OG VW P/U: 1960 Volkswagen Single-Cab Pickup

Yesterday we saw a 1969 VW Beetle that had been converted into a kooky, fun pickup truck, but of course there have been factory-built Volkswagen trucks all along, too, including the Golf-based Caddy in the ’80s and continuing right up to today’s not-for-U.S.-sale Amarok. The granddaddy of them all is the Transporter pickup, built in various cab and bed configurations from 1952 all the way through to the current (also for non-American eyes only) T6 generation. If you’re noticing a trend—that these trucks have rarely been seen on our shores—you can thank President Johnson, the UAW, and the infamous “Chicken Tax” of 1964, still in place today, that levies a 25% tariff on imported trucks. Here’s a pre-Chicken Tax survivor if your VW truck tastes run more to factory originals, a running but resto-ready 1960 single-cab Transporter pickup; you can find it on craigslist in Escondido, California, with a firm $17,500 asking price (archived ad).

This pickup is said to have been stationary in a garage for a decade or more, but it is now running (with a rebuilt carburetor and a fresh gas tank, and on new tires), and the seller welcomes test drives. Hey, it made it to Encinitas, about a half-hour’s drive—at least in something with only 36 horsepower—from Escondido, for that first photo up there!

A new gasket set and clutch rebuild kit are included in the sale. Of course, if I had big bucks to spend—and split-windshield Transporters are big bucks vehicles these days, no two ways about it—I might just kick this truck directly from the seller up the road to Zelectric Motors for a full restoration and conversion to electric power. But it seems like there are good bones here if you want to keep things original, too.

Of more concern is the rust. And the rust, and the rust, and the rust—and, oh, did I mention the rust? Like snow, we Californians are weenies about rust; we’re just not that used to it. The seller mentions having gotten a reasonable estimate for the metal repairs, which can be passed along to a buyer, information well worth having.

The original Dove Blue paint, badly faded on the exterior, shows nicely in the cabin. The original bench seat is pretty rough, but materials to completely redo it are included in the sale. In fact, lots of valuable new parts are included, making the price more reasonable than it might initially seem. There’s a lot to be done on this OG VW truck, but also a lot here to work with. What would you do with it?

Fast Finds


  1. Rx7turboII

    I think the chicken tax expires this next year if I remember right….

  2. Howard A Member

    Cool. There’s a huge following for these ( and buses) in S. Cal. This, to me, was the only vintage VW that made any sense. The bus was just too heavy, and limited access and I bet these scooted around pretty well. ( as long as you didn’t fill the back full of gravel) Not very popular, especially in the midwest. Not sure why, it’s a great vehicle. It’s even got the heater hoses intact. I’ve never seen that “oil cap” extension and hose, is that some California emissions deal? Very cool truck, I’d love to have it. Just ask Mike Wolfe. http://pics.imcdb.org/0is832/1pick5d.8508.jpg

    • 63Comet

      The Midwest has cold winters and large farms, with trucks that need a better hauling capacity. I drove a Beetle as my cheap college transportation, so I’m hardly against air cooled VWs but compared to the Ford trucks we had growing up, these VW trucks are truck-lite. They look cool to some and have a certain practicality but you aren’t going to haul a large flat bed of bales with these.

      • Harvey Peever

        Had a 56 bug with no heater at all up here in western Canada during my high school days. Always started. Never got stuck. Was colder inside than outside.

    • Rabbit

      That’s almost certainly a later engine, fan shroud’s wrong for a 36, & I’ve never seen that filler setup either. Could very well be a Cali model, probably a 1300 or 1500. Odd that they converted it to an alternator, but left it a single-port, tho. If I were going with a later engine, I’d go a lot further that that, but keep the original handy.

      • Moxman

        You’re absolutely right. It’s either a 40HP or a 1500 single port. By now, it’s probably got 1600 cylinders on it. I also noticed that the distributor is not the original either. It’s one of the Bosch “009” with a full-mechanical advance mechanism. The original had a vacuum advance, as well. These are really cool when they’re restored; but it takes a ton-o-dough to get them right.

    • Moxman

      That crankcase vent setup is actually a very nice piece that has been used by off-road racers for years. The tube connects to the air cleaner, or it can be set up to connect to a box that also vents the valve covers too. It figures that the picture would be shot right below the Encinitas sign. Lots of surfers and hippie types in Encinitas. It’s a beach town, just north of San Diego, and they love their Volkswagens.

      • Mountainwoodie

        Yes but not for 17 grand for a Transporter……….. that has mid nineties plates leaving one to wonder where it came from. Though sitting by the water it could rust like this. Encinitas also hosts the biggest Woodie gathering on the planet the third weekend of this month! Sat the 23 of Sept Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. Come on out BF’ers!


        …….there will be hippie chicks.though much older by now :)

      • Rabbit

        Actually, if the guy knows Type 2’s, the distributor is an 050. These retard #3 cylinder, which tend to run too hot in a bus.

  3. JimmyJ

    I read the craigslist ad and the guy sounds like someone I wouldn’t want to deal with.
    If u want 17500 so bad don’t threaten to hang up on an offer. Maybe you could ask 20000 and let someone offer 17500 then seller gets his price and buyer feels he didnt pay full retail.
    When i hear FIRM i move along

    • Chase

      Hey Folks, seller here. JimmyJ, I totally understand the moving along with the firm asking price if that’s not what you’d like to spend. I just got frustrated with the tons of offers and going back and forth to make deals. I think the price is fair, and it will likely move. If not, I’m happy to keep it.

      Reference hanging up, I mentioned that in terms of offers from businesses trying to make money off me by helping sell it. Not offers less than my asking.

      Hope that clarifies a bit! I’m not rude and would never hang up on a fellow car aficionado.

      If I can answer any questions, please let me know.

  4. Timmie

    Looks like its time to drag my ole 1960 single cab out of the barn and put it on the market? I watched the prices sky rocket on them in the last few years. They are neat trucks but slow….brutal ride…hot in the summer. I bought mine in 1998 for $1200. I assume that will pay for the restoration of my bugeye healey!

  5. Jeffro

    I’ve had vw engines with that oil extention. I believe that EMPI sells them. Dress up item.

    • Alan

      Oil extension is used when you upgrade to alternator from generators; allows more for oil fill

  6. Dave Wright

    These were commonly used by gardeners that hauled a few light mowers and equipment around neighborhoods. Worked fine for that but if used on American highways they eat engines…sometimes multiple per year. I made a lot of money fixing them.

  7. Mark

    No jimmy, he will hang up on people trying to help him sell his bus, we get them in Connecticut too, I hang up on them daily, not the buyers.

  8. Oldog4tz Member

    RUST! You call that rust? Transporters aren’t rusty until they have plywood floors.

  9. Edward

    Smoking rope the seller is! While the chassis may be restorable, the engine is not a stale-air 36hp W/governor as released. The tranny was a split case non-synchro into low. Buses were supplied with 3 different transfer cases to gear the vehicle to intended usage. (highway-hauling heavy loads-farming) Don’t show me a daily driver with a 1600 engine. Show me the rare stuff that’s hard/expensive to find. Horn button? Those bumpers, while VW, were not for this year.

  10. TBAU Member

    That plastic fuel filter above the distributor is going to end in flames ( and tears).

  11. John H from CT

    One of these in beautiful condition just sold today for $25.5K on the BaT auction site. In this condition, I think the one shown here is about $10K too high.

  12. Tyler

    This is one of the things I love about Barn Finds! I had no idea these even existed. Ironically, I saw one for the first time a few weeks ago, under a car port a few miles from my house. After passing it, I backed up to take a better look as I had never seen one before. I just figured someone had cut down a van. Knowing what it is, I think I need to go look at it closer.

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