The Deluxe variant of the VW Transporter (commonly called Microbus) came in either 15, 21, or 23 window variants. The 15-window variant was the rarest as it was exclusive to the American market. With the recent desire for 21/23 window buses, many of the 15-window examples became donors for those conversion projects making these 15-windows even rarer.
Although we do not know all the early history of this bus, it was in California for it’s early life and possibly new. It then went to Washington. It did spent some of its life in Idaho and Wisconsin. We ended up connecting with the previous owner in Wisconsin (owned the bus from the early 2000s to around 2008) and he shared the following details:
“A buddy of mine in Spokane knew about the Bus. It was owned by a gentleman who did sound work for Hollywood. The audio for the dune buggy beach scenes in the original Thomas Crown Affair movie were recorded using this 15 Window. There is no proof of this, just stories passed along to my buddy before the gentleman passed away and we purchased the Bus from his widow.
My buddy lowered the Bus and made it a driver for me.”
The Bus was/is OG paint above the belt line and had been painted orange on the lower section of the Bus, so my paint buddy did the body and paint work, spraying the lower section in Sealing Wax Red. Then an old pin-stripper known as “Sprocket” designed and hand painted the Johnson Speed Shop logos on the Bus. Huge bummer that the next owner removed them…but it was his Bus at the time, so I guess he could do what he wanted.”
Fortunately, based on the originality and survivor condition, this 15-window was garaged and not driven in severe weather conditions. There are no significant signs of corrosion/rot or prior damage on the frame and body.
In 2008, this bus came out to Southern California where it was sold to a Los Angeles area VW enthusiast. This owner is a fabricator and operates a performance auto business. He was impressed with how dry and straight the frame and body were as well as its originality. At the time, the only metalwork he noticed was some sheet metal replacement on the floor of the cargo area. He kept this bus for the next 8 years and continued to improve it. Highlights of work performed during his care include:
- Removed interior and headliner
- Sanded down any areas with surface rust
- Preserved the patina with clear coat
- Replaced interior door seals and door hinges
- Replaced all electrical and charging components
- All new wiring
- New 12V charging components
- Pertronix electronic ignition system
- All new correct fuel lines
- New axles and covers
- New shifter bushings and rod end adapters
- Complete Wagonwest 4 inch narrowed adjustable front beams w/lowering spindles
- Wilwood front disc brake calipers and rotors on wide 5 pattern
- New rear brake drums system
- New two-port master cylinder
- New emergency brake cables
- Wagonwest rear adjustable spring plates
- All new shocks
- Original steering box inspected/lubricated – very little play
Also, during this owner’s care, he rebuilt the 1600cc engine as well as the transmission. At this point, he decided to focus on Alfa Romeos and other similar cars and ended up selling this bus at the end of 2014 to a vintage VW dealer in the Riverside County area. They felt that the stock engine performance didn’t match the looks, so they upgraded the drivetrain with the following:
- 1914cc performance engine upgrade
- 34 EPC dual Empi carburetors
- Exhaust system upgrade
- Generator upgraded to an alternator
- 3.73 “freeway flyer” transmission
- Dual underside mounted oil coolers with electric fans
This owner sold the bus that same year to a local windsurfer enthusiast who just wanted a cool “surf bus.” He only had it for about a year. During his brief ownership, he redid the interior with the bamboo thatched look. Shortly thereafter he sold the bus to Rod Piazza of Riverside, California.
Rod is an accomplished blues harmonica player and singer with his band, the Mighty Flyers. He is also a long-time vintage VW enthusiast and has owned many examples over the years. He mostly did routine services and minor repairs during his tenure with it. He kept this bus for the next 5 years and used it for weekend cruising. During his ownership, being a musician, he installed a new Bluetooth sound system. Rod sold the bus at the end of 2020 to the current owner.
The current owner is based in the Los Angeles Beach area and a long-time car friend of ours as well as a true enthusiast. His passion for fun hotrods knows no end. We’ve sold many vintage cars for this owner, and they are always well cared for and a blast to drive. This 15-window is no exception. Unfortunately, his storage and time constraints as well as his building/refurbishing a couple of homes have forced him to let a few of his toys go. Besides biannual oil services, he just had significant brake work performed a few months ago, which included:
- Troubleshoot brakes binding
- Restore master cylinder
- Install new Wilwood front brake pads
- Disassemble and re-surface caliper pistons and bores
- Fabricate a custom brake line for the RPV rear drums
- Adjust rear drums (both left and right)
- Realign existing front brake lines
- Flush brake system with DOT4 brake fluid
Recent oil service schedule (every 6 months regardless of miles) using Castrol 10w-40:
- Oil service on 1/21
- Oil service on 7/21
- Oil service on 1/22
- Oil service on 7/22
- Oil service on 1/23
- Oil service on 7/23
This bus has a great presence with its patina/stance vibe. The body is very straight with no signs of prior damage. The Sealing Wax red part of the paint has a clear coat on top to protect/save it. The paint around the windows is original. The roof was repainted by the prior owner and is a decent enough paint job. There is some slight surface corrosion here and there near where the roof meets the body, but it’s not significant. The trim is in good shape. The passenger rear bumper is missing the rubber insert in the trim. All the exterior lights work. The glass is all original except the split safari windows/windshield which were replaced some time ago. The glass is showing some delamination and the driver sliding glass is cracked as is the front passenger wing window. The bus is riding on 15” wheels that are in good shape with no major flaws. They are wearing American Classic white wall radial tires by Coker with near full life remaining (size 185/55-15). They are date stamped at the end of 2018 and were installed in 2019/2020. The brakes have just been gone through and are at near full life.
The interior is very tidy and recently had a light refresh. The front seats and rear bench have recently been reupholstered with the correct finish vinyl. There are no signs of wear on the seats. The headliner has been trimmed in bamboo and is in good shape. The carpet and door panels have been refinished in a bamboo-thatched look and show minimal wear. The aluminum “jail bars” in the rear cargo area are in great condition and complete. The radio has a separate power switch and works/sounds great. An oil pressure gauge and tachometer have been added and both work as does the original speedometer and fuel gauge. The clock does not keep time. Some of the interior lights work as well.
This bus is one of the best driving ones I’ve experienced. It’s legitimately quick for this era car, especially a VW product. It’s not an on/off switch, but rather very easy to modulate speed allowing you to drive alongside modern traffic with little effort. It starts easily on the first try (thanks to the 12V conversion) and holds an even idle. Once it reaches operating temperature, it really scoots. The addition of a tachometer is welcome with this new power. The transmission shifts with such ease that it’s hard to believe it is over 60 years old. Shifting is smooth with no grinding and the clutch engages properly. The upgraded brakes are also up to the task of the enhanced power as they easily scrub speed while keeping the bus stable. The handling is decent enough considering the ride height, which will hit the bump stops on larger road irregularities while at a higher speed. However, the compromise is minimal considering the vibes this bus puts out. It’s well known in the Type 2 community and needs to get back out there for others to enjoy.
California registration is current to the beginning of 2024 and it is exempt from CA smog testing.
This bus comes with 3 ignition keys (no keys for door locks), 1 square key for gas/engine covers, vintage guitar case, new car cover still in the box, and partial complete original tool kit.
**Note: VIN and other numbers withheld to protect against fraud. All numbers including VIN, Engine, and color will be provided to serious buyers.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Paul at 714-335-4911 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This vehicle is sold “as-is” with no warranty, written or implied. In some cases, the vehicle does have the remaining factory warranty still in place and will be described above if that is the case. All taxes and fees are the responsibility of the buyer and are not included in the listed price. All vehicle sales will require a $170 administration fee. The vehicle listed is described to the best of our ability. The information is based on our own research and statements made to us by the previous owner(s). To the best of our knowledge, the above information is accurate. We are not responsible for errors in our description of options or any other details. The above-mentioned vehicle is used and can be expected to show some wear and tear. It is not a brand-new vehicle. We do welcome all local pre-purchase inspections on vehicles in order to verify their condition. For payment, we accept bank transfers, cashier’s checks, or cash. Checks take up to 10 business days to clear. The vehicle and title will be held until all funds are cleared and verified. Bank transfers usually only take 24 hours.
Note: For out-of-state buyers, California does not offer temporary tags/registration. Each State typically has a grace period to allow buyers to drive their new out-of-state acquisition to their local DMV for registration. Please check your State’s DMV website for more details. Also, California requires us to surrender standard plates less than 30 years old back to the state and will not be delivered with the vehicle. Personalized plates stay with the seller