By on November 12, 2018

1971 Volkswagen Bus in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe early second-generation Volkswagen Type 2 bus is one of those vehicles that’s supposed to be so suffused with sacred nostalgic vibes that any example, no matter how trashed, will sell for tens of thousands of dollars. As we can see here, the presence of this reasonably complete 1971 Kombi in a wrecking yard near Pikes Peak indicates that real-world values for these vans may differ from the values quoted in online diatribes angrily banged out by Internet Car Experts.

1971 Volkswagen Bus in Colorado wrecking yard, LH rear view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsTo be fair, these vans have been rare junkyard finds in such yards during the last decade or so; I see plenty of Vanagons (including the allegedly priceless Westfalias), but not many second-gen Type 2s and zero first-gens.

1971 Volkswagen Bus in Colorado wrecking yard, steering wheel - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis one has tie-dyed shirts as seat covers and a few lysergic stickers, though actual Colorado hippies are a lot more likely to drive beater Subarus or even Bronco IIs these days.

1971 Volkswagen Bus in Colorado wrecking yard, rust - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis one has some rust in the usual places, nothing too catastrophic by the standards of air-cooled VWs.

1971 Volkswagen Bus in Colorado wrecking yard, engine compartment - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSomeone, maybe a Porsche 914 owner, has grabbed this Kombi’s engine.

1971 Volkswagen Bus in Colorado wrecking yard, front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsColorado east of the mountains is very dry, so the body rust didn’t go so deeply after the van’s last owner opted to remove all the paint and sport that trendy “patina” look.

1971 Volkswagen Bus in Colorado wrecking yard, interior - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe interior seems less biohazardous than most RVs you’ll find in a place like this, though I’m sure the hantavirus risk would be strong if you spent much time in here.


In Mexico, the Kombi was pitched as the ideal vehicle for a peso-pinching sheik to haul his eight-member harem across the Mojave.


Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

20 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi...”


  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    “Travelling in a fried-out Kombi
    On a hippie trail, head full of zombie
    I met a strange lady, she made me nervous
    She took me in and gave me breakfast”

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    So what’s wrong with it other then a good cleaning and, well, maybe an engine?

  • avatar
    Garak

    I’m surprised nobody’s taken the doors yet.

    I don’t get the supposed nostalgia factors these have, for me Type 2 is associated with poverty, misery, smog and bitter cold. It was a terrible vehicle for terrible times, the absolute bottom of the barrel, the machine that ruined people’s lives. A contemporary Ford Transit was leagues above VW’s carbon-monoxide-fridge-on-wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I think there in lies the joke. My memory of these is quite similar to yours plus the billowing pot smoke that used to pour from them

    • 0 avatar

      I suspect a lot of it is the #VanLife crowd looking for something cool and nostalgic to have in the back of their Instagram shots while they hawk vitamin supplements.

    • 0 avatar
      Dilrod

      My father would agree. He drove one of these wrecks at the low point of his life & career. Everything but smog, there wasn’t any in Northern MN.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        You would have to be made of some stern stuff to drive an air-cooled VW in Northern MN. I darned near froze my butt off in a rented Ford Escape in Baudette many years ago. Had to block the radiator with cardboard and drive it in 2nd gear on the highway to get some heat. -45F while I was there… But at least it reluctantly started every time, even without a block heater.

  • avatar
    MrAnnoyingDude

    Some Last Rides-style stuff:

    Alice walked out of her old Colorado City house. It wasn’t big, but at least provided enough room for her, her dog Blossom and both her cars – a 1995 Subaru Outback and a 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 campervan.

    Ah, the Volkswagen… Alice bought it back in 2010, hoping to revive her young days of the 60s and 70s, travelling in different stuff and smoking different stuff. She looked at a few cars, from Corollas to Country Squires, but the VW captured “that feeling” the best. $2800, and the tired and colorless, but running, Type 2, left Jason and his newly-founded family.

    The last eight years hadn’t been so kind to it. Alice quickly discovered that driving an old manual car is harder than it seems through the lens of an automatic Eagle or Outback. The van sat on her property, taken out on occasional rides until Jerry bought the engine for his 914. Later, Charlie got the windscreen, Ken helped himself to the headlights, and so it went…

    The VW had been up on Craigslist for weeks now, as its currently-unemployed owner needed to make rent. But all the prospective buyers balked at different things, from the missing glass, to the aged furnishings, to rusted bodywork.

    It was nearly rent day. Alice suspected she won’t get a buyer on time, so she called one place – a place where any old car is welcome…

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I have some fond memories of a crazy and attractive punk rock girl I knew in HS. Her brother bought and fixed up old VWs, so she ended up with a sky blue VW Van. And would get angry when she ran out of gas after putting 75 cents in (back in 1988). Oh the time she got really high – and lost – in a cul-de-sac, turning that van around and around while giggling like a maniac.

    She ended up in the coast guard and is now a deputy sheriff (!).

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    I think what’s happened with these is the second dip of the “Recession” has finally hit for those that would want to “restore” one of these.
    No $$$ = vans going to scrap instead of getting put back on the road.
    I am a bit surprised that the instrument cluster is still there. Four screws and some wires and its out. The speedos are a failure item and getting scarce.
    BTW the 1971 VW was the last model, for N America, with the “Bug” engine. The 1972 had a similar engine to the 914, but with (awful) carburetors instead of fuel injection and a different exhaust.

  • avatar
    claytori

    I had the displeasure of owning one of these for a while. It is difficult to tell the different years in this era, but this appears to be a ’71. It had a 4-port 1600cc bug engine, but the crankcase is custom to incorporate a rear engine mount. The rear fascia panel on the ’71 can be unbolted to facilitate the frequent engine changes. I got approx. 60,000km between rebuilds. Put a too small engine in a too big body and that is what happens. The brakes were much improved with excellent four pot opposed piston calipers on the front discs and there was a trick compensating valve that adjusted for cargo weight, distribution, and deceleration rate. It has the distinction of being the least reliable vehicle I have owned. Did I mention that the engine has to come out if you want to reconnect the wire on the gas gauge (unless you get the magic TSB on cutting the cargo floor). Succumbed to a broken crankshaft (still ran!) and RUST.

  • avatar

    I test-drove a GTI earlier this Autumn. The salesman’s first name is Khambiz. It’s the perfect name for a guy hawking VWs to long-time VW owners like me, wouldn’t you say?

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    I never understand why so many people love these ugly, grossly underpowered vehicles that use one’s legs for a crumple zone…

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      They were roomy, decent on gas and cheap.
      They were also slow and dangerous, but you’d never rear end anyone, since you could never catch up to anyone. And you’d likely never ever get a speeding ticket in a Kombi.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Remember that though these “bread” vans were built post “Unsafe At any Speed”, many countries had national speed limits under 55 mph, at the time. No one had heard of air bags and crumple-zones were in the development and testing stage.
    I did get a few speeding tickets in the 1968 van that I had. I learned not to do that when I later got a 1978 which had a much more powerful motor.
    Also recall that the use of these was around town delivery. Many of them employed by flower shops, cleaners, and so on. That tapered off quite a bit in the 1970s as you could no longer buy the empty van, in the USA, due to the “chicken tax”.
    Most businesses changed to Ford, Chevy, and Dodge vans.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • SPPPP: Yes, but unfortunately, the manufacturer may have reduced cost by eliminating the tooling for the ignition...
  • SPPPP: The greenish gold is not my favorite color, but I’d much rather look at that than a black car. At least...
  • Verbal: With all these various flavors of crossovers/SUVs that Ford will be cranking out, at what point are they...
  • 65corvair: Had an Altima as a rental, I wasn’t impressed. My ’14 Accord (base model, no extras) with...
  • tomLU86: So, if Ghosn, “le cost-cutter”, effectively slashed costs, what is there left to cut in terms of...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Timothy Cain
  • Matthew Guy
  • Ronnie Schreiber
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth