Thursday, October 16, 2014

5k: Crew Cabtastic: 1978 Volkswagen Bus Custom Transporter

Ever see a car that is oddly well executed, despite how badly it could've turned out given its mission statement?  This next feature could be described at the world's largest crew cab pickup or a shorty bus with a bed...whatever you call it, it came out really well given the humble beginning as a crushed bus.  Find this 1978 Volkswagen Bus Custom Transporter currently bidding for $3,250 reserve-not-met, located in Rapid City, SD via eBay.

That is one hell of a large crew cab. The bed seems pretty small but maybe useful for hauling engines, firewood, parts of other deceased VWs, sheep, etc.  The story goes that a building fell on this Bus and caused damage to the roof that the seller decided to fix with some customization.  The detail work around the rear window is well done and even features an opening rear hatch.

The 2.0L fuel injected Type IV engine is really not bad at all for a VW flat-4.  It is reasonably peppy in town and out on the open road. The general consensus around the DT "office" is that the drivability of a '77-'78 2.0 Bus is great unless you encounter 40+mph Oklahoma wind gusts.  The seller is one the right track with his bumper sticker:  "I know, a Porsche motor bolts right in."

Anybody else notice the custom fishing pole holders in the ceiling?


  1. Cool vehicle, but there are two carseats in back (for kids). Frankly, in the era of 5000 lb SUVs driven by distracted drivers I wouldn't use such a vehicle for family duties. Side impact and rollover protection, please.

  2. I really like the fact that keeping the functional side sliding door and the rear tailgate creates lots of opportunities to reconfigure the bed and 1/2 cab on short notice. Remove the bench and add/insert a false floor for a longer slide-in bed, reinstall a middle seat facing backwards for 5 passenger seating in the back with a pop-up table between them. Remove the seats and set up a platform for a sleeping area when camping (and still have room for stuff int he bed and under the bed. Or, .....

  3. It's like the hippie version of this:

  4. I have some experience with 30 - 40 mph Death Valley wind gusts. In the '78 Westy I rented, I had to keep the bus centered over the yellow lines on 2-lane (total) highways to leave enough room for error and not get blown off the road.

    This DIY DoKa should be less of a sail than a full-tilt Westy camper and hence I'd wager a lot less sketchy to drive in mild to severe winds.

    1. I guess if we get the slide rule out, it would yield a modest benefit from side gusts, no change on headwinds and get less of a push from a tail wind. Either way, you'll still need a wind reading to know how much rudder/sail to adjust as you enter/exit tunnels or extended underpasses. Even semis going the other way can block enough wind to wake you up. But there's something really relaxing about resting your forearms on the steering wheel as your give it useless 1/8th turns from side to side :)

  5. Pretty cool homemade Doka! With respect to the standard ' don't drive in the wind' comments that always pop up around VW buses, I've driven them for decades now. It's really not THAT bad... and experienced bus pilot knows to find a semi-truck that's running empty, and drive 40 yards back. When he moves over half a lane, you know to get ready :-)

    (I use the same trick on a bike when crossing windy passes)


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