Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Max Headroom: 1974 Volkswagen Type 2 High Top Camper

A good air-cooled VW camper for sale at a reasonable price is getting hard to find.  They were plentiful for decades and suddenly, within the last ten years or so, they became desirable and prized for their retro charm.  Buyers with real disposable income are going after the better examples and prices are beginning to reflect this.  Find this 1974 VW High Top Camper for sale in Valley, NE for $5,000 via craigslist.

These high-top versions make an even bigger visual impact than their pop-top counterparts.  Start with an already disproportionately tall profile.  Add another couple of feet on top of that and you have something that would be at home on the pages of a Dr. Seuss book.   

This example is said to have no rust and looks pretty clean and complete.  The engine has a leak that the seller is trying to track down, but this isn't a deal breaker.  There are a ton of crate engine options out there and vanquishing the leak may be a good opportunity to up the pony count.  You will want all the power you can get once you hit the on-ramp.

Keep you wits about you when piloting this loaf.  You will likely feel cross-wind gusts like you never have before.  Rest assured, however, that your presence on the highway and at the KOA will entertain road-weary travelers who will be glad your VW is there to break the monotony.  

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  1. This is a pretty odd setup. The high top roof is not a Westfalia option, most likely it's an Adventurewagon, but there were other suppliers of similar roof setups. Most of those included a full kitchen setup that had half of the kitchen on each side of the walk-through from the front seats. This camper has most of an actual Westfalia interior swapped in. It's from an early 70s model, and is missing the sink/icebox cabinet that would have been behind the passenger seat.

    The Westfalia's were built from a sunroof bus, the high tops had their roofs cut off (and done very poorly by a stoned guy with a sawzall from most of the ones I've seen and/or taken apart). It's a much bigger opening to the 'upstairs'. I doubt somebody swapped this roof on, it was likely the interior that came later.

    Cross-wind handling issues are usually the case of the wrong tires. These things are heavy. They have a high sidewall. Passenger tires are absolutely wrong. You need truck tires, and they must be able to take 40+ psi in the rear. There are only 2 or 3 proper tires even available for these vehicles these days, it makes all the difference in the world. Add an aftermarket heavy front sway bar and it's really not that big a deal. Wrong tires, and you think you'll die. Before I learned that, I had a gust of wind move me over an entire lane on I40 in AZ.

    Aftermarket collapsable pushrod tubes exist, if that's where the leak is coming from you don't even need to take the head off, much less take out the engine.

    All said, this is a pretty good price for this bus in the current market.

    1. In all likelihood it was a basic non poptop camper, to which the high roof option was added later.

    2. In all likelihood it was a basic non poptop camper, to which the high roof option was added later.

    3. So many weird things about this one. The body holes on the drivers side for utilities, don't look like a Westfalia, but the side windows wouldn't have been on a Adventure Wagon, those are Westfalia parts. My hunch is that this was an Adventure Wagon, that somebody had access to a 71-73 Westfalia parts car and swapped in the windows and most of the interior. Hard to say without looking at it in person, and it looks like it sold quickly.

  2. I've driven a couple of these (Westys and ASIs, not the fixed-top ones) and they worked fine.

    Still, if I'm spending real money on something to go stupid places I'm probably in one of the Quadravan descendants.

  3. Already gone! Probably could have asked $2k more.


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