Samba Survivor! 1965 Volkswagen 21-Window Bus

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UPDATE: The seller has dropped their asking price here on eBay by $10,000 dollars!

FROM 1/3/19: When these desirable 21-window VW Buses pop up, they rarely come from long-term ownership, just needing a quick mechanical refresh. However, this example is exactly that, having been with the same owner since 1983 but in need of some updates to address engine knock and a missing canvas roof. The high state of preservation and awesome foundation to start from should all but guarantee a high sale price. Find the VW here on eBay with a $68,500 Buy-It-Now. 

The gradual fading of the paint is almost beautiful in its state of decline, and the seller is correct that this Bus should simply be mechanically restored with the cosmetics left alone. No information is offered on the status of the roof, which I assume to be missing. What’s not missing, however, is the glass in each of those 21 windows, and the seller claims each opening retains OEM pieces. Oddly, the weathering on the roof was not caused by total outdoor exposure as the VW was stored under a carport.

The seller recommends restoring the interior, which I would allow given these Sambas really tend to pop when the gruff exterior finish is paired with a period-correct and completely fresh cabin. Plus, if you’re not beholden to originality, it could be an opportunity to swap in some components from a pop-top, like a small cooking stove and camp sink if desired. But really, if you want to maximize value, this 21-window Bus should be put back to factory-correct configuration inside.

The missing interior is a curiosity, and I’ve chatted with enough air-cooled fanatics to know that the rear bench seat is a hot commodity. The seller doesn’t explain what happened to the interior, but it’s clear to see rust is minimal and the floors are largely solid. With its high state of preservation and desirable 21-window configuration, there’s little doubt this example will see the asking price (or very close to it), especially considering that minimal sorting will push the value higher in a hurry.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Keith

    Here we go again, another clapped out rusted overpriced VW van just like the overpriced clapped out Porches and Mopars. I don’t get it?

    Like 47
    • cyclemikey

      You’re right. You don’t get it.

      There is no *inherent* value in any old car. A modern car will beat it hands down in every respect. The old cars that have high value are the ones that people WANT, regardless of their collective reason for wanting one. Like this V-dub..

      That’s called ‘the market’, and it operates independently of what you, personally, consider desirable. Old cars are not fungible commodities. Some models are valuable, some are not, and utility has little to do with it. The market is driven by demand. This “clapped out rusted” (?) VW van will bring the money because it’s in high demand from collectors.

      That won’t change no matter how many grumpy old men shake their heads and scowl and proclaim that everyone else is stupid.

      Like 99
      • Keith

        Hey Cyclemikey, ease up bro, breathe in….breathe out…… was just my opinion……LOL!

        Like 49
      • misterlouMember

        Now I know what fungible means.

        Like 7
      • Francisco

        Fungible = being like fungus

        Like 1
      • Nick P

        Cyclemikey, while I’m normally the one singing your song because I agree with you wholeheartedly, people need to check Mecum auction results from Kissimmee Florida a few weeks back. More than a few of these went through, in better shape, for same or less money.

        Like 7
    • Larry Cottingham

      Your right…Certain fokes have more money and time on hand than good ….

      Like 2
    • audifan

      Another knowledge comment from someone who doesn’t even know how to spell the name of the car he is ranting about correctly. It’s PORSCHE not Porche. That would be something attached to your house, but still misspelled.

      Like 8
    • stillrunners

      Butt Keith – you left out the clapped out Chevies and Ford’s…

      Like 0
    • mark houseman

      You left the third over priced clapped out vehicle………the early Bronco’s. The prices that these three vehicles (Porches, window VW vans, and Bronco) are bringing are in sane. And they’re NOT even cool looking rides…..

      Like 0
  2. Evan

    I don’t get it either, but I don’t think it’s (too) overpriced for the market. Any item is worth what people are willing to pay for it.

    If you want to haul people or cargo, a brand-new Sprinter or Transit is cheaper than this. But if you want a 23-window Bus, only a 23-window Bus will do.

    Like 16
  3. Coventrycat

    A person who would spend that kind of money on this instead of a decent, driveable E Type is indeed a misguided soul. Just my opinion.

    Like 8
    • moosie Craig M Bryda

      Apples & Oranges ?

      Like 5
      • Ralph

        Apples and Cat Turds….fixed it for you.

        Like 4
  4. John Holden

    I thoroughly, absolutely, agree with cyclemikey.
    Yesterday, I saw (again) Jay Leno’s show on his 1963 E-Type coupé ( and said to my wife – really sadly – that I’ll probably never (now at 72), be able to afford an E-Type, which I find such an amazingly sexy animal.
    I’ve had nice cars over the years but have never owned one of these.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, as cyclemikey rightly says, people will pay for what they want to own, cherish, stare at, be proud of and drool over.
    I think the thing about the consumer society and its guided urge to buy this or that product is likely true, but I feel – I know – that possessing a Jaguar E Type or an Austin-Healey 3000 or a Ford Mustang Fastback is something else – beyond money.

    Like 9
    • Andy

      What’s sad is, even in the early ’80s, E-Types were out there for affordable prices, but probably seemed expensive for an old car that needed to be on a lift for about a month every year. Today most of us would love to get one for the price of a well optioned Accord, but now you can’t touch one for much less than a new 5 Series. As far as this VW goes, my ’66 Transporter cost me $700 up front in 1987 and I think I sold it for $50 four or five years later. But it wasn’t even a Deluxe, let alone a Samba.

      Like 1
  5. jamesMember

    You’ve inspired me! I have a 69 convertible vette, 90% survivor (thanks to Barnfinds!) In addition, I have a nearly reassembled, already drivable (clean level 3) 70 GS 455 Stage1 4sp A/C coupe (1 of 51). Time to wake up, sell the two of them and chase the dream of an e-type. A series 1 is out of the question, but a series 2 might be within reach. Thanks for the push and never say never!!!

    Like 10
  6. YellowjaxMember

    IMHO I think any auto that looks good from every angle is a work of art…..think E type Jag or AH 3000. This van looks great from 6 out of 10 angles. So to me even if I could afford it I would pass it up for a car that gets me excited whenever I walk up to it to take it for a spin.

    Like 3
  7. doug edwards

    Well, I’m driving a 64 VW bus, which looks really good and gets a lot of attention. What blows my mind is, I’m on a budget – I’ve had this bus for 30 years and originally got it for free. I run with a Cleveland bus club at times and have heard of people in the club who have gotten behind on money and end up losing their bus for need of money. Never again able to afford the stiff price.

    Like 11
  8. hugh crawford

    My sister has a 1967 21 window in what is probably better than new condition. When we go for a drive in San Francisco it’s like being in a parade where at every stoplight someone comes up to tell about how they were conceived / born / lived / toured with the dead or whatever in a VW bus. Then there is always some guy that wants to buy the thing for 120 thousand and gets really indignant that my sister isn’t interested in selling which spoils the whole thing.

    Like 15
    • Mountainwoodie

      Yer killing me! I too had a perfect, complete ’67 21 window bus, I grafted the Westphalia interior from a camper bus that had a trashed roof. Drove it up and down the West Coast numerous times camping out under the stars back in the eighties Sold it for 6 grand….and I thought that was a alot! Oh well…………..

      Like 6
      • Dick AMember

        Welcome to the Club. Back in 1961 I sold my 1955 Porsche Super Speedster for $1500. I even had it advertised in both the Frisco and LA papers here in California and didn’t get one call, even at that price!

        Like 7

    This is what’s start all that buzz

    Like 5
    • ken tilly

      @AUTOVISTA. Unbelievable heh? I had a 1962 standard kombi/bus which I bought in 1964, with the opening windshields but on a long cross country trip it ran a big end bearing so I sold it to a scrapyard in order to catch a train back home. And the price received in 1968? $20 !!

      Like 6
      • local_sheriff

        Well Ken, you’re not the only one regretting how most Transporters ended their lives…As a car guy I’m almost ashamed to tell you that we in Norway have a near 100 years old tradition of celebrating high school graduation as russ(from rogue).That’s a month of partying,dancing,pranks,senseless drinking and sex.Of course one need wheels for going to rallies nationwide,and Transporters were cheapest and most available choice.Between the 60s to 90s many thousands of T1s must have ended in junkyards after being beaten to death by russ.T1s and later also T2s were all over the place and scrapped for minor issues – no one imagined they’d become sought-after…

        Like 4
      • Andy

        In hindsight it’s kind of sad, because hardcore air cooled VW owners know these cars get engines changed the way Toyotas get their oil changed! A jack, a couple of bolts, some wires, cables and a fuel line, and then you throw in your J.C. Whitney 1800 and off you go.

        Like 0
  10. Hotroddaddy

    It seems to me that the ultimate worth of anything is what anyone else is willing to pay for it. Anyway, not my cup of tea. At least at that price.

    Like 1
  11. David Rhoces

    anyone who would pay that has more money than brains …. just saying

    Like 5
    • Mike

      Maybe they just have more money than YOU…

      Like 5
  12. Rex FoxMember

    Those who don’t understand have never driven an old VW bus (or an all, underpowered pickup). It’s a smile inducing experience.

    Like 8
  13. Bob

    I am surprised that there are people that “do not understand” actually reading Barn Finds. I am not a VW bus guy, but I totally get it. Buy what you love and understand that if someone else wants it, the price goes up.

    Like 9
  14. Edward

    I have learned to accept that the world contains a few people who have the means to buy pretty much anything they desire. This seller is hoping to catch the eye of one of those. All the rest of us need not apply.

    Like 1
  15. Chris

    $68k? I would sell my 64 Deluxe for that much and it’s in perfect condition!

    Like 11
  16. MGSteve

    As I look at most of the cars on BF, I think they are ugly, too big or whatever. That said, that is MY taste. We don’t all drink red wine, we don’t all wear the same clothes. Thank Goodness. How boring it would be if we ALL liked this VW bus . . . or conversely, if we all hated it. I’ve always said “Some people have very good taste. Some people have very bad taste. I happen to have very good taste.” Obviously at every auction, it takes more than one person to drive the final price to “Sold”.

    Like 4
  17. gepops58

    Apparently the sellers have lost their minds

    Like 4
  18. Paul

    Anybody that has ever drove one of these…..realizes that you can get out and run faster up hill then they can go. Slooooowest most uncomfortable bad handling noisy vehicle that I ever drove……and some how I liked it? At least for a little while anyway!
    I forgot what the HP was but I remember it was really low.

    Like 0
  19. bobhess bobhessMember

    My first VW was a ’55 panel van. Two front seats, nothing in the rear. Besides being able to haul almost anything I used it to go to work. Big factor was it was just fun to drive!

    Like 1
  20. bobhess bobhessMember

    Paul… mine was 36 hp but the reduction gears on the rear axles gave it plenty of grunt, just not much speed. Now the ’56 we put the 180 hp Corvair in……

    Like 3
  21. John T.

    Buy-It-Now Price on eBay has been further reduced to $58,888.88 … Wonder what the selling dealer’s magic number is to do the deal, Maybe $50k???

    Like 1
  22. DolphinMember

    WAAAYYY overpriced.

    These need to be perfect before they would be worth the $100K+ prices that some of these sell for, and in much better condition than this one is in for that lowered $68.5K price the seller wants.

    Like 2
  23. Chad Rickle

    I would gladly take an old piece of crap van over any new van on the market. Most of the new ones rust out before they are even paid off by the average consumer. Not to mention being a nightmare to work on.

    Like 2
  24. Ralph

    This seems to be “the collector game” in the last decade or so…”whats the worst car we can drive the price up on?”

    Microcars….5hp clown cars that ended up being used in the circus……”oh wow…thats a Messerdoodlegogopoopymobile with the accessory 4th wheel and the high output 7 1/2 hp rally engine…..thats a good buy at $230,000…..”

    I think I’m going to start hoarding some Chevettes and Yugos and I’ll clean up in a couple of years….

    “Yes sir Mr. Carini…..this is an 86 1/2 Yugo GV….still has the factory radio knock off plate……Its going to be listed at Puddings Auction House with a $325,000 reserve…….

    Looooooooooooooooooooonny Land!!!!!

    Like 5
  25. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    I drove a VW van back in the early ’70’s delivering paper goods in Dublin, Ireland just out of school. I found it fun to drive but pretty noisy when empty. It was easy to operate, dependable and not too big for the heavy city traffic.

    One time my brother and I went up north to Belfast to get a gearbox for Mom’s Austin 1300 that I blew up as they were a lot cheaper up there. We were pulled over by the British army (in armored vehicles), ordered out of the van and held at gun point for what seemed like an eternity. A van with Dublin plates was a red flag for the Brits in Belfast back then. I guess they thought I had a van-load of Paddy terrorists and was up to no good. Lucky for us, we had our American passports so they let us go but having 15 automatic weapons pointed at you is no joke. I think of that every time I see a VW van; a little PTSD, I guess.

    At any rate, I can understand that these VW vans can bring a lot of money but a lot of vintage vehicles can be very expensive these days. I wouldn’t pay that crazy money for one of those rolling tin cans but others gladly would apparently. I just bemoan the fact that I can’t afford a ’69 Torino GT convertible like I had ten years ago but would be happy to pay the high cost of one now if I could afford it. I’d probably over-pay to have one again. So let the aging hippis pay crazy money for these vans just like some folks pay crazy money for a Mustang or a GTO. It’s just too bad that the average Joe can’t afford these cars anymore.

    Like 3
    • Dave

      There are few things that will make you swear off drinking and driving like police pointing automatic guns at you while speaking a lingo you don’t understand. Slovenia, August 1983.

      Like 3
  26. Brian Scott

    Always wanted a Bus, however my expert VW mechanic (how good? Well, he works on the RUF Yellowbird and Blackbird BOTH) talked me out of it in 1999, saying, “Brian, you do realize that in a frontal impact, you are the airbag on one of these things.” Though I raced motorcycles, and still do into the middle of my 6th decade on mother earth, he convinced me otherwise. But alas, bought and restored a ’67 Bug, primarily because it fits better in the garage anyway. Owning an old VW is pure joy (the 911 anchored next to it in the garage hardly moves).

    Like 1
  27. the one

    sixty eight thousand dollars worth of laughs.

    Like 2
  28. DAVID6


    Like 0
  29. Little_Cars Saul

    The roof paint fade looks suspicious, as if someone deliberately buffed the paint down to reveal some *atina. Note the Porsche in the background. Seller knows what they have here. The interior could have been cleaned up before the photos were taken. Glad the BIN went down…only in the $50k range now….

    Like 1
  30. 433jeff

    I would get a 70 chevelle ss real or clone and and keep the remaining 20 25 grand. But i get it, and it always feels good to pay the money and get the toy, sometimes you get the same feeling from unloading your annoying money pit too.

    Like 1
  31. Gray Wolf

    It’s a porch, not a porche on your house! You should check your spelling before you correct someone. Maybe it’s French!!

    Like 1
  32. Don

    When a perfectly restored example sells for 77K at the recent B/J auction it seems this guy should have halved the old price not just reducing it by 10K!!!

    Like 1
  33. Edward

    If the seller keeps the car on ebay long enough, their computer will keep suggesting “revisions” to make probable buyers more interested in considering purchase. Could take some time….

    Like 1

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