1977 VW Westfalia Original Paint & Interior, German Engine Rebuild

1977 Volkswagen Bus/Vanagon

Technical specifications of Volkswagen Bus/Vanagon 1977

Price: US $60,000.00
Condition: Used
Item location: Ashland, Oregon, United States
Make: Volkswagen
Model: Bus/Vanagon
SubModel: Weekender
Type: Van Camper
Year: 1977
Mileage: 86000
VIN: 2372122680
Color: Mango Original Paint
Engine size: 2000 cc Mahle rebuild
Number of cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Plaid Green Yellow Original Fabric
Vehicle Title: Clear
You are interested? Contact the seller!

Car description

77 VW Westfalia Bus - 4th Owner Wanted

Patina Queen. RARE Great Original Condition, very well cared for. Too pretty to refinish (yet). Turning 42, looking for a 4th owner.

This Bus appears in a Fox Searchlight Film, WILD (2014) starring Reese Witherspoon as part of the background scene depicting the day Cheryl Strayed (author the the book WILD) hiked through Ashland, OR on the day Jerry Garcia died, and there was a gathering of hippies to mourn and celebrate. She shines in her role, keep an eye out for her at the 1hr 30min mark (see screen capture photo) Reese can't take her eyes off of her, as she's a piece of history.

I became the proud 3rd owner in 1997 when I spotted this bus for sale at a neighbor’s house in Oregon. It was perfect in every critical way, no rust, all original everything, no accidents and no “modifications”. The original engine was up to 189k so I switched the 1800cc original engine with a masterfully built much stronger 2000cc air cooled all German Mahle parts engine with all the bells and whistles (20 years of receipts).

I had a better than new stock engine built and installed in 97, and all other cables, brakes, seals, shocks, clutch, CV joints, tires, hoses, electronic ignition, wires, relays, battery, etc.... to bring it back to better than new condition. I paid careful attention to regular maintenance and supervision to keep it in great condition.

When I replaced the engine in I also had the gas tank puled, cleaned and repainted (inside and out), installed a new Gas Level Meter (still works great!) no cut holes, replaced all the engine mounts, the clutch and plate, a number of electronic sensors/relays, fuel injection parts, gas and electric lines just to be sure that it was perfect in the hard to reach places. I bet most re-pops didn't clean and prime the fuel tank or have a working fuel gauge, ask around.

It currently has 4 full tread “C” (or truck) rated tires, the best for a Bus, giving it lots of stability, traction and handling. There is a nice spare tire and a mount on the front, above the bumper. I also had KYB Gas adjust shocks installed all around so the bus rights itself on the corners and handles great on bumpy roads. A must!

This Bus deserved the best in engine restoration to match it’s original beauty so I had Master Mechanic Tony Bonsell of (Euro-Mec Ashland, OR) build me an all high precision/performance German Manufactured Mahle pistons, heads, cranks & cams, 2000 cc engine, electronic ignition, hydraulic lifters, all top of the line.

Tony is known for decades locally as a VW air cooled master (former air cooled Porsche race car builder (same engine as this bus) & perfectionist). This bus was a reliable daily commuter for 10 years then a reliable occasional weekend warrior for the last 10 years. It has been consistent, smooth and very powerful it’s whole life. Starts right up every time and sounds like a well tuned sewing machine in idle.

I have 20 years of receipts of high quality parts, work and maintenance with Tony. The engine is still so strong at 86k miles that it still cruses the freeway at 75mph easily and climbs steep Oregon Mountains at 55mph. It was tuned up recently and got another set of wires, battery and starter after sitting quietly for a few years, starts and runs quite smooth and easy. I replaced the engine when the odometer read 89k miles, and it currently reads 75k miles so the engine has run a flawless 86k miles. It was originally a CA bus and I put an original EGR system back in it when I passed smog and had it registered in CA for a few years, should be all good to return. If you are from CA you know how much this matters, for others it just means it's a bigger resale market.

Current photos show All Original Paint and no body work done to it, it has a few minor dings, no real rust issues (little rock chip marks in the usual spots, barely rusted) as it’s been in a mostly dry / no salt climate for 40 years, in covered parking at least half its life in northern California and southern Oregon. This Bus is very pretty and turns heads every time it’s out of storage. People cheer when you pass them on the freeway!

No deep corrosion anywhere inside, outside, underside. The red stripe w/gold accent was done at the dealership in 1977, and though mostly faded, gives it character and history. The front seats were redone in a grey fabric before I got it, and they are still comfortable and blend in nicely. I think the original fabric is underneath (not sure, not willing to cut into them, as they are still free of holes or tears), but they are still padded and well done so I never changed them. It has original seat belts and beds for 4.

I refinished all of the cabinets to real wood with a nice cherry stain finish; no more VW plastic wood grain. This is a rare Westphalia Weekend Edition so It has a built in cooler (not fridge, but works great) and no stove or propane (a Coleman works great). I reconfigured the main cabinet to an additional bench seat so the “living room” seats 4, with the swivel passenger chair. Now all 4 passengers have a place to sit & sleep, so nice on a cold or rainy day!

I replaced all the interior plastic doors, walls, and ceiling panels with real wood mahogany cabinet grade panels, which both warms the look and feel and complements the original “mango” Moreno Yellow colored paint, which is lighter than orange and darker then yellow.The “living room” has a warm and cozy feeling even on a rainy day and the real wood surfaces dampen the road noise and warm up the stereo sound.

I installed space age thin, but effective insulation in every available wall, floor and ceiling spot keeping it quieter and warmer/cooler all year. The heater works great but you will need to find one small replacement hose & tube to get the full power from the fan to both heater boxes. I drove it comfortably in 30 degree winter conditions for years and the windows even defrosted.

All the bed cushions are in great shape and ready to sleep on. Full size bed “upstairs and downstairs”. Upper bed fold-able for max headroom.

The original canvas needed to be replaced so I just replaced it with a brand new top of the line German canvas 3 window with the original color! I wish i had the 3 zip up screened windows years ago, so much nicer and still looks original. New pop top Seals all the way around. Better than ever! The pop top mechanism and bed work perfect and the bed fabric is still like new. It has a full set of original curtains that work great for total privacy and sleeping in late while camping. Including the full front window snap on curtain. It also comes with a screen that snaps into the open back door for ventilation.

I just put in a fresh new forest green rug, like the original. The Stereo was working fine a few years back when I stopped driving it as much, not sure what is up with it today (power?, it's an Awia from 1997 probably time for a Bluetooth update anyway). The Blaupunkt Speakers will still sound amazing with any system, and I’m throwing in a sweet pair of Pioneer speakers I had mounted in the Rear, I was going to keep them but decided to include them too, they sound great in there. We’re onto our portable Bluetooth systems these days.

This bus is ready to go, starts, stops, shifts, climbs, idles, cruses, signals, lights, locks and camps with ease. It’s ready for your care and finishing and personal touches. I expect the engine to go strong for at least another 100k if cared for (not making any promises here, but it feels as strong as ever and has been flawless so far). It was a reliable daily commuter and loves to be driven regularly. I can’t spend as much time with it these days, my goal is to sell it and build a tiny house, so it’s time for a 4th owner. I’m tempted to hang on to it for another decade, or two as i can see where this market is headed, but if you're serious make me an offer that is hard to refuse.

This bus has a lot of life still left in all parts of it. It has been animal free (I’m allergic to everything) and cigarette smoke free since before I got it, no mold, no funk, no hippie smells, no corrosive rust, no frame damage & body straight, no accidents, transmission strong, clutch smooth, brakes strong, E-brake strong. There are a few minor scratches visible in the photos and the driver door has a light dent from being opened too far (as you can see in the WILD movie), but nothing requiring paint or immediate attention. What is remarkable is how clean she is after 40 years of use. There are tiny speck marks on the front from hitting bugs and moths over the years except behind the spare tire (proving she’s a survivor of many road trip) but because of the climate and storage there is no real rust, just the patina of wind and rain. Not much sun fade on the paint or fabric, stored inside for years now.

I think it would be a shame to repaint it at this point, maybe someday, but she shines up so pretty and is such a survivor the patina is as rare as anything. Of course, that’s up to you what you do with it, it’s an easy full makeover, but that could wait another 20 years in the right hands. The amazing thing is you know what you are getting, no paint job is covering up history of accidents, rust or other color, you can clearly see every day of it’s life. I don’t see too many of these left, they seem to be more rare than a new paint job, which is nice, but nothing like good original paint. I’m looking for an offer that reflects and hopefully will preserve and honor the rarity of the condition. She still really shines up beautifully (as you can see in the photos) with a wash and wax all the way around. I hope you have a garage for her.

Known Needs

Tin Heater tube to connect the fan to the heater box (simple, cheap part to find)

Eventually a new muffler, works fine now but getting old as they do.

Front Windshield lightly cracked, does not interfere with driving.

Side mirror glass (I like the convex inserts I have in for visibility, but the glass mirrors fell out when the seals wore out and could cheaply and easily be replaced if you prefer)

New Owner

Comes with:

3 VW Manuals

All Original Curtains

Back Door Snap Screen

New Battery

Authentication of use in WILD Movie


Swivel Seat

Clothes Closet

12v Fluorescent ceiling lamp

110-125 volt AC Electrical hook up receptacle

Double Outlets

Master switch

Circuit Breaker

22 years of receipts, thousands in quality parts and labor

Extra, Cables, Wires, Fuses, Parts

Tire Chains

Spare Tire Front Mounted

Tire Jack

Tire Iron

Jumper cables

Swivel Table Top (no arm)

As is sale, all sales final. Although I have represented the condition to the best of my knowledge, I am not responsible for any level of condition or quality of vehicle in this sale. With any antique vehicle, get an inspection and regular maintenance. The buyer is responsible for the condition of the vehicle upon purchase & ownership and for shipping. If you'd like to arrange a walk thru please contact me.

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