Junkyard Find: 1971 Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
The 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.
To 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.
This 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.
This one has some rust in the usual places, nothing too catastrophic by the standards of air-cooled VWs.
Someone, maybe a Porsche 914 owner, has grabbed this Kombi’s engine.
Colorado 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.
The 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.
Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Join the conversation
3 of 20 comments
  • Road_pizza Road_pizza on Nov 14, 2018

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

    • RHD RHD on Nov 14, 2018

      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.

  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Nov 16, 2018

    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.

  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars
  • Ede65792611 Got one. It was my Dad's and now has 132K on it. I pay my Mercedes guy zillions of dollars to keep it going. But, I do, and he does and it's an excellent vehicle. I've put in the full Android panel for BT handsfree and streaming with a backup cam.
  • Lou_BC Wow. People say they want sedans and there should be more of them. Goes to show that internet warriors do not accurately represent the desires of the general population. What do people buy? Pickups and CUV'S. Top 10:1. F Series2. Silverado3. Ram4. Toyota Rav45. Model Y Tesla6. Honda CRV7. Sierra8. Toyota Camry9. Nissan Rogue10. Jeep Grand Cherokee Only 2 sedans.#5 Is a sedan and an EV#8 The ubiquitous Camry The only way to resurrect the sedan is by banning crewcab pickups.