1978 Volkswagen Bus VW

Price: US $4,900.00 Item location: Athens, Georgia, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Volkswagen
  • Model: Bus/Vanagon
  • Type: Van
  • Trim: roof hatch, cannons
  • Year: 1978
  • Mileage: 165,030
  • VIN: 2282042961
  • Color: Blue
  • Engine size: 2.0
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Interior color: Black
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1978 Volkswagen Bus/Vanagon roof hatch, cannons

Well, here goes my beloved 1978 Spy Bus. I bought it from a VW mechanic friend when he moved in 1997, and turned it into the rolling art project you now see. It's been in MOJO magazine, The New York Times, and all the local papers here in Athens too many times to remember. You will be asked to drive in parades. You will make friends at gas stations. That's John Lennon's son taking a selfie with it.
The good: It starts, runs, idles, shifts, and stops. It sat with a friend for many years and when I decided to start driving it again last year I put $2700 into getting it roadworthy. The tires and battery have fewer than 100 miles on them. It'll take you around town and to the store, no problem.
The bad: no AC, no heat, no radio. The key was lost in the mail in the 90s, so it starts by turning any key (I use a screwdriver) in the ignition barrel, then hitting a toggle switch on the dash. This means that it can't be locked unless you have a key made, replace the locks, or just fit it with hasps all around. Everyone in town knows it's mine so I've never had an issue with it, and my socket set has never been stolen. If you must transport diamonds through Camden or Detroit though, the rocket tubes on the roof are also storage pods which unscrew. The roof hatch also does not lock, but could easily be fitted with a crossbar to block it off. The driver's side window doesn't roll up or down, it's just propped in place with a bar. There is a long hairline crack on the passenger side of the windscreen. It has been epoxied, but I just want to include every detail I can. The interior lights don't work, so I fitted it with magnetic LED lights throughout. The horn works intermittently. It's not like they won't see you coming. She deserves a train or truck horn, anyway. The fuel gauge worked briefly after getting it out of the shop last year, but then quit. I always keep it topped up with a gas can in the back. The handbrake could probably use tightening- I park on an incline and if I don't leave it in gear when I'm parked it'll creep a little.
The ugly: It's due for a rebuild. There are no oil spots underneath, but if you are in slow stop and go traffic or are going very far with it, you will see the smoke coming from the air inlets. I've just started using some anti-leak additive to the oil and haven't driven enough since then to see any effects, but it really needs the seals replaced. It's time. The rust. There were several areas of surface rust which I have ground, sanded, primed and repainted over the years, but there is a small patch of rust-through on the rear floor, and the door sills are toast (pictured.) I have no excuse for this, as I can weld and have all of the equipment to patch them, or at least fill them with Bondo. Not unexpected for an antique VW, though. Your feet aren't going through the floor and the frame is good.
Since I bought it in Georgia, and it was already an antique when i got it, I have only ever had a bill of sale for it. Please check the title regulations for your state.
I have to sell because my wife and I have 4 cars and a scooter between us, and unless you're Jay Leno, two antique cars is one too many. I really need to put all of my money and effort into either my Austin or my VW to make one perfect, and this time, the Austin won. I hope you can give this Bus the love it so richly deserves, and carry it forward for many years of enjoyment. It has been a wonderful part of my life, and I have met many good friends and dozens of kind strangers simply by virtue of being its pilot. Happy Bidding! (sniff)