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Mouse Machine: 1964 Volkswagen Microbus


Projects like this ’64 Microbus are the ones that send my mind into overdrive. Credit the seller for knowing a fair amount about its history, from identifying a dealer it was sold at in California to the port it arrived in when new. I’m sure there’s an online resource for all of this information, but at least he tracked it down. More curious, however, is how this Pearl White over Mouse Gray van ended up in the woods of the Arkansas Ozarks since 1977. The question now is whether there’s enough of a Bus left to start the next chapter in its history. Find out more here on eBay, where this project is listed with a Buy-it-Now price of $2,250. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jim S. for spotting it!


Vintage Volkswagen Buses aren’t entirely different from their sportier sibling, the Porsche 356. I’m not speaking of any sort of shared parts or engineering; rather, I’m thinking of how many I have seen in the past few years pulled from a swamp or a shed or even completely submerged and put on eBay for a few thousand dollars. What’s even more surprising is how so many of these vehicles end up finding a home, if for no other reason than to salvage what useable parts are left or to build something new with a genuine VIN plate attached. I can’t speak for the latter, but I do understand the former: with a new project in my life, I wouldn’t pass up the chance to pick up a rolling parts pile for cheap.


So, where do you begin with this once-abandoned Bus? It’s lacking an engine, transmission and interior, and the seller isn’t able to make it a roller for easy transport. While he will install wheels and tires on the front axle, it’s still going to be a feat to get this home if you live any measurable distance away. But road trips are half the fun when retrieving a project, so maybe the next owner will make the most of it. It is encouraging to see some of the paint come back in the seller’s quick attempt at buffing, and Mouse Gray is an extremely handsome color when paired with Pearl White. I can easily imagine this Bus on some whitewall tires and chrome hubcaps – it must have been striking when new!


Fortunately for the next owner, resources abound for bringing this Microbus back to life. You can even make use of the resources provided by Volkswagen’s own Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers division, which specializes in restoring these iconic workhorses that now spend more time on the show circuit than anywhere else. According to news articles profiling the shop’s introduction, the “Bulli” workshop team will tackle any project the owner wishes. Of course, being based in Hannover, Germany means transport issues will really become an issue if this former woodland creature doesn’t gain some wheels at the rear beforehand. So tell us – is this one worth bringing back to life via a big-dollar restoration, or is it destined to pillaged for parts for another project?


  1. Peter

    I’m not knowledgeable about VW’s in general, and less so the Microbuses, but I do have more than a passing interest in VW Beetles, as I am a fan of sand rails and rail buggies. (Haven’t owned one yet, but friends built theirs, and I’ve wanted one ever since).

    So…from that limited “knowledge base,” I have to say I think that, in the absence of engine/transaxle, rear suspension, interior, and the general decrepitude, this seller’s asking price is about $2,000. And even then, I don’t really see what one is getting, even if it were for only $500.- $800. JMO.

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  2. Dolphin Member

    Auction ended by the seller because it’s NLA.
    The highest bid that was cancelled was $790.

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  3. Tirefriar

    Looks like the mArket has spoken

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  4. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Perfect color combination ! I’d be tempted to sleep in it just to catch its vibe !

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  5. jimmy

    bus prices are still rising could be restored owner probably knows a good bit about buses since he has a pretty cool spilt window bus in the background in his garage

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  6. tom999p

    Funny, there are four of those vw’s dumped in the gulley beyond the railroad tracks in my town, I didn’t know they could be worth that much in such poor condition…They’re right next to a Pontiac Pheonix convertible, a bug, and a Simca Aronde…..

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  7. Rancho Bella

    Restored buses bring stupid money, tom999p, get the buses and flip em’. If you are in the U.S they will sell in a heartbeat

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    • Jeff Lavery Staff

      No kidding! Go grab ’em, Tom! Without breaking any laws, of course. ;-)

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      • RickyM

        Time for the gulley to be cleaned up by a kind citizen??!! :-) Go Tom.

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  8. Chris A.

    Looks like the van from the “Zits” comic strip. My aunt and uncle had one and loved it. Winters weren’t much fun though.

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  9. david

    VW’s. Bugs and buses. I have driven all of them and owned a bus. As cheap transportation they are great. As anything else, I think they are p.o.s. The only VW I ever half liked was the Ghia. Nice fun car. But they all had crappy transmissions and no power. God help you if you were in an accident in one. Major injuries or death for sure. The bus I owned blew the motor because it was so poorly designed that the #3 cylinder did not receive proper cooling and would over heat and drop a valve. That is why so many buses would have a oil radiator tacked on to the outside. If you didn’t add the oil cooler, the way under powered bus’s engine would blow. If you lived in a cold climate, it took for ever and sometimes never to get any heat in the cabin. I don’t care if some nut case wants to spend $100K on some 50 window bus, that does not change the fact for me that they are junk.

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    • grant

      All the old veedubs burned #3 eventually. Key is to keep the valves adjusted.

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  10. bob

    Call Mike and Frank from American pickers. Mike loves these old rust buckets.
    I can hear him now saying…..NoooWaaay !

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  11. NEA Dub Hunter

    Thanks for the kind write up on the Bus I found. The bus actually sold via a Facebook post and is headed back to California. There is a lot of historical information available via http://www.thesamba.com and http://www.vwmplate.com. there is a “build” plate attached to every VW Bus. you can enter the M codes and it will tell you the build date, original colors and options and to which delivery port it was shipped to. According to the buyer, it will be put back on the road again sporting its original paint. The Bus still had its California Blue plates attached with a last registered date of 1977 and only showing 79k on the clock. and Yes I do have a 65 Bus in the garage. I rescued 10 VW’s last year including 3 Split Buses, a 60, 66 and a 67 21 window. again, thanks for the interest in my hobby and the nice words. I have attached a photo of the 21 window found last year
    Jeff D. aka NEA Dubhunter
    you can follow me on Instagram or twitter for more finds

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  12. DT

    My friend would have this thing beautiful in about a month.in that amount of time he would have all the rust removed,dents gone,painted. Different transaxel,rebuilt motor,all new interior parts. And selling it for big money….saw him do it a number of times.

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  13. duffy

    Sell it to the highest bidder for parts.

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  14. St. Ramone de V8

    One of my customers ( I install car lifts ) is into these things and Porshe 356’s. He paid 3 grand for a rusted hulk of a drop-side van. He said he used to get stuff like this for free, but it’s still worthwhile rescuing the rusted messes as long as they had a title. He seems to know what he’s doing, but I can’t see repairing so much rot as being viable. If he didn’t grab that drop side, someone else would have. The interest in these things is, I think, from wealthy ex-hippies who can afford to be upside down on the money. They are cool, but prices are just nuts!

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  15. cliffyc

    If you can get it on youtube in the US, try and find a UK tv show called “George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces” ,season 4 -episode 5. A couple on there build a fantastic VW camper which took my breath away. They built it to show quality and the attention to detail is beyond words!. Will try to get the link….. . I live in Cumbria in the UK and a neighbour has a dropped VW Microbus,left hand drive on California plates,looks a little “rat rod” at present,if I had time/space/money I’d love to have it…. . cliffyc

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