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Original Paint Samba: 21-Window VW Bus

I actually spent this morning crawling around a Bay Window Westfalia, hoping to figure out how to remove the sink and storagr cubbies inside. I was not successful, but it looked about the same inside as this 21-window Bus – the only difference being the rotten Westy I was in isn’t heading to the auction block anytime soon. This desirable Samba is listed here on eBay in, surprisingly, a no reserve auction with bids over $12K at the moment.

The standards by which a vintage VW Bus is judged as a worthy restoration project depends heavily on its options and/or original configuration. The 21-windows is what pushes this one over the top, but another model might find favor with enthusiasts for being a pop-top camper or a window-delete commercial van. Despite the rust, plenty of collectors will see this as a restorable project with a potential upside.

The seller notes it has rust in all of the typical places, which means the floors are shot. The roof is said to be “…better than most”, but I’m assuming that means the metal around the glass as the canvas sunroof is gone. The desirable rear seats are gone, but the fronts are there as is other equipment that came standard with the Deluxe trim level. The Bus has been off the road since 1979, so interior refreshing is likely pretty low on the list of priorities.

….that being said, it’s hard to look at a primo camping rig like this and not want the interior to get the full Westfalia treatment. That’s what I’m hoping to do with my 1981 Toyota HiAce project, which is inching closer to being ready for its first camping expedition (literally, inching – we’re still months away). It’s rare to see a restorable 21-window Bus listed at no reserve, so I’m sure bidders will be waving their paddles all the way through to the final minute.


  1. Avatar photo Steve R

    With a no reserve auction the market will determine its value. I don’t see the appeal, but not everyone likes the same thing, nor has the means to purchase their dream car. Whoever buys it, I hope they enjoy it..

    Steve R

    Like 10
  2. Avatar photo bull

    Bout read to break in half!

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo Spook

      it did we are restoring it , and have bought 10K + in replacement panels and frame sections

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Dan Madrigal


        Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Fred H

    The only good thing is the glass ))

    Like 9
  4. Avatar photo OhU8one2

    With the popularity of VW buses, let alone the amount of money they are now selling for, I am so surprised that nobody is building brand new bodies for them. This looks like a perfect example that if you had a brand new body and a rusted relic like this, you would be better off. I just can’t see fixing all that rust eaten sheetmetal. But, there are those that will. Especially one such as this.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Frank

      I suppose the tooling might still be found in Mexico or Brazil? Otherwise making new bodies would cost more than the price of a perfectly restored bus.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Kurt Member

        Were these ever made outside of Germany? As expensive as fully restored 21 window vans are, it would seem that the search for the factory machines used to make them was determined to be in vain some years ago.

        Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Stillrunners

    Looks like that all important back seat went missing of late…

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Cattoo

      Probably fell out through the floor; or where one once was.

      Like 8
  6. Avatar photo Mountainwoodie

    Well, live long enough and you can see lots of crazy things, This bus has glass and some trim bits, Unless you want to spend , oh I don’t know, a hundred grand, to fabricate essentially a new bus, it’s toast.

    But the wonderful thing about a capitalist system, is that there is an ass for every seat.

    As I have told the story many time, I sold a P E R F E C T original 67 21 window back in the eighties for six grand…………W I T H a perfect Westsphalia interior I took out of a wrecked camper.

    So Jeff, don’t give up stripping that Westphalia. I did it in a tiny garage :)

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo Bob in Bexley Member

    Yep, it’s all ‘rot’ there.

    Like 2
  8. Avatar photo DAVID6

    CLOSE RATIO 1st, 2nd, bifadiff &
    9 other pre 73 car’s & truck’s
    7 -1 owners, they all need a new home

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Little Cars Member

      @DAVID6, are you making any sales using the comment section of Barn Finds? Why not contact Barn Finds to list your cars for you? Sounds like you have quite a collection. Not sure I’ve seen a 4 carb Vair motor transplanted into a VW bus. Does the thing drive well? Was some sort of engine cover fabricated to cover the longer and wider Vair motor?

      Like 0
  9. Avatar photo TimM

    Lots of work there!!! Can you get body panels for these????

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo newfieldscarnut

      All the panels are available through Gerson . But , yikes !

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Dickie F

        Or contact KlassicFab UK

        Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Wallyum

    We had a large construction project locally that took a bunch of homes. Next to one of the houses stood a blue and white VW bus that looked to be in decent shape. I figured that someone would buy it and restore it because it looked so solid, but on the day they ran a bulldozer through the house, the bus was flattened along with everything else. Disappointing, but this area can be like that.

    Like 3
  11. Avatar photo r s

    Neat if it’s restored but unsafe IMO especially with a load of people.

    I remember some fool posting a letter in a newspaper some years ago, reminiscing about having had one of these, how it had gone 85 mph with a full load of people and gear while getting 30mpg.
    Yeah uh huh!

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Kurt Member

      They neglected to add that it was headed down a 5% grade with a tailwind of 85 mph at the time…

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo Scott

      I had a 72 bus and never felt it was any more unsafe than any other car of that era. Sure, if you rear-ended anything your legs are toast, but the handling is not that bad and the view from the driver seat is terrific. My bus was a 7 passenger and when loaded full of people, it would actually feel better on the highway than it did when empty. I’d cruise at 65 all day long. 70 was difficult to get to and 85 I think was not possible due to poor aerodynamics. Maybe Wallyum was referring to kph?

      Like 1
  12. Avatar photo mainlymuscle

    With the astounding amount of cash that buyers are willing to part with for the 21 window example (think $10k per window),there is value here.It has become common practice to transplant just the window portion on to a clean van of matching size.Kreskin sees this one on it’s way there.

    Like 4
  13. Avatar photo Edward

    Even Sekurit glass can fail, given the right environment and enough time. Don’t count your chickens before you look this item over in person. Way, way, way too much to judge by pictures and written description alone.

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo RoughDiamond

    My guess is if someone tried to begin producing aftermarket van bodies, they would receive a cease and desist letter in short order from VW’s legal counsel.

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo juan

    some people will pay this much out of a toast bus like this just to get the M code plate, then stick it on another fake 21 window bus with a grafted roof and pass it for a legit 21 window and sell it for over 100k. there is more than one real life example of that out there.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Dan Madrigal

    I’m the new owner and it’s ready to start it’s rehab with Air kooled Kustoms

    Like 0

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