True Barn Find: 1958 Volkswagen Microbus

The Volkswagen Microbus, given the factory designation Type 2 because it was Volkswagen’s second model after the Type 1 Beetle, has a history almost as long and iconic as, well, the Volkswagen Microbus. It truly is a unique vehicle with a global following of die-hard fans and has shown up in some form in almost all types of popular media. After the end of WWII, Microbuses, Combis, Type 2s, or just simply: Bus, became popular with the American counter-culture movement in the 1960s and earned the nickname “hippie bus” or “hippie van.” It was in this guise that the Microbus gained notoriety and that most people are familiar with. In addition to the “hippie” following, the bus was appreciated for its utility and flexibility of uses. You can find this one for sale here on eBay. Special thanks to Bluetec320 for letting us know about this one.

It’s rough. The seller states that the floorpans are decent, but a little rusty, and the rockers and frame are rusted. In addition, there’s no motor or transmission, and it looks like it’s missing at least two wheels and pretty much the entire interior. The plus side of all of that is this is basically a blank slate for you to do what you want with. Microbuses are really valuable, and Concours-level restorations can fetch nearly $100,000 at auction.

Mechanically, there’s no engine or transmission. Originally, these were designed to be as simple as possible. The engine and transmission are basically the only pieces to the entire chassis, so once you replace those, you should have a good running project. If you go original, the air-cooled flat-four produced somewhere around 50 horsepower, depending on the configuration. I know that there are some electric conversion kits, but if you like octane and need to merge safely with traffic on the highway, I’ve heard of some Subaru flat-four swaps, which could prove interesting.

There’s no title and is instead sold with a bill of sale. There are 17 days left on the auction, so that $10,000 price may not last long, but I can’t see it going much higher than $15,000. It needs a full restoration, but you can do that however you like. You could keep it as a cargo van, do a camper conversion, make it a people carrier, whatever strikes your fancy. If it were me, I’d keep the patina and original coffee delivery van livery, get this thing, cover the roof in solar panels, and make an off-grid electric classic camper capable of making its own fuel. Sure, you’d only be able to cover a few miles a day, but life is better when you take the time to soak in the surroundings of the great outdoors.

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Sorry folks, even if my first VW was a ’55 panel van that I had a great time with I sure wouldn’t put that much money down for that much nothing in return. Would be nice to see exactly what the Ohio winters did to the underside….

    Like 9
  2. sir_mike

    No title could be a big problem in some states.Needs a bunch of love.

    Like 2
  3. Charles Sawka

    Chopped top and LS drivetrain

    Like 3
  4. Charles Sawka

    Chopped top,LS drivetrain

    Like 2
    • Eric B

      Not sure if this is a joke or not lol, but chopped top? The awesome signage is the only thing this has going for it, for goodness sake.

      Like 3
  5. Ed H

    Call Mustie1

    Like 3
    • Rick

      He’ll have it fired up and tearing through his yard in two days tops.

      Like 1
  6. gaspumpchas

    For petes sak stuff a transaxle under it so it rolls! You have to have driven one of these sometime in your life to appreciate zero to 60 eventually. Good luck and know what you are buying.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 4
  7. Steve Clinton

    ‘No engine or trans currently does not roll’…for $10,000?
    Someone is a comedian.

    Like 6
  8. Motorcityman Member

    Dont know if the asking price is fair but I do know just a few years ago u could barely give these things away.
    They have really shot up in price to collector car/muscle car territory like a Mopar.

    Like 1
  9. TomW

    For Sale classic collector 1957 Chevy , no frame, interior removed, glass is gone, roller, no engine, transmission or rear end. Body panels removed for another project. Tires are flat, asking $50,000. No lowballs, I know what I have.

    Like 2
    • Rick

      There’s no shortage of sellers who think along those lines. They probably have Barrett-Jackson-Itis or Mecum-Osis.

      Like 1
  10. steve

    A have seen worse sell for more. Birth year car for a VW bus guy…panel van? Way cool….but..even for free it needs a bigger pile of money and time than I have access to right now.
    Oh..and I don’t drink coffee….

    Like 3
  11. Richardd Adams

    I was not aware that these Type 2 Panel Vans were called a Microbus. I believed the Microbus had multiple side windows and more than 3 seats.

    Like 2
  12. chrlsful

    doesn’t really matter. They’ll buy it w/o knowing detail just has to be a vedub. Its the best kinda con…

  13. t-bone BOB

    Item location:
    Wellington, Ohio

  14. Bill McCoskey

    Richard Adams,

    You are correct, the Type 2 with windows is called the Microbus, while the windowless version is called the Transporter or Kombi, also known in Germany as the Bulli.

    If I was still in the restoration business and looking for another project, I would jump on this van, and after taking detailed digital photos of the advertising on the sides, I would do a full restoration as close to original as possible.

    Like 2

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