Chassis number: 2382043540
SCM Condition for this car: 1-

A couple of years ago, I spotted an used vw transporter vans for sale with a big sticker across the back that read, “HILLS ARE HARD.” With a whopping 70 horsepower pushing that brick up a grade, the sticker was a bit of an understatement. These vans are great for traveling with your family, that’s why people who don’t own one try to find an rv rental with a similar style, be sure to read the full info here.

But one thing that hasn’t slowed to a crawl is the upmarket climb of the VW Transporter.

We’ve all gotten used to seeing six-figure prices on vintage Sambas, Westfalias, Combis and pickups, but that was mostly limited to the 1960s and earlier. If your microbus was made after Jimi Hendrix burned his guitar, it was just an old van.

That ’70s van

But if you give it time, just about anything can become cool. Looking at it now, I kinda dig the plaid upholstery and suburban-tan paint job on this 1978 Volkswagen Combi Type 2 Campmobile.

This van is a trip through the Wayback Machine, complete with a Craig cassette deck in the dash and a Regency citizens band radio underneath. Breaker, breaker, good buddy, we got ourselves a primo ride right here. Rewind that John Denver tape for me, would ya?

The van’s history is brief. It was purchased in Aurora, CO, by a couple who didn’t realize it had a manual transmission. How do you miss that on the test drive?

VW had offered an automatic since 1973, so it’s not like they couldn’t have bought a different van. In any case, the gear-grinding original owners made one 900-mile road trip and then parked the van for 40 years. The next stop for this VW was Germany, where it received a scrub-up to as-new condition before going up for auction at Rétromobile Paris.

A leap for all VW vans?

The van sold for $111,138, which is not just a new high-water mark, but also a breathtaking jump up from any prior sale. Sure, the low mileage and completely virginal restoration make this the best 1978 Westfalia in the world, but is this proof of a trend?

I suspect so.

For example, a ’78 Westie in driver condition went for $17,600 in April 2018 at Mecum Houston (SCM# 6865848), and a clean ’77 van went for $11,550 at Branson, MO, just a couple weeks later (SCM# 6867999). But by September 2019, a 1975 23-window Samba re-creation failed to sell on a bid of $62,500 at Mecum Dallas (SCM# 6908720).

Consider this sale a warning. Your last chance to buy a van of this era at a sensible price is now. Unlike the cabin of a Transporter in winter, the market for 1970s Volkswagen campers is heating up fast.

— Jeff Zurschmeide ♦

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