ford Escort 4 speed.

    Like 10
  2. TheOldRanger

    Get out the shovels and finish burying it…

    Like 16
  3. TheOldRanger

    Get out the shovels and continue to bury it !!

    Like 3
  4. Yblocker

    The “height of the Volkswagen van craze in the late 2010s”? Guess I overslept a few years and missed out. The only VW van craze I recall was in 60s, with a big peace sign on the front, and flowers down the side, with occupants to match. I’m not sure if these are biodegradable, but this one looks to be well on it’s way, best to leave it be.

    Like 7
    • Big C

      The older 23 window ones were getting $100k at the rich folk auctions, not too long ago. Thus, the cottage industries taking shape.

      Like 3
  5. mike

    This later model bus isn’t as popular as earlier ones.And this one is in bad shape.

    Like 7
  6. Derek

    $500-odd might not be too bad a hit; two engines, running gear and the rest. You’d want it dug out, but.

    Like 5
  7. Zen

    To think that these go for big money is mystifying to me. A hairless cat looks nicer. They were underpowered, and rotted away the first time they got wet.

    Like 9
  8. Chris Cornetto

    It will make a great chicken coupe, nothing more. Here is another example of and over rated unit as these and the ones prior are well……hippies had them because no one else except the demented and deranged would be caught in one. The neatest one I ever saw had a small block chevy fitted behind the seats, otherwise no. I had one like this very, very briefly. I am glad it was cheap. I came to my senses and let the shredder have it…

    Like 2
  9. Troy

    Add says sold and it actually went cheaper than I thought it would dose this mean the market is finally starting to cool off, only time will tell I guess

    Like 2
  10. Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd

    The negative comments seem unnecessary and without merit. I had a 1965 Bus for many years in the 80s. I drove it across county west to east, and north and south without a single break down. I used it to ferry kayaks to the top of class five rivers and to haul lumber and tools to job sites in rural Arkansas. I consummated a few relationships in the camper bed and cooked pancakes and burritos beneath big walls climbs in Yosemite. It’s still alive, serving as a drivable tool box on a horse ranch in the Ozarks. Yes, I did scape ice off the inside of the windshield in the winter and didn’t dare tailgate anyone. I drove it hard and maintained it thoughtfully. A hippy? Yes. I car guy? Definitely. This offering, I’d not give a twenty for, but those new steel bodies look sweet.

    Like 0
  11. MisterBlue

    Ignite the magnesium cases and keep out of the fumes.

    Like 2
  12. Kirk

    I’d take the the rear torsion tube and swing arms the 2 engines and that bus tranny for 500 all day and build another Baja buggy ! Used to tow these away for nothing for making buggies 20-25 years ago but they’re all gone in the north now. You can pretty much buy everything from a catalogue now as mentioned with the 23 window bus but as also mentioned it’s gonna cost ya

    Like 0
  13. Robert Levins

    South Western HEAT “ KILLS” these air cooled engines. Any extreme heat on these and they “ Catch Fire “. When I lived in Arizona up until 2018 I would drive by one of the most popular wrecking yards in south Phoenix and nothing but VW vans and beatles with “black soot “ coming out of the “air vents “ on the sides. If I bought into a project such as this, and had the money, I would most likely put in a newer “ liquid cooled “ engine from the 1980’s and up. I was kind of surprised at how many VW’s that suffered in the extreme heat because of their air cooled engines. Just a thought – great article.

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Please explain why the heat would cause them to catch on fire. In my experience, fires are usually caused by fuel leaks.

      Like 1

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