1974 Automatic Westfalia Hardtop Camper Price: $30,000 obo
I first laid eyes on this 1974 Hard top (Tintop) Automatic Westfalia Campmobile Camper in May of 2010. It was sitting at VolkSmith VW yard in San Antonio, Texas. The business had been partially closed for years but I was able to befriend the owner, John Whipple, and gain a closer look. By November 2010, I was the new owner of this well preserved, 53k mile, all original VW Bus. From then till now, I have been slowly restoring this well-deserving bus.
Not knowing why the bus sat dormant, I pulled the motor first to verify the low milage and to see if it was in good shape. I took it down to the short block and was satisfied with what I saw. It was reassembled blocking off the smog pump ports on the heads, rebuilt the carburetors, rebuilt the OG alternator, replaced all gaskets and seals, new oil cooler, rebuilt OG distributor, new cap, rotor and points, new plugs and plug wires, the tin was all cleaned and repainted. It was installed back into the bus and test started. It ran like and sounded like it was new.
Satisfied that the motor wasnt the issue, I test drove the bus around and found the transmission shifted fine. At this point, I committed to a ten-year restoration after moving from San Antonio, Texas to Kent, Washington. The bus was slowly stripped, parts were cleaned and evaluated. I learned and educated myself along the way on the Samba using vendors like Bus Depot with parts and pieces to be replaced. With the bus stripped, I chose a VW-related, VW enthusiast painter in Arlington, WA, Shelby Hendrickson at Aerotech coatings. The crew at Aerotech Coat blasted off all surface rust and paint from the exterior down to metal, repaired very small sections of rust down by the rockers under the C pillars from rear wing windows leaking, new battery tray and flat section under the front window. The rest of this very clean and straight body is 100% German steel as she left the factory.
It was then completely epoxy coat primed, acrylic filler used in any pitting along the drip rail and a very thin coat of filler in various spots to level it all out. PPG single stage L90D Pastel White, just as she was when new and a perfect match to the original interior paint.
Moving onto the interior, the original cabinets are in immaculate shape and have been retained. Even the factory workers grease pencil marks 59 have been retained. The original wood headliner was sanded and painted off white like original. The side interior panels, sliding door and rear hatch are new reproductions made to exact Westfalia wood grain pattern. The original underlay from the factory, under the new carpet, was retained and in excellent shape. New 6 mil plastic was used as a moisture barrier. All the seats have been reupholstered in exact matching, plaid blue camping material. The front seats also had the frames repainted and new foam cushions. The headrests, steering wheel, column, shift tree, and dash are original and unrestored. The pedestal mats were replaced with new.
When the bus was stripped and sent to paint, the engine bay received a new coat as well. It was fitted with a BN4 Eberspacher auxiliary gas cabin heater. The original motor was detailed once again, this time receiving professionally rebuilt carburetors. The automatic transmission was rebuilt by a gentleman that works for Rancho Transmission and now operates flawlessly.
The brakes in the back are new but the drums were in excellent shape. The fronts received new calipers, rotors, and pads. All soft lines at each corner were replaced. A new master was fitted to the original ATE vacuum assist can, and new rubber line was put in up to the reservoir.
A Just Campers sliding window was put in at the passenger rear and that full glass was moved over to the driver rear to replace the wing window type, ensuring no future leaks will happen. The front doors were completely rebuilt with new rubber and trim. The rest of the stationary window and door/hatch openings received new German rubber when available. The Jalousie windows only has new exterior gasket and new screen.
The bumpers now have a deluxe bumper rubber, the rims are powder coated black with BFGoodrich AT tires, there is a Westfalia tow hitch at the rear and a full-length fantasy Westfalia type roof rack and ladder.
This was a very clean and honest low mileage bus when I started. I wanted to retain that, keeping thigs as original & stock as possible. I did add certain items that are subtle, rare, and compliment the bus. It does need a few things finished but is ready to go right now. Ive put a list together below of closer details. It was documented on its own Samba build thread. If you read through that, you will be taken along with me on my thoughts, accomplishments, ideas and failures along the way restoring this fun 74. It is a completely transparent build log. Showing how things looked along the way, after and the final driving bus. Im sure not to see one in the original shape like this in the future. The new owner will get a clean, properly restored bus meant to drive that should last for many more years. Thank you for the consideration.
The link below is to the rebuild thread on TheSamba.com.
Walk Around Vid -
BFGoodrich AT tires no longer available in 14
Powder coated black original steel rims
New brakes rotors, soft lines and NOS calipers
New master cylinder with original ATE brake booster can
New rear brake slave cylinders with OE German drums
Light undercoating protection
Complete exterior sand blast to bare metal, epoxy primed and painted with PPG single
stage paint in original matching L90D Pastel White paint
New side markers and reflectors
Full length after market fantasy Westfalia roof rack and ladder
1975 Westfalia trailer hitch. Factory M Code option
Deluxe bumper rubbers front and rear. Factory M Code option
BN4 fully functional rebuilt Eberspacher gas heater correctly installed per factory spec.
Factory M Code option
Original motor never rebuilt from factory with 52k miles on it. It has been pulled,
inspected, cleaned, all exterior gaskets replaced and reinstalled with a rebuilt original
alternator, new oil cooler and rebuilt carburetors
New deep cycle 12 battery
Rebuilt automatic transmission with reconditioned original German CV joints
Front doors completely rebuilt with new rubber and OE hardware where possible
Original key for ignition and all doors, locks
All new rubber on every door and window, light seal, signal
New front lenses and NOS rear taillight assemblies lens and bucket
Headlights are original to the bus as found sealed beams and original, cleaned
headlight trim rings
Jalouse have been cleaned, no rebuilt with new exterior gasket installed
Original wood headliner has been sanded and painted in stock color and texture, new
foam insulation put in above it
Dash was pulled out to paint the exterior while out was completely cleaned, metal
top painted, new heat vents installed all original fresh air ducting cleaned in and out
NOS wiper switch with intermittent wiper function installed as dealer/factory.
Pneumatic windshield washer works with all new hose. Factory M Code option
Ambulance fans/Fresh air fans installed factory M Code option
Deluxe clock. Factory M Code option
Original radio delete remains no radio ever installed no antenna either
New sun visors and clips
OE seatbelts with new hangers
Front seats newly repop covers from NLA. Headrests are original. Rear seat & rear
trunk pad reupholstered with OE German material I purchased years ago. Carpet
front & rear is new repop. The side panels Driver length, rear hatch passenger
quarter and slider panels all from NLA. All cabinets are original Westfalia and OE to
New Bus Depot pedestal rubber, tops and wrap arounds
An OE stool and Westfalia box have been added M Code options and or Deluxe
Original collapsible spare tire, shore line, mosquito net, blue Coleman acc air pump
and tool bag complete with all tools and jack
Extra rear lap belts to seat three across
New aftermarket curtains
Rear trunk area Jail Bars
Rear passenger window is now a JK slider stationary glass moved to driver side to
delete wing window and ash tray
All accessible interior spaces have been sound deadened