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. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2018


While the United States seems intent on pushing vans into the work-vehicle category, Europe continues to enjoy them for leisure activities. That’s a shame because there’s a chance some of that interesting van culture would have trickled over the ocean were it not for the chicken tax and unwarranted prejudice.

Volkswagen has several such lifestyle units, with the California being arguably the best in its fleet. Funnily enough, the model isn’t sold in California — nor anywhere else in the U.S. — but a recent update could hint at the direction VW will be taking with the I.D. Buzz. Based on the Transporter and outfitted as a camper van, the California is the true spiritual successor to the microbus. It can certainly trace its linage back to the Type 2 via the Transporter, while its motorhome amenities and optional paint schemes help to finish the job.  (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2017

Image: 1987 Volkswagen Doka TransporterA familiar German visage greets the casual onlooker.  “Ah yes, this is a Vanagon,” the American viewer thinks to himself. But once the eyes have scanned beyond the upright frontage and to the side of this white rectangle, a problem comes to light. Those eyes dart to and fro in disbelief. What should be there — the rest of the Vanagon — isn’t.

That’s because this is a Doka, and it’s the verboten manual diesel van-truck of your dreams.

(Read More…)

By on April 26, 2017

1968 VW Type II Transporter, Image: © 2017 Forest Casey

Pickup trucks are a stereotypically American product, right up there with blue jeans and barbeque. The best-selling vehicle in America for the past 35 years? Ford F-Series. And the pickup truck defines our needs as a nation, maximizing towing, luggage, and passenger capacities as much as possible at the lowest possible price.

But must a pickup wear an American badge for us to consider it a proper truck?

After seeing innovative trucks like this 1968 VW Type II Transporter, you can’t help but ask, “Why must these be so rare in America?”

(Read More…)

By on October 15, 2014

12 - 1981 Volkswagen Transporter Westfalia Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis being Colorado, I see quite a few Volkswagen Vanagons on the street and in local wrecking yards. Mostly I ignore them for this series, because their local popularity means examples that show up at a Denver self-service yard get stripped immediately and aren’t very interesting photographic subjects. So far, we’ve seen just this exquisitely stereotype-reinforcing Steal Your Face Edition ’83, and that’s it prior to today’s find. An ordinary Vanagon with most of the parts gone, I’m not shooting it. A Vanagon Syncro (which I believe to be the most unwise money-pit available on four wheels or a Westfalia Camper, on the other hand, I’m always willing to photograph those rare birds. Here’s a squalid ’81 Westy that I found at a Denver yard last week. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2012

Like the Fiat 124 Sport Spider, your typical second-gen VW Transporter typically spends many years as a never-started project in a back yard or driveway (because everyone loves an air-cooled VW bus!), then washes ashore at a junkyard. I’ve been seeing these vans in about the same numbers in junkyards for a couple of decades now, even as only the nicest street-driven examples have been kept alive. Here’s a ’78 with some extremely Malaise-y custom touches that I spotted in a Colorado yard last week. (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2011


Going to the wrecking yard on a grim, rainy day somehow makes all the junked custom vans seem even more depressing than usual. How much work went into that mural? (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2011


German advertisers of the 1950s turned the Volkswagen Transporter into some of the best rolling marketing art ever. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Ce he sin: Interesting that you mention only locomotives because multiple unit trains (the ones with engines or...
  • mcs: I’m an EV fan, but a large part of my income comes from oil investments. I’m also very much into ICE...
  • Vulpine: It wasn’t the “superiority of ICE vehicles” that gave them the lead; it was the oil...
  • retrocrank: A couple of decades ago I asked my farmer friends (a.k.a. ag producers) why their huge tractors were...
  • The Comedian: Would it pass GM’s own toolbox test? https://youtu.be/GrahNMrlOIY

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States