Perfect Panel Project: 1959 Volkswagen Bus

1959 Volkswagen Panel

This 1959 Volkswagen panel bus has a little bit of rust and will need a tow because it has been parked for a number of years and is not running. At the time of writing, the bid price is $12,988, with the reserve not yet met. You can take this van home from Dos Palos, California. A VIN is listed, the title is claimed to be clear, and no miles are mentioned. You can find it here on eBay.

1959 Volkswagen Panel

The four-cylinder engine does turn but doesn’t start. The listing claims the gearbox functions. As you can see in the photo of the engine, all the parts appear to be there. Most of the van seems to be solid but the seller says that the battery side corner of the van is the most decayed. A few photos of the underside of the van show that there is surface rust but there doesn’t appear to be any holes in it.

1959 Volkswagen Panel

Inside there is some surface rust but just like the frame, there don’t appear to be any holes. A patch panel seems to be placed near the left rear tire. The floor pans in the rear look solid. Up in the driver’s portion of the van, the dashboard is in good shape and the floors are just a little more rusted. The exterior of the van is quite solid as well. There are a few rust spots but nothing that is alarming.

1959 Volkswagen Panel

These vans are quite popular in the diecast world. They tend to have good wheels and are solid pieces of metal to really showcase one’s abilities to make customs. That popularity transfers into real life as well. This one is in good condition and could really showcase your abilities in customizing a full-size vehicle. Hopefully, the price does not get too out of hand, but at the moment, it seems to be worthwhile.


  1. Keith

    Well if this van had 23 windows it would be worth the BIG BUCKS!!!! Hurry, someone get me some used VW glass, a SawZaw, and Bondo!

    Like 7
  2. Keith

    Better yet someone give me a Porsches 356 VIN number plate and I’ll take from there……LOL!

    Like 5
  3. Louis Q Phan

    Sounds like a good retro project! Clean up all the rusts, new carpeting, seat covers rebuild/install a larger engine with electric cooling fan and put on some custom paint/mural on the out side and a killer stereo/lighting and presto a LOVE VAN! Too bad I don’t have the time to take on this project!

    Like 2
  4. Marshall

    Dang! I was hoping that was a windowless! That is, the rear liftgate having no window at all, which was apparently a very rare option for commercial type 2s. And even if it did, one would need to look at the VIN plate to certify if that particular vehicle had it originally installed.

    In 1974, I saw ONE that was unwrecked in a local junkyard. I asked them how much they want for the whole thing. They said $400. If I remember right, it was full of surface rust from having been in a fire. But I don’t remember seeing any melt damage on it. I have never seen any “windowless” type 2s since!

    Like 2
    • CanuckCarGuy

      It looks like the paint was touched up with a brush or a roller…or both. Wonder what’s up with that?

  5. TimM

    It does seem weird seeing one with no windows!! Never remember seeing these on any construction site with tools and men climbing out of them!!

  6. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Should have kept the bus like this my uncle gave me in this like condition but in the factory medium blue color…..shouldof….

  7. Seth Johns

    I had one just like it in 1972 that sounded like a B29 bomber from inside. Blew up the engine climbing a hill in 2nd gear. Traded it in for a used Toyota Crown wagon with mechanical brakes.

    Both vehicles truly sucked, but were what I could afford then.

    Never missed the Toyota but if I could I would happily take the van back.

    Wonder why?

  8. Earl

    ‘59 still ha a hand crank starter. So cool. My friend had one. Top speed 55 on the flat. If you have time. Heat-? Nope.

  9. TimM

    It does seem weird seeing one with no windows!! Never remember seeing these on any construction sites or even as delivery vehicles!! There must not be very many like this!!

  10. ninja3000

    A ’59 panel van was the very first vehicle I ever owned, purchased from a college friend (for $150) in Spring 1974. It was not this color, however.

    Picture it: A deep dark blue, definitely not factory — and splattered with gold/yellow stars and planets and smiley suns. A classic hippie van.

    And also this: I had hair down below my shoulders at the time. But amazingly never got pulled over at all during Watergate Summer, driving it from Philly to Washington and then all around the area — not that you could break any speed laws in it.

    Fired up no problem every time, never stalled, and I never had to do any work to it. Ran like a champ, and topped out at about 50 mph. The stick shift felt like… a stick. Hauled rock band gear and landscaping equipment for a few months, then unloaded it — not without regrets, although I turned around and picked up a ’68 Lotus Cortina for $500 the next week.

    Loved both of those rides.

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