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Rusty Bus: 1966 VW Samba 21 Window

1966 VW Samba Bus

In the world of Microbuses, none are more desired by collectors than the VW Samba. The Samba or Deluxe Microbus, was a special edition designed for touring scenic mountain roads. Early ones had 23 windows, but later models came with just 21. These early models are the most sought after, but even the 21 window models are fetching top dollar. When we saw this 1966 Samba 21 Window project that Fred W found here on eBay, we couldn’t believe how high bidding had already gotten. That left us wondering why these could be worth so much money? Our thanks to Fred W for sharing his find with us!

VW Samba Barndoors

There are an infinite number of factors that can impact the value of a car ranging from styling, prestige, performance, or nostalgia. We are going to guess that nostalgia has the most to do with the climbing value of the Samba. The VW Bus is an icon of the ’60s and ’70s. Those who owned or dreamt of owning one back when they were young, now have the means to own a piece of their youth and it seems many are willing to spare no expense to reminisce.

VW Samba Engine Bay

It’s hard to fathom spending this kind of money for a car that lacks a motor, most of its interior, and is extremely rusty. We love the Samba as much as the next guy, but we are struggling to see how it can be worth so much. Restored models have sky rocketed in value, so we are sure someone will snatch it up and perform a complete restoration. While we prefer the looks of the Samba over the standard Bus, we aren’t sure the added trim and visibility is worth extra money.

VW Deluxe Microbus

A while back a 23 Window Samba sold for over six figures and while that was an unusually high price, we won’t be surprised if their values keep climbing. Perhaps this one is a great buy for someone that just has to have a Samba. We would struggle spending that kind of money on such a rusty bus, but to each their own! Do you think all those windows make it worth dropping more on a Samba or would you rather save your money and spend it on one of the cheaper variations of the Type 2?


  1. Josh

    OK. Somebody needs to start cranking out repro bodies for these things because this is insane.

    Like 1
    • MStiggar

      They have folks converting them over with repo parts on newer models.

      These are becoming the c2 split window priced version or mopar 💰💰💰💰💰💰 price vehicles

      Crazy 😜 cars for sale😏

  2. paul

    These are the same folks,( to put it very politely ) that are paying absurd #’s for P 356’s that are equally rusted junk. & yes the value keep going up for both, doesn’t mean those people have brains. But hay some people just have them to look at them & never drive them, another thing I could never understand.

    • Don Andreina

      Looks like someone is paying for 21 pieces of intact glass and a VIN plate. Like the Aussie Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III, the price is way beyond the intrinsic value and the value of a comparable other make. These look good, but it seems that every successful business person must have owned one of these in their younger days and wants to relive the moment.

    • paul

      Hay who ever gave me a thumbs down by all means bid yourself into unconsious, just don’t come crying to me when you haul it off to your local resto guy & he laughs at you & says nothing here to use!!!

      • Chris

        As I said to my dad, anyone tries to haul this thing anywhere there’s just going to be a trail of rust dust and crumbs left on the freeway behind them!

    • Bill

      Remember, the values kept going up and up for beanie babies, until they didn’t.

  3. Derek

    There are people remanufacturing practically every single piece of sheet-metal for these old Samba’s now, so even if you simply get the VIN plate and enough of the frame to start with you have the potential to resell for six digits. At this point even the more basic kombi’s and commercial panel trucks and single/double cabs are fetching amazingly high prices.
    The original disposable nature of these inexpensive vehicles have led to their scarcity now. In the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s these were hacked, chopped, crashed, crushed and left to rot. Now the demand has returned, but the supply is extremely limited.

    • Horse Radish

      I got a rust free, solid single cab sitting, buried, deep in my 1 acre yard.
      A handful of people are hounding me for that one,
      THAT’s HOW you can tell the values/asking has gone up….

      • Brian

        I’ll give you $60,000.00 for it!

        Just kidding!

  4. Brian

    I get that these are rare, but really? 25 grand for this? 100 plus grand at auction for a restored version? Can you say market correction! This was made for hauling kids to school 50 years ago and now someone is prepared to dump a 100 grand into buying and restoring it. People either have too much credit or money but are running low on sense!

    • Horse Radish

      It’s the same crowd that are willing to pay $150-200k for a DeLux-winnebago Diesel pusher RV.
      People with fat retirement accounts and having squirreled away money for decades and now realize, they got more than they can spend including private practice cardiologists…and quadruple bypasses.

      • Brian

        Outside of hitting the numbers, I will never have this problem! Even if I did, I could never bring myself to blow 25 grand on a junkyard refugee like this…

  5. Thomas Spencer

    There is a video or two on the old interwebs of people removing rusted VW Vans & Transporters off of mountains and out of swamps, these are still desirable vehicles, and regardless of their condition, there’s always going to be someone who says, “I can fix all of that and make it cool again”. That’s what is great about old cars in general. There’s something for everyone’s tastes (mine happen to run to older MOPAR products), and there’s always a car out there that can be made cool again.

  6. MrSarcasm

    VIN Swap?

  7. Barry Thomas

    The seller needs to get down on their knees and thank Barrett-Jackson’s auction for raising the value of these old VW “buses”. Up until two or three years ago, this one’s destiny was probably to rot quietly away.
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

  8. Sean Smith

    That’s a lot of money for a VIN# !

    • Connor

      Or some yard art!

    • St. Ramone de V8

      Yep, that’s all you can really expect here. A VIN, and some parts. Not many. For 20 grand! Unreal.

  9. Dolphin Member

    Perfect early Sambas sell at places like B-J for about $120K, tops, but this isn’t one of those. Being a ’66 it’s later than the big-$$$ Sambas, and altho it has the roof windows it doesn’t have the neat trim on the side of the body. And we haven’t even gotten to the missing parts, like the engine.

    MAYBE around $20K for one with needs, but not for one like this with rust holes everywhere, especially around the windows and body edges. The skill and time needed to fix those areas will far exceed what most people can muster. And that’s assuming that the metal is thick enough at the edges to be worked, which it doesn’t appear to be.

    There’s already been a truly remarkable bid of $75K retracted, which looks like pre-buyer’s remorse. That could be the best move anyone makes in this auction.

    • Horse Radish

      probably meant to enter $7,500 and hit the zero too often in a crazed panic…

    • Dolphin Member

      The $75K bidder didn’t bid again. The thought that he might actually win it near that price probably scared him to death.

    • Tara

      Flat four vw engines are a dime a dozen!

  10. sunbeamdon

    I had a memorable trip in one of these from Spokane to Seattle some number of years ago; the bad news – the beer was gone before we got to Snoqualmie Pass – some of which was passed onto the side of I-90. The good news – mmm that escapes me, oh, now I remember it was getting my feet on the ground after more than six hours on the road! (I’ve made that trip in 2hrs 57min – no tickets – we won the “race” that time)

  11. Wayne

    I had no idea there was a Lambrecht Volkswagon!

  12. Chris

    That thing is a tetanus hazard.

  13. Chris

    I would love to see this thing up for auction at Barrett Jackson. As is.

    • Horse Radish

      You might just get your wish.
      I don’t see why it would NOT.

      • Chris

        I don’t recall ever seeing anything not at least near mint quality go through Barrett Jackson

  14. sunbeamdon

    At least the typical magnetic crowd would not be impacted by a ton and a half of metal!

  15. Jim-Bob

    Hmm… $20k (and rising) for a slow (when new), unsafe, ill-handling pile of rust? I think I’ll pass. I have only driven one type 2 (a 1972 Westy) and that was enough. I found it terrifying to sit so close to the front of the vehicle, especially a vehicle with the driving dynamics of a VW Bus! And is it just me, or is it a bit ironic that rich people now spend north of $100k for a hippie bus that represented a rejection of the pursuit of material wealth in exchange for free love, lots of drugs and a chance to follow the Graetful Dead-a lifestyle they themselves eschewed?

    On the plus side, it looks like this one still has the reduction boxes at the wheels.

    • Horse Radish

      I drove a ’70 Bus in the late eighties, which was kind of fun,
      —warning: graphic content —
      I always remember when we lived in Rio (sixties) and a bus like this was involved in a head on collision in front of the high rise building we lived in (I was 6 or 7).
      Looking down on the scene wasn’t pretty with the driver’s leg lying on the pavement….for quite some time…..

  16. Horse Radish

    The PANIC is setting in.
    The seller may not be doing himself by saying THAT the high bidder WILL WIN this vehicle.. ……. and again and again and again….
    These are kind of neat, but for that money I would want a REAL Panorama Bus, like the Mercedes 319…….
    oh, wait, ………I have that……
    that gives me a whole different perspective, I don’t need this $19k ++ worth project.

  17. rancho bella

    Horse Radish…………has a 319 ?…………..dang. I knew you were hip but that is top shelf brother. The perfect Lotus hauler and sleeper

    • Horse Radish

      who said O N E ???

  18. fred w

    I’m of the same demographic that pays top dollar for these and indeed have fond memories of riding across the US in the back of one with several other college students (it was a church group, so no haze in the air). I remember the top speed being around 50mph, and it took about an hour to get there.

    That being said, I wouldn’t give 50 bucks for this one.

    • Brian

      Your probably right, but I gotta tell you, I’ve ridden many a mile in a late sixties “Westfella” and I wouldn’t give you 25 cents to relive the experiences! Hot (or cold, depending on the season), smelly trips with no a/c or poor heat- always glad to get there – even if there was school!

    • Jim-Bob

      My dad had a 1966 Samba when I was but a wee lad (bought it for $25 and sold it for $500) and later had a 1971 bay window bus. I have memories of them, but the most profound is that of the lug nuts on the 71’s rear wheel coming off on a twisty mountain road on the way to a church picnic. The only thing holding it on was the low hanging wheel arch that kept it from falling off. I was the one who noticed the burning rubber smell and got my dad to stop. Had I not, we would have tumbled down a ravine. Needless to say, he double checked all of the wheels after that.

  19. Tricky Dickie Member

    I have had four Porsches in my driving career so far. A 1955 Super Speedster, a 1964 C Coupe, a 1967 912 and a 1989 911 Targa Turbo. I have also been a member of Porsche Club of America for 35 years. I CANNOT understand the current and ever escalating prices for just about ALL Porsches. A recent auction saw a 1955 Speedster go for $325,000. That is insane. I have no Porsche right now, and cant even think of affording one. Wish I had held on to my last one!

    • paul

      Why would someone buy a needs work 356 for say 100,000 g, when you can easily find a new 911 for the same $’s, I just can’t figure it.

  20. Smitty

    It’s not B-J that has pushed the price up. They’ve gone up around the world. This will probably end up outside of the US.

  21. ted

    HMMM just wondering will parts from a regular VW bus fit the Samba?

  22. Scott Allison

    Where are the hubcaps???
    I am withdrawing my bid for 75k!!!!

    Anyone notice that the shift pattern is on the roof ? Is that so you can shift it when it flips over? :)

  23. Chris Garton

    Bid retraction from 19k to 12k? People actually looking at the pictures now?

    • Brian

      Somebody sobered up!

  24. Chris

    Wow, seller doesn’t even offer a warranty according to the auction page. Buyer beware!!

  25. nick

    Cheaper sambas in better knick can be gotten. This seems exceptionally expensive for what it is. The earlier models, especially the pre 1955 sambas have been changing hands for six figures for quite a while now.

    The front panel on this has also been changed for an earlier one which in my books makes this worth even less.

    • Richard V

      Yes, it does seem as if the turn signal lamps are incorrect for the year.

  26. Victor Gomes

    Folks, here in Brazil we find abandoned in the streets lots of these VW Sambas, called here by the name “Kombi.”

    They cost less than US$ 3000,00 and pieces are no problem, because we have some specialized stores.

  27. jim s

    the bid history is very interesting on this one. having put a lot of miles on a 65 back in the 60’s and 70’s i have little interest in driving them now. but a lot of people must love them as they bring a lot of money. i still see them them at VW shows and smile, but that is it ,no want/lust.

  28. Nova

    With all the Bid retractions and cancellations, I challenge the genuine validity/integrity of the majority of the remaining bids!

    …unless Spricoli’s night job @ the Kwiki Mart has really paid off…Dude

  29. Brian

    If I could get $12,000 for something like this, I wouldn’t feel too cheated!

    • Jimmy

      Shill bidding- rife on ebay!

  30. Neil

    Just seen this post and noticed it doesn’t quite add up. Being a 21-window would mean it would have the large rear-window, which it does. But at the front the indicators would be the large round ones. This has bullet indicators (up to 1962), thus should have a small rear-window and therefore 23-windows…

  31. Richard VIt

    It appears that the front panel may have been replaced, perhaps with earlier parts.

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