Peace, Love and Class, Baby!: 1965 Volkswagen Westfalia “Tin-Top” Camper Bus

  • December 12, 2020
Why We Like It

Inspired by a sketch penned by Dutch VW importer Ben Pon, Volkswagen introduced its Type 1(Beetle)-based T1 Type 2 Transporter in 1949, almost immediately prompting Westfalia GmbH to design its now famous pop-up camper system to fit the new bus. A wonderful way to travel, it was equipped with dual-purpose seating/sleeping surfaces, kitchenettes, and the airy comfort of a pop-up roof allowing some stand-up room, Westfalia-equipped VW buses are the gold standard by which camper conversions are judged today. Combine a “Westy’s” utility and quality with the avant-garde, counterculture looks of the classic original (1949-1967) VW Type 2, and you have a useful postwar motoring icon the whole family can enjoy.

Peace, Love and Class, Baby!: 1965 Volkswagen Westfalia “Tin-Top” Camper Bus 00P0P gTDKz1bDqOZ 0jm0ew 1200x900While this 1965 VW Type 2 is a “TinTop” (i.e. non pop-up), it’s still an original Westfalia Camper and in many ways more practical for a fun weekend getaway or cruise to the beach. A California bus purchased by the seller from the original owner, it was recently repainted Code L380 Turquoise and L87 Pearl White. The interior was completely reupholstered too, and in our opinion the total package appears totally groovy and classy. It retains the original engine and drivetrain, and is reported to run and drive great, needing only a tune up as advertised. The seller makes a concerted effort to describe this “Westy” as a nice weekend driver, not showroom perfect, but we have to say that based on its two-owner California history and how it looks in the listing photos, we’re not sure we’d need any better bus.

Peace, Love and Class, Baby!: 1965 Volkswagen Westfalia “Tin-Top” Camper Bus 00N0N gBlKQ7tehkU 0jm0ew 1200x900

Nothing more ubiquitously pulls smiles quite like a nice Type 2 Volkswagen. Even experienced collectors like Seinfeld keep them in their stables, but despite the somewhat astronomical prices that some of the more rare variants bring, why they’ve maintained popularity for 7+ decades is not because of their collectability, but because they’re all about fun and the great outdoors. Their huge following has yielded not only a robust market, but plenty of restoration expertise and ready parts availability from good suppliers. While not even close to being powerful or fast, buses like this one transcend space and time and conjure rich images of happy days, often including memories of having to push-start one your friends or improvising repairs made far from your garage

Peace, Love and Class, Baby!: 1965 Volkswagen Westfalia “Tin-Top” Camper Bus 00404 7cgKDk4xanP 0jm0ew 1200x900This one looks great and we’d love to learn more about its tenure with the first owner. “Westies” have been made available through all VW van generations and they have a brand presence strong enough to soldier on indefinitely. Predictably, values are highest for the original 1949-1967 Type 2 years, but prices are robust for succeeding generations as well. Original “Westies” are rare today and few and far between at auctions. A quick scan of the market reveals only a couple of T1 Type 2 Westfalia campers offered or sold over the past few years on Bring a Trailer, and only occasionally will one appear at a high-end conventional auction. They’ve often commanded high prices, but not with enough regularity to be considered comparable sales. Ultimately we feel it’d be hard to find a nicer one at this price point, so in our opinion this two-owner California example is at least fair market at or near the seller’s list price.

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