By on June 26, 2011

 

Got a VW microbus in your garage, back from when you listened to Jimi Hendrix and the Doors? Need some serious money? Two options:

You can either try to find one of those asbestos heat exchanger class action lawsuits (although it’s a bit late in the game).

Or you could put your bus up for auction. A good one can fetch $217,800

Yes, you did read right.  A 23-window 1963 Volkswagen with full-length sunroof went for that price (including bidder’s fee) at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Orange County. This was “by far the most ever paid for one at auction,” says speedtv.

The  second priciest car was a  1970 Dodge Hemi Challenger from the Dave’s Garage Collection. It was bid up to $215,600

A brand new custom 2011 Mustang GT500 built by West Coast Customs went for the –by comparesion – relatively paltry sum of $105,000.

A 1973 Ferrari Daytona was bid to $325,000 but failed to meet its reserve.

Now don’t think any old VW bus will make you rich. It must be an exceptional one in exceptional condition. A lesser 1965 21-window VW bus had sold earlier for $82,500, with bidder fee.

Some other top sales (including bidder fees):

• 1957 Cadillac convertible, $172,700.
• 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III James Young sedan, $159,500.
• 2005 Ford GT, $165,000.
• 1970 Chevelle SS LS5 convertible, $137,500.
• 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner hardtop, $121,000.
• Custom 1955 Chevy Nomad, $121,000.
• 1968 Shelby GT350 convertible, 121,000.
• 1937 Ford street rod, $110,000.
• 1961 Impala coupe, $110,000.
• 1957 Chevrolet convertible, $106,700.
• 1958 Corvette 283/270 four- speed, $99,000.

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23 Comments on “1963 VW Bus Sells For $217,800...”


  • avatar

    This has been building for a while. The 23 window Sambas are the holy grail of air-cooled VW collectors, very rare with few survivors (cutting those many holes in the metal, plus the huge sunroof, provide ample entry points for the tin worms). As you note, it sold for significantly more than the 21 window Type I that went on the block earlier (and $82K isn’t exactly chump change). Those two windows really jack up the price.

    I’ve owned a ’67 VW bus. The pre 1968 models were death traps. Putting aside the lack of crush space, the 1500 single port engine with a single barrel carb couldn’t get out of its own way. It had manual drum brakes all around, and swing axles in bag. Handling could be tricky (or fun depending on if you knew what you were doing). I replaced it with a ’72 with a hi-po Beetle motor that I built. Much better vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      I recall driving a mid-60s VW Van down the Ohio Turnpike around 1970. The thing had a top speed of about 62 mph. At that time, trucks had a 70 mph speed limit. They would pass on the left, and blow the van about 5 feet to the right every time they did. It was a frightening experience. They were terrible vehicles, and the idea that anyone would pay $217,800 (even in diluted modern money) strikes me as nuts.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      “Those two windows really jack up the price.”

      Exactly what is so special about two old Microbus windows that makes them worth $65k/each? I’m guessing it’s those two extra panes covering the windshields. Is the purpose extra protection against road debris? Geez, sure doesn’t seem all that special (or practical).

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I believe windows 22 and 23 are located in the rear pillars and wrap around from the sides to the back of the van. The panes you see hinged out from the front are actually the windshields. Back in the pre world war II period, such top hinged windshields weren’t entirely uncommon. I don’t recall seeing any others that went out as far as the ones on these vans though, so it is possible that they’re used to promote ventilation when parked rather than flow-through ventilation when moving.

    • 0 avatar
      RedwoodReef

      Well Im glad I still have a 67′ split. Yes it may not be the safest of vehicle but goodness is it rare and fricken beautiful when its restored. This motivates me to get my project going. Sounds like alot of folks on this thread wish they had one. Yes its nutty to pay 200K+ but hey if you have it and you want to piss it away you can pee on my Bus!!

  • avatar
    blowfish

    to find one of those asbestos heat exchanger class action lawsuits (although it’s a bit late in the game).

    atleast 30 yrs too late.

    1957 Cadillac convertible, $172,700.
    • 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III James Young sedan, $159,500.
    • 2005 Ford GT, $165,000.
    • 1970 Chevelle SS LS5 convertible, $137,500.
    • 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner hardtop, $121,000.
    • Custom 1955 Chevy Nomad, $121,000.
    • 1968 Shelby GT350 convertible, 121,000.
    • 1937 Ford street rod, $110,000.
    • 1961 Impala coupe, $110,000.
    • 1957 Chevrolet convertible, $106,700.
    • 1958 Corvette 283/270 four- speed, $99,000.
    is a bit unreal to have surpassed all these nicer cars!

    Oh well PT barnum’s theory is getting validated again.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    I was watching that yesterday. While the bus was clearly meticilously restored, the seller obviously was amazed that it even was bid up to the $100k mark, let alone close to $200k (before fees). I find it hard to believe that the same thing could not just have been commissioned from the seller (a restorer/customizer I believe) for significantly less than the selling price. Some people just seem to have too much money, I think the seller will put the money to much better use than the buyer did…

  • avatar
    LeBaron

    Who would have thought you could jump a shark in a VW microbus!

  • avatar
    Sam P

    And I thought it was crazy that well-kept Vanagon Syncro Westfalias can easily fetch $25-30k USD in the used market. I’d rather grab a late model AWD Sienna, take out the rear seats, and sleep on the ample floor if I wanted a micro camper van. Whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      That does let you sleep (on the floor), but provides no cooking, fridge or storage space, not so practical beyond a couple of nights on the road. Sadly there are few options comparable to the Westfalia today; you can buy a class-B camper conversion based on a Sprinter but it’s much bigger and it’ll set you back the better part of $100K.

      Maybe someday VWoA will bring back the Transporter (built in Mexico to avoid the dreaded chicken tax?) and we can have another option again.

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    I assume whoever bought this Bus was a collector, but I’m going to ask this anyways: why didn’t he just buy one in Brazil?

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Barreass Jackass – where cars going for 20-60 thousand at other auctions sell for well over 100K . Apparently to dummys with too much money or people with WAY TOO MUCH MONEY trying to manipulate the classic car market prices . Which do you think it is ? Hmmmm ………why don’t those types of vehicles ever reach anywhere near those prices at the Mecum auctions ?

    Here’s how it works – retired multi-millionare corporate cutthroat liar for hire lawyer Chip who has a collector car hobby buys 30 of these VWs and restores one to pristine condition and gives fellow multi-millionaire phony car collector Fuzzy the money to buy it . All of a sudden those other 29 V-dubs are hot properties and collectively are sold for over triple the amount of the one sold at auction at Barreass Jackass . No , don’t believe it ? Then what other scam are these so-called collectors working – because when the same cars are sold each year for way more than at other auctions no way am I buying it that this is a legit auction !

  • avatar

    My second vehicle as a 17 year old in 1972 was a 1961 VW micro-bus. It was a slow moving death trap that caused me serious confusion because it had a metric speedometer back when Canada was a metric-free zone, so I had to cross-reference from kph to mph. At least the speedometer made it like we were going faster. I was thrilled to unload it for 50 bucks to a guy who planned to cut out the middle part and make it a shorter wheel based piece of slow junk. Imagine my surprise during the past few years when I noticed the huge price climb for these hippy wagons. How I miss that VW.

  • avatar

    I used to be on the periphery of the air-cooled Vee Dub scene. The 23 window Samba is to VW collectors as the ’63 split window ‘Vette is to Corvette enthusiasts. Why do C2 Corvettes fetch more money than the older ones that are rarer or the newer ones that are better cars? For the same $217K, the buyer could have bid on the Ford GT that went for $165K and have $52K left over to buy a really nice VW Bus in decent show quality.

    Unless the buyer is a rich Type II fan and just had to have the world’s most perfect Samba.

    For that much money you can buy three or four ’56 Continental Mark IIs in show quality. I was shooting one of two extant Ford commissioned Mark II convertibles today and the owner said that a great one is $80K and you can get good drivers for far less than that.

  • avatar
    Bryce

    Thats a hell of a lot of money for a VW it doesnt matter how much he spent its only a VW

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Wow, 23 windows plus full length sunroof! Does that thing have any structural integrity at all? Never mind rust, how about metal fatigue from all the structural flexing! Nevertheless, that’s the coolest looking VW bus around, nice color too. Still, $200k plus seem a little extreme.

  • avatar
    car_guy2010

    It’s unfortunate that this is NOT a typo.

    With this kind of money, you could probably pick up a decent quality Bug, Bus and Karmann Ghia all at once.

  • avatar
    obbop

    A bevy of Bonnevilles awaits the one forgoing VW van Nirvana and a whole tassel of Pabst Blue Ribbon AND multiple shanties even in the nice part of town!!!

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    It never ceases to amaze me how much Barrett-Jackson auctions sell their vehicles for.

  • avatar
    johnxyz

    I’ve read several comments about the inordinately high sell prices at Barrett-Jackson in recent years. It’s got to be Speed Channel coverage and really rich guys getting intoxicated in the auction fervor (the cocktail waitressess help that along, too). And then B-J adds their 10%!

    The sell prices on Mecum seemed so much lower. But you’re in Indiana, sipping on PBR and not Vegas surrounded by bags of money, and celebrities (including the auctioneer assistants now famous in their own right). I’ve seen cars on Mecum I would of bid on.

    Do you have any examples of cars sold at B-J in the last 2-3 years (at any of the venues – doesn’t matter) that have been a good deal, well-bought or even an outright steal??? That was crazy money for that Micro Bus… Auctions are kinda suppose to be a place to find a bargain, right?

  • avatar
    nolaplus

    I have a 69 van sitting in a backyard, just waiting for the chance for someone to fix it up and make a fortune. Want more info?


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