Gus gets a friend

A few months after Gus arrived to our house, I was looking once again on craigslist. Not for anything in particular, mind you, but I am somewhat addicted to craigslist. I always search for VW buses, and their related parts. This time I came across this ad:

74 VW BUS rebuilt “pancake” engine – approx. 1700cc – $1500

I honestly don’t know why I contacted him. I think he had some other parts listed, so I sent him an email. Somehow it came up that he “also” had a bus for sale. Why the engine was listed and not the bus I don’t know. But, that’s craigslist for you. (if my wife knew how many of these type of emails I send out… :) – but this time things panned out)


Do you have any pictures of the stripped body bus? How are the panels (straight, rust, etc.)? Also, is it a rolling chassis? And, what exactly is left on it (mechanicals, dash, etc)?

Thanks, Steve

Hi Steve,

I am helping a friend sell it and am currently out of town. I can snap a few pictures when I get back Thursday. The Bus body appears to be in decent shape, with some surface rust here and there. I didn’t notice any major pitted out rust in the panels etc.. though I didn’t dig and I think the front end tends to be the main concern on the VW’s which i didn’t delve into. The inside appears to have had the camping package or something and it has been disconnected and is in the bus. The dash is in place, most everything has been disconnected though. couple of side windows were removed but we have them. The tranny is dropped, suspension disconnected and the parts are all in the bus. It will roll and is on the wheels/tires. Have the original title as well.

Feel free to give me a call if you would like to talk live: this was a rebuild project that never got off the ground it appears…

My #: 919-XXX-XXXX

Joe A.

Hi Joe,

Thanks for the quick reply! Is the front windshield free of cracks, that you can remember? (this is a key concept that we will discuss later – I wanted the bus primarily for a windshield for Gus, who had a cracked one) Also, do you have any idea what kind of price you (or he) would want for it? I’m looking for a parts bus for my ’78, and a lot of the parts are interchangeable. If you could send out pics when you get back Thursday I’d appreciate it.

Thanks again,


Hi Steve,

Sorry for the late response. I have attached some pictures of the Bus for you. If you can remove it from the property, she would likely just take 100 bucks for everything… We are headed out of town for the holiday, but will be back next week. just let me know…




How could I pass up this golden opportunity? The parts alone would probably be worth several times that. Now I had to convince my wife. Luckily, she has seen me turn several of these cheap car deals into extra money, so she was onboard. I would love to have a lot of land and buy up deals like this and then part them out.

My wife likes to point out that they have a name for this – junkyard.

It was time to enlist my neighbor again with the towing capabilities to go get the bus. We drove at night up to Wake Forest to get the bus. Before we left, I had talked to Joe A. about the bus. He said it had a Club on it, and he didn’t have the key. (Seriously, a Club? It was in a garage!) I told him that was fine – I would bring my grinder and cut it off. I again asked the condition of the bus, especially the front windshield. “Oh yeah, it doesn’t have any cracks in it.”

We finally found the house, and Joe A. met me outside.

The first thing he said to me was, “Dude, you’re gonna kill me!”

Me – “Why?”

Joe A. – “I broke the windshield right before you got here. I was trying to move the bus with the Club on the steering wheel, and the wheel spun around and the Club hit the windshield and broke it.”

Oh Joe A. Well, I was a little upset, but that fact didn’t deter me. My neighbor and I cut off the Club, and looked over the bus. It really was in pretty good shape. The previous owner had started to restore it, and it was in pieces. We hauled the bus home, and I started to inventory the stash.

There were a lot of goodies. All new parts!

Some other pics (notice the broken windshield in the first one):

I really liked this bus. It had good karma. It was covered in Grateful Dead stickers (shocker!) and had a Westy interior covered with pics of Jimi Hendrix and some hilarious bumper stickers. The front seat was really comfortable, and you could tell it had been in a lot of adventures. It smelled like hippies. But, it had to go eventually. I had plans to fix it up with a custom interior, but an impending move to Colorado forced me to sell it. So…I sold the transmission for $275, kept the new parts and the front bumper for Gus, and ended up selling the bus for $400 to a Jamaican guy (really!) who was going to fix it up.

I hope he did.

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