By on November 26, 2014

18 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs far as I know, the Volkswagen LT van was never sold new in the United States, and this is the first one I’ve ever seen in an American wrecking yard. At first glance, I assumed it was some sort of Grumman or specialty body on a Big Three chassis.
09 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBut as soon as I saw this VW/Audi four-cylinder in the front, I knew I was looking at something German (and incredibly, dangerously slow).
06 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt makes sense that someone in the San Francisco Bay Area would want to drive a European-market box truck, and it has the stickers to suit that image.
10 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLooks like a very useful vehicle for urban deliveries, though extended highway drives must have been pretty miserable with double-digit horsepower moving this big box.
15 - 1973 Volkswagen LT28 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPlenty of cargo space.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

85 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1973 Volkswagen LT 28...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I don’t want to stereotype or make assumptions about the kinds of people who drive certain types of cars, but in the history of automobiles was there ever a right-wing conservative that drove a VW bus/van?

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Yeah, you’d think skinheads would have a thing for these…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’m sure there were. I see no shortages of Priuses around Denver with Republican stickers on them.

      No reason why good gas mileage and/or environmental responsibility has to be a right wing / left wing thing, you know?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      At my last house, my neighbor was very conservative by Seattle standards (which is to say roughly centrist by national standards) and had a Westfalia which he spent all his spare time puttering with. He was a bit strange, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Geekcarlover

      My parents. Dad was career Navy, Mom is a former nun. Both are life long Republicans. We had a VW camper from 68-75. One long time friend also had one, but he’s effectively Libertarian,

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      I once saw a Vanagon at Volksfest in Pataskala, OH with several right-wing stickers, one of which said “Member: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” with the V in “Vast” and W in “Wing” written in the Volkswagen corporate typeface.

      Must have been the exception that proves the rule. Like the Prius with the “Romney/Ryan 2012” sticker.

    • 0 avatar
      Boxer2500

      My staunch Republican dad drove a Vanagon Westfalia for years. I’m sure Rush Limbaugh’s soothing voice filled the fridge and bed-equipped interior many a weekday afternoon. Later, when the Westy was passed along to me during my teenaged years I did my best to uphold the VW van-driver stereotype.

    • 0 avatar
      honda_lawn_art

      Oh yeah. My granddad had one in the ’60’s to haul his five kids around. Conservative was pretty normal then though, and a bus wasn’t seen as communist in Denver as far as I know. He liked it so much he bought another one when he retired.
      My Dad’s very conservative too, mostly owned diesel VW’s and a Peugot.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Uh…yeah. That would be me.

      I’ve also had a Yugo and about four other clapped-out panel vans.

      I’ve always driven small; but finally, reality and adulthood have caught up with me.

      I now drive a “big” truck. A Tacoma.

      I’m such a capitalist pig…

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      I’m not sure if I can post links, but Volkswagen appeared to have made an effort to market the Type-2 to conservatives. Here’s a link to an old advert of a VW Type-2 on its way to a Republican convention:

      http://www.amazon.com/never-youll-elephant-Volkswagen-Station/dp/B00EVULDRE

      Here’s an link to an old ad aimed at upper-crust DAR types:

      https://mcdonaldvw.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/a-tribute-to-the-volkswagen-microbus/1959-vw-volkswagen-microbus-magazine-advertisement/

    • 0 avatar
      millmech

      How far do you want to go?
      http://www.historybyzim.com/2012/10/hate-bus-1961/

      In case the site does not support links, this goes to a picture of George Lincoln Rockwell + the American Nazi Party with their VW “Hate Bus”.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I know one that drives a syncro.

    • 0 avatar
      geo

      My conservative family had a ’72 Westfalia when I was growing up. We loved it. My dad (a pastor) once came home from a long trip bragging that he was able to get over 30 miles per gallon.

      A few of my parent’s conservative, evangelical friends drove these as well.

      Funny how media repetition causes things to become truth.

    • 0 avatar
      DarkAlleyDan

      Present…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Wouldn’t the history of VW suggest that many a right winger drove or rode in a VW of one kind or another?

    • 0 avatar
      1000songs

      Most people can’t remember what they had for breakfast.

    • 0 avatar
      rudolfschmidt

      Arthur, you obviously know nothing about Volksgemeinschaft or other aspects of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. It’s people like you who poison everything with your rude and incorrect opinions of modern day conservatives and Republicans as Nazis. Grow up.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Funniest post of the day. Even better than the GM dealership recall.

        However if it was serious, it displays a glaring problem as at no point were the words Republican or conservative used. On the political spectrum Fascists are appended to the far right.

        • 0 avatar

          Only because those drawing the spectrum want to disassociate National Socialism from socialism.

          Fascism is a left wing ideology. It has its roots in the left and is all about state control. Sure, corporations are free to operate, as long as they do the bidding of the state.

          Fascism is right wing like the KKK was Republican. Come to think of it, besides their political affiliations as Democrats, in terms of political ideology and economics, the KKK was closer to socialists than they were to free market capitalists.

          But then, I’ve had liberal Jews try to tell me that Father Coughlin was a right winger.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Ronnie,
            Sorry but the Nazis were to great extent funded by business interests.

            In Weimar Germany there were genuine socialist (and farther left) political groups including Communists and Social Democrats. The Nazis despised and eventually eradicated them.

            The Nazis were indeed right wing and certainly not socialist by any stretch of the actual definition.

            Workers had no control over the economy, means of production or the organizations which employed them. Taxation was not progressive.

            Furthermore resorting to nationalism is a right wing tool. Socialists are more international in their outlook. Also the Nazis focused on racial issues. Socialists believe that the class struggle is the key to understanding society.

            However at the far ends of the spectrum left and right join as it is not a straight line but a circle.

            I would have to research more into the KKK to comment about it. But with a Catholic/Jewish background, I find it hard to stomach research into too many groups that would prefer to rid their nation of my kind.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In Germany, the origins of the welfare state came from the right. The notion of social security and unemployment insurance came from Bismarck, a conservative imperialist monarchist who saw those benefits as tools to maintain the industrial revolution.

            The differences between right and left are ultimately determined by motivations, not by the specific policies themselves. A policy that is left-of-center in a given place at one point in time can be right-of-center in some other place or at some other time. Germany had a tradition of social spending long before Hitler showed up; in the US, those types of benefits were associated with the left, but the Germans are not Americans.

        • 0 avatar
          honda_lawn_art

          Not normally discussed on this site but how do so many people, but not everyone suppose Fascists, or Nazi’s were far right, and Leninists were far left, as if they were opposites of each other? I could think of many things that would make a more realistic opposite to communism; laissez-faire, anarchy, warlords, feudalism, libertariansim, democracy, tribal confederations, space federations.
          Is it that, as compared to 18th Century French politics, Lenin would have sat on the left, and Mussolini on the right? They were both against a monarchy but for a consolidation of power, I’d have figured they were both “leftists”, by the 18th century French definition.
          I genuinely don’t know, I do feel comfortable throwing that out on this site since we’re mostly speaking in the context of rusty imported vans.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The French monarchists were on the right because their philosophy was based upon an appeal to tradition and their defense of social inequality.

            The Nazis were on the right for the same reasons. They were social Darwinists and their philosophy was also based upon an appeal to tradition, i.e. a third empire that would revive the glories of the previous two.

            There are both authoritarians and civil libertarians on the right and left. The right=good/left=bad is just nonsense spewed by the uneducated.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Yes from the French Revolution.

            Right: the party of order (status quo?)
            Left: the party of movement (progression?)

            Many philosophers believe that left and right join at their extremes.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There is a concept called “horseshoe theory” that shows the far left and far right being closer to each other than to the center-left or center-right. Both right and left tend to become more totalitarian as they move toward their respective extremes (although that isn’t universal — communists and anarcho-capitalists are at the extremes and both are anarchists.)

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yep, deep down inside Archie and Meathead were really a whole lot alike

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yep, deep down ins*de Archie and Meathead were really a whole lot alike

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Nope.

      Nazi. National SOCIALIST.

      Volkswagen. The PEOPLE’s Car.

      KdF-Wagen. Strength-Through-Joy Car.

      See anything there that’s conservative or Republican or Tea Party?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’ve already explained it.

        Although I suppose that the Union of Soviet Socialist REPUBLICS were Republicans.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Nope.

          It was a deliberate mislabeling.

          And “republic” has a specific meaning, quite apart from the Republican Party.

          National Socialism, on the udder hand, was just that. State ownership of the means to produce. The KdF-Wagen was produced BY THE NAZI PARTY – and when the war ended and the party outlawed…unlike Daimler-Benz and BMW, there was nobody with legal title to the designs and Wolfsburg plant.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You really don’t get it.

            “National Socialism” and “socialism” are different. Nazis and the socialists were diametrically opposed.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            “You really don’t get it.

            “National Socialism” and “socialism” are different. Nazis and the socialists were diametrically opposed.”

            I suggest you acquaint yourself with what socialism means; and then try to see how National Socialism measured up against it.

            You WANT it to be different; but it’s not different.

            And no, American conservatives are not Nazis. They don’t want anything that Nazis wanted. When you’re done learning what Socialism (including National Socialism) is, you can try learning about the founding of this country and what conservatives stand for.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m pretty sure that I’ve forgotten more about politics than you’ve ever learned.

            Again, the origins of the welfare state in Germany came from the right. I realize that’s different from America, but Germany is not America.

            Socialists argue for social leveling and egalitarianism. The Nazis wanted the opposite: they preached social Darwinism, the “survival of the fittest” with some groups being elevated above others (as the Jews and gypsies soon figured out.)

            The appeal to tradition is also a mark of the right. The Nazis glorified the former German empire, hence the “third” Reich.

            The Nazis attacked the socialists and the communists. They banned labor unions. Not exactly left-of-center on any version of the scale.

            “American conservatives are not Nazis.”

            No s**t. But they’re both on the right.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Just because I advertise my latest car as the world’s greatest sports coupe, does not make it so. Germany had Socialist parties, that were considered mainstream.

        The Nazis were in now way, shape or form Socialist. Others have explained this to you, probably in better ways than I can.

        When appropriating labels or names, would you argue that the Republican party of Eisenhower has the same principles as the Republican party of Palin?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Looks like a peacenick to me. I do wonder where this van came from, I have never seen anything like it.

    The Nazis drove VWs but then they were German.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      and socialists.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        It still hasn’t penetrated your brain that the Nazis weren’t socialist. Sure, they stuck it in their party name to fool the plebs. And apparently you as well. Marketing to disguise dictatorship.

        Why bother reading any literature to learn some home-truths when misinformation is so much easier to disseminate? Hmm.

        Utter rubbish fot the 451st time. At least.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          First brown, then red.

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            “Roast-beef Nazi”, brown on the outs*de, red on the ins*ide was a common phrase during Weimar for the SA who often sided with striking workers against industrialists and who scared the crap out of the professional Reichswehr that Hitller needed to co-opt.

            The claim that Nazis were at fundamentally socialists is fairly valid when speaking of Roem’s Sturmabteilung. Hence the Night of the Long Knives.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      I liked the old ADAC map of West Germany.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Pete, nice historical explanation. Remember that Hitler was largely funded by big business.

        General Motors supplied more vehicles to the German military than VW or Mercedes.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Ok. That’s just not right, Murilee.

    It IS indeed a rare find.

    But at a glance, I thought I was looking at a Syncro Vanagon.

    Oh, sweet, sweet Syncro Vanagon. My heart skips a beat just thinking of you.

    If I ever end up purchasing a minty Syncro Westy, I may end up becoming one of those guys who makes the news for marrying and making sweet passionate love to his vehicle!

  • avatar
    nvdw

    LTs weren’t built before 1975. This is however a very early example: it has the first-gen dashboard, seats and steering wheel, and it is painted in taiga green, a typical 1970s VW shade.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    I’m surprised they put this one in the line at all. Having worked at a WI salvage yard while going to college, anything that came in that was a “unicorn” (like this one), would be crushed right away. Why have it take up useful space if hardly anybody’s going to buy parts off of it?

  • avatar
    kkop

    The stickers suggest it was in service in Germany before coming over here. The blue one is for a campsite along one of the main tourist highways (Romantische Strasse).

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Engine between the seats? Wow.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Hermann was burning.

    Hermann scratched at his full, grey beard. Beads of sweat lay within. He could feel it running down his chin, down to his neck, forming streams on his naked chest. It had to be 100° in the van, even with all the doors open. He had to pace himself. The sweat merged himself and Susan into one cohesive being. It was erotic in the extreme. The waves passed through him, and he collapsed over her back briefly before sliding off onto the disheveled twin mattress. “That was a nice romp, love.”, said Susan with her thick British accent. “Yah.”, replied Hermann, admiring what now resembled a hippo in the prone position. “You imagine they’re done yet?”, she asked. A short wind blew through the open van, and the smell of butt reached the man’s nostrils, delaying his response. “Well..if I know my wife well, they were done ten minutes ago.” He bit his tongue at the end, but it was too late. The Brit diverted her attention from the burners pedaling by outside, and twisted her head around to face the dirty-looking Santa. He was surprised when she laughed, and said “What are you saying?”. Susan put her shoes on, saying coyly “I think I’ll go for a little stroll.”, then walked buck naked out into the desert.

    Hermann’s phallus blew in the breeze, while he put his pants back on. He could feel the dust stuck to his sweat beneath his tattered shirt. He felt…natural. The exodus was already well underway, and a line of RV’s kicked up dust in the distance. His wife Julie appeared, resembling a rag tag whore of olden times. Her blouse was unbuttoned, exposing her breasts, and her face paint was smeared. She said nothing, kissed her husband on the cheek, and then rummaged in the back of the LT28 for her leather pouch of luke-warm water. “Should we go?”, she asked. “Yah.”

    Hermann queued up behind a Winnebago, and shut off the engine. When it was time for the pulse of vehicles to move, the VW was left in the dust. It wouldn’t restart. Hermann knew what to do. He lifted off the engine cover and allowed it to tumble out of the passenger door. Julie happily conversed with a few good samaritans who had stopped to assist the stricken van. While Hermann worked the intake tract off of the carburetor, he overheard one of them saying “Yeah, I used to have one of these.” Hermann scrunched his face with sweat stinging his eyes, thinking to himself, “No. You didn’t.” punctuated with a “Hrmpf.” Hermann placed his palm over the open throat of the carb, which scalded a perfect crescent into it immediately. “Scheisse!” He then angrily walked stiffly to the rear, retrieving the best thing he could find to shield his hand, a pair of his dirty briefs. The underpants were sealed over the mouth of the carb, and he twisted the key. After a few laborious cranks, it fired, resulting in applause from the small crowd outside. Hermann held his foot to the pedal to keep it alive, while replacing the intake tract. He watched in horror as the worm screw fell off the hose clamp, and made the 2″ plunge into the maw of the running engine in slow motion. The man was puzzled on what to do next. He looked into the carb, not finding the foreign object. Just as his brain fired “Turn it off!!!!”, he had to shut his eyes in response to the sound of metallic cataclysm inside cylinder #3. “Gooooo!!”

    It was finally time to leave this dreadful place. The burners were almost gone, replacing their intrusion into the desert with piles of trash, and abandoned “art”. Hermann managed to get the 3 working cylinders online, and he immediately put it in gear. It was then that he realized that he hated Burning Man. The commercialization, the expense of entry, the effort, and most of all, this new generation of burners really did him in. “The end.”, he said to Julie. The engine shook as it climbed to 45mph in what seemed like an eternity at full throttle. It’s three cylinders dragged their fallen man along while pushing the ox cart. “You say that every year.”, she yelled over the troubling valvetrain clack now emitting between them. “No, really, this is the end.”

    The van limped down the 580 into Berkeley. The engine’s pleas for mercy were ignored as it’s crankcase drowned in fuel from the spent cylinder. “Can’t we just…?”, Julie asked. Hermann yelled in frustration, “Nein! It’s wasted! (unintelligible German)”

    “You can’t be driving that here.”, said the CHIP as cars whooshed past. “But we’re almost home.”, Julie pleaded. “This vehicle is NOT roadworthy guys. Come on. You’ve got smoke pouring out of the back of this thing.” Hermann overheard the officer mumbling to himself, saying something to the effect of, “What the-hell is this thing?”. It was followed by “Just stay put guys.”, as he walked back behind the van.

    The officer’s rather pleasant demeanor had vanished when he reappeared at the driver’s door. “Okay, your registration is coming back as an ’82 Vanagon, and this is not what that is. I know. I used to drive one. Is there an ID plate on this thing anywhere?” Hermann’s clever plan to use his dead Vanagon Synchro’s tag had been foiled.
    “N-no.”

  • avatar
    April

    Wow, that is one tiny engine radiator.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    In Europe these competed with the Citroen H Van. I see a lot of 68-74 Econoline in the styling. How did the thing make it to the states, no less California, was able to be registered and pass inspection and driven until fairly recently?

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    So what exactly was or is the appeal of the vw van? You take the biggest thing you make and throw in an overtaxed kei car motor and once you buy it you never stop working on it because it’s in a constant state of atrophy? What is it about liberal yuppies and their attraction to these German crap boxes? Masochistic? Not enough hugs from mom?

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      You forgot the part about the fire.

      How does it go?

      Tune-up
      Get-in
      Burn-up?

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      mikeg216, exactly what I’ve wondered for the longest time. I’ve never understood the fascination people have for VW vans. I can understand it for the early ones, the ones that had the front end emulating the Beetle’s, but anything after that…heck, no.

  • avatar
    Beemernator

    The engine could be used to resurrect a dead Porsche 924. But then again, why would anybody do _that_?

  • avatar
    Roland

    Ronnie, facists are right-wing. That’s not only the long-established consensus view of historians and political scientists, but it’s also apparent to anyone who knows anything about facism. A few basics for you here:

    Facists advocate for, and exult in, a hierarchical society with highly unequal relations of power and wealth. Socialists don’t.

    Facists insist that the most important characteristics of a person are inborn. Socialists don’t.

    Socialists desire common ownership of the means of production. Facists don’t.

    If Facism is so close to socialism, then why did the Spanish Phalangists align themselves with the clericals, monarchists, and conservatives during the Civil War? If they were so close to socialism, all they had to do was support the socialists on the government side!

    I find your argument ridiculous.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    What a cool old and rare (if worthless) truck .

    Too bad the tin worm got it .

    With the _four_ intake ports , waking up that engine would be very easy .

    Crab , your story is great as usual .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    It’s the Audi of Mini-vans!

  • avatar
    Germany says

    Murilee,

    I think you really got someting wrong here in regards to the model year (for the first time I have read your junkyard finds, as far as I can judge).

    I was born in 1973 (in the good old beloved and much to early deceased West Germany) and I know this model of car is younger than I am although it looks so much older than I do.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_LT#History

    According to wikipedia it was introduced in 1975. This car was very rare even on German streets because it didn’t make much sense to buy the LT instead of the T2

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Type_2#T2

    or the T3

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Type_2_(T3)

    simply because these offered enough luggage space for less money.

    I can say for my hometown that less than one LT was sold for every ten or so T2 or T3.

    The engine might seem small by American standards, but it was also fitted into the Audi 100 sedan (1976 and later) and even into the Porsche 924

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_924#History (see text to the left of the picture)

    Now in regards to the car choices of the left and right wings – that used to be easy in the old days (70s/80s/90s) over here in Germany.

    Left wing types drove VWs and Mercedes Benzes with diesel engines or maybe a Citroen or a Volvo, possibly a Toyota Station wagon.

    Right wing types drove VWs and Mercedes Benzes with petrol engines while a surprising number of bad old Nazis were in favour of petrol Toyota sedans (Carina, Camry etc.).

    Of course, today you need a university studies to find out who drives what.

    Chris

    P.S. The stickers on the LT shown above clearly indicate that this car spent its first life on German – no thats incorrect – on Bavarian streets and was exported to the US as a used car

  • avatar
    bent

    I’m the last owner of that 1976 Mk1 LT35. It’s actually a Mk1 LT was first manufactured in 1976. The previous owner managed to register it as a 1973 model, no doubt to circumvent smog check rules. He passed away and the vehicle was abandoned in a storage garage. His landlord got his GF to sign the van over to him and subsequently sold to me. It’s a long story how it ended up in a wrecking yard. Rest assured, it was too far gone to save. Cheaper to bring another on in from Europe.

    Anyway, the LT’s which came with gasoline engines used the same 2.0 inline-4 which Audi also put in the first generation Porsche 924 which they were also building. The LT versions were tuned for torque. Anything over 50mph is a struggle. I couldn’t do 40mph trying to drive this guy back from Burbank, CA. BTW, the stickers are from 2 owners ago. I never got around to peeling them off which pissed off my neighbors to no end.😉 I still have two of the wheels which the junkyard didn’t even want. They are 6x205mm which is the same as MB Unimogs and the dually MB Sprinters. Really useless in the US unless you have one of these bigger LT’s.

    It might interest some to know that later models had a 5-cyl diesels & turbodiesels which found their way in Volvos of the same era.

    I hope this has answered some of your questions.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Lou_BC: @mcs – thanks for the link. It’s mind-numbing.
  • Crashdaddy430: Awesome cars, wish their legacy lasted longer. I’m hating the Tundra more and more.
  • SilverCoupe: My dad’s 1959 Oldsmobile did just barely fit into the garage of our 1957 house, but there was...
  • Trend-Shifter: I have a 2001 Chevrolet Blazer with only rear wheel drive. With all season tires or terrain style...
  • dal20402: The Volvo 240 owner I knew best growing up was my violin teacher. She was a deeply tight-fisted...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber