Primed for Finishing: 1977 VW Westfalia

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This 1977 Volkswagen Westfalia pop-top is a project grade bay window van listed for an ambitious $12,500. While it has had some major work done and is said to run well enough, there’s plenty of rot-through to address and the need for a full paint job. Still, if there’s some flexibility on the price, this could be a straightforward restoration. Find it here on craigslist in Texas, and thanks to Barn Finds reader TCOPPS for the find. 

The desirable interior sleeping/camping components appear to be present and accounted for, although the upholstery looks more lived-in than we’d like to see. The seller notes no evidence of water damage to the cabinets, so that’s a major plus. The wood veneer appears to be delaminating in places, and the cabin presents overall as needing a refresh.

Mechanically, the bus is said to run well. Maintenance-wise, it’s benefitted from several recent projects, including: “…a new fuel tank, fuel sender, tires, battery and complete tune up,” according to the seller. No word on whether its numbers matching, but I’d wager it’s not. Still, the basic tune up jobs have been done, so that’s one less headache for the next owner.

Here’s what’s worrisome: there’s still several areas of the car with actual rot-through, which surprisingly wasn’t addressed during the body’s restoration phase. This area beneath the windshield is one of a few spots where the rust has actually chewed up the metal, which makes me question the high asking price. While finding a good Westy that runs and drives with its interior features included is a bonus, I’m guessing the sale price will be a few bucks less.

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  1. Moe Fitzrodss

    I’m thinkin the primer is hiding a few things. Buyer beware.

    Like 9
  2. Mntbikerxs

    What restoration? All they did was shoot rattle can primer on it. Always prefered the Type 1 powered early bays over these type 4 models. Looks like even the dog is unhappy with the silly price.Trust the dog, he knows something.

    Like 9
  3. Mr. Bond

    Spraying the primer is the esay part Then the real work starts.

    Like 4
  4. Ensign Pulver

    I am shocked every time I see the prices of these. In the very early 80’s to the very early 90’s I owned about 8 between high school-college as transportation..and then just for extra use. Even using the Dollartimes inflation calculator….we are talking about $2k each. Certainly they capture nostalgia (until you drive one daily!) but they are becoming in a way like muscle cars…faned appreciation as vehicles…focused appreciation as investments….at a cattle auction like Barrett Jackson. Or quite possibly I’m missing the cha-ching in my pocket of money I don’t have.

    Like 4
  5. Little_Cars Saul

    Trust that dog! Looks like he was banished to the garage and would prefer standing outside the VW than hopping inside and napping on that foam mattress. Dogs are discerning critters!

    Like 1
  6. DougB

    I feel like these, Vanagons, and especially Eurovan campers would be worth way less if VW (or another van manufacturer) sold an off-the-dealer-lot campervan able to sleep 4, but that you could also drive everyday without looking like a boondocker. This is the main reason I work so hard to keep our ’75 poptop Westy on the road…and when that Type 4 is working well, it;s a dream on long trips. Last year alone we campaigned it all the way up to Maine, and down to the Kennedy Space Center in FL with 2 kids, my wife, and our dog. But would we like to have a campervan with AC? Or one where I don’t have to carry an entire set of FI spares and tools with me all the time? You bet I would. Until they sell the T6 California in the US, or until another vehicle fills the niche, I’ll work like a dog keeping the Westy on the road.

    Like 3
    • Ensign Pulver

      You are right. I still have my 2001 Techno blue Eurovan GLS from new. I’m not making the same mistake and keeping this baby to fund my retirement!!

      Like 0
  7. the one

    Our daughters last boyfriend stuffed a Subaru flat 6 300+ HP into one of these. Oh my..You will not be stuck behind him on a grade..It took about a year to get it sorted out but it really runs hard.

    Like 3
    • DougB

      Oh man, some of the Subi conversions are truly artistic works of art in the engine bay. I’ve even seen a company that’s starting to make an off-the-shelf conversion kit. I had my engine built before the Subi route was very clear, and went with a Raby Camper Special (dyno-tuned FI Type 4, 2.0L)…I have about 50K miles on it now and my most frustrating issue has been with the Mallory Unilite distributor and the optical trigger module inside. Then my bus fried a Pertronix Ignitor, too. I just reinstalled stock points/condenser and the thing purrs like a kitten. Oh well…

      Like 0
      • the one

        Maybe go to a duel point if it is a single?

        Like 0
  8. Kevin

    I like the dog. I wonder how much for just the dog?

    Like 0

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