Three Owners! 1966 Volkswagen Kombi

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This VW bus has stories to tell. Its first owner was a funeral home. Painted green to match the rest of the funereal livery, its chores were limited to hauling flowers. So they say. Next, it was discovered in a storage unit when today’s seller was reroofing the building. He was able to track down the second owner and purchase it. The seller has owned the bus for 13 years, covering just 1700 miles over that span. It is listed here on eBay, currently bid to $18,200, reserve not met. The bus has been maintained with care in its substantially original condition by a local expert, who indicates that it could be driven cross-country. Fly in to SeaTac and drive it home from Snohomish, Washington (famous for antique stores, by the way).

Who knows why the current seller bought this bus, but it turned into a shrewd purchase. Unrestored examples like this don’t come along every day of the week, and for whatever reason, VW buses have skyrocketed in value. This one is an 11-window basic model (the split windshield counts as two); from this point, the number of windows increases and so does the value, but you didn’t need to own a 21-window to see substantial price appreciation over the lat ten years. One question mark here is the engine. The seller identifies it as a 1600 cc flat-four, but research shows that the 1600 didn’t arrive until after this bus was made, except in Europe when was in use by 1966. Engine swaps are common and the 1600 is a favored choice thanks to its performance headroom. The transmission is the lovable but notchy four-speed manual. The seller believes that the odometer reading of 64,378 represents the total from new.

The driver’s seat has apparently been reupholstered in black or dark grey. The passenger’s side and rear seats are in wonderful condition. The seller does have the third-row seat which needs repair. The floors are mostly great. Only a couple of areas look rusty at all, and I think remediation could avoid a sheet-metal repair. It’s clear that other than making repairs to keep the bus serviceable – and perhaps those repairs date from decades ago – this bus has never seen a restoration.

The underside is clean and dry. I am curious about the canvas gaiters; does anyone know what those are for? A few body flaws surface on closer inspection – none of which seem deadly. A dent immediately below the windshield is unfortunately obvious; the passenger’s side is caved in here and there; the headlamp cover on the passenger’s side is cracked.  I don’t find it difficult to believe this bus has only traveled 64k miles, especially given its early life as a commercial vehicle, where the rush of getting to graveside might have caused some carelessness. I hope the new owner doesn’t restore it, but that’s just my predilection. What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Yblocker

    Can’t even imagine

    Like 2
  2. Chris

    I assume the gaiters are insulation for the heating ducts. I still wouldn’t own one.

    Like 0
    • Paul Ferrara

      Why the snarky “I still wouldn’t own one” comment?

      Like 9
      • Chris Webster

        I’m not a fan of my knees being second on the scene in a head on. And what ever HP it has, it’s not enough for me.

        Nothing snarky about it. VWs just don’t interest me. Subjects that interest me are far out numbered by those that don’t interest me

        Like 0
    • Kev

      I’VE GOT TO HAVE THIS!!
      I DESPERATELY MISS THE GREEN MESS OF ONE I HAD IN MY 20’S..

      is it still available??

      Like 0
  3. James Quinn

    I’ve never driven one of these but looking at that front suspension and the way the tie rods are designed, how bad is the bump steer on these?

    Like 0
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      When I owned a ’55 panel van I had a switchback filled gravel road to drive up a small mountain. Steering was stable on pavement or gravel. Had the wrapped heater tubes but carried firewood to build a fire in the middle if it got too cold.

      Like 3
  4. Rockwreck

    They all had those gaiters when new.
    It was a plastic wrap with in interlocking seam, like a ziploc bag.
    Insulation for the heater tube, which was great at holding water and rotting the center tube out.
    Seeing that piece intact is a real plus for originality

    Like 6
  5. Cooter CooterMember

    I have never driven one of these, but taking a cross-country trip in one would seem to me like paddling an empty refrigerator across lake Michigan.

    Like 11
    • Joe Parsons

      My new bride and I drove our ’66 bus from Rhode Island to Santa Barbara, California in 1969. We had all our possessions plus two cats.

      It was a mostly trouble-free trip for a couple of 20-somethings.

      Wish we still had it. At least I still have the wife.

      Like 19
    • PV Cruiser

      I have driven x country in a ’58 combo.
      Winter of 1969 three young guys from
      So. Cal to Cleveland Ohio. Heater was worthless, hibachi was great as long as one of the windows was open.
      Empty refrigerator is perfect 😎

      Like 2
    • Neil R Norris

      Except, the refrigerator has a better ride and more horsepower. 😆

      Like 1
  6. Big C

    I think I’ll leave this one to the “money no object” crowd. But it would be interesting to see if the old dog would make it cross country without a major catastrophe. You’d need to pencil in a month of vacation…

    Like 3
  7. Mick Lazer

    Traveled across the country in one of these at age 16 with friends. We ended up racing some drunk native Americans in New Mexico in an old Lincoln and were invited back to the reservation for lunch. Later in Coudersport Pennsylvania, we picked strawberries for gas money (also ate them for lunch) and were soon on our way back on the road. One thing about the old VW busses is that you had to get it rolling down hill as fast as possible, to climb the next hill. It literally used next to nothing in gas and, oil and maintenance. It was a ticket to adventure back then. This bus brings back those sweet memories!

    Like 22
  8. Fred

    Have a ’66 camper conversion in much worse shape. Daily drove it in 2012-13. Stripped interior and cheap lowering. Rides like a buckboard. Might do 70 eventually if NO hills. Many thumbs up, smiles and waves from those not stuck driving it. Can’t believe the money these bring. Was $1600 in 1999 and drove it an hour home. A local guy really wants it and will probably get a good deal. So many facets of these vehicles require mind altering substances to accept! Explains the ’60s.

    Like 8
    • Kev

      Please DON’T crush the guy on the price. It’s tough coughing up with INSANE $$$ for these gems..

      It kinda sucks the “good vibe” right out of enjoying them..

      Like 0
  9. PairsNPaint

    Fluffy will buy it.

    Like 2
  10. Denny N.Member

    It’s up to 21K now with almost four days to go. Reserve appears to be off.

    Like 1
  11. Yblocker

    Well, there’s one born every minute

    Like 1
  12. Jeff

    Beautiful – would drive this everywhere anytime – bulletproof reliable!

    Like 3
  13. Charles R. Wirt

    Learned to drive in a ’61 with 40 HP, taught you how to drive thinking ahead, not depending on HP!

    Like 6
  14. Troy

    Wish I was in a position to get it. I’ve always wanted one, still have the repair manual for it

    Like 4
  15. Richard

    I had a ’66 just like this one in the mid-late 1970’s. It ran great, but being in ths Mid-Atlantic, rust eventually claimed it.

    Like 0

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