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1978 Champagne first bus
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secretsubmariner
Champagne Wrangler


Joined: January 08, 2011
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Location: Tulsa, OK
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: 1978 Champagne first bus Reply with quote

I looked at a 1978 champagne edition bus today. The interior was incredible and nearly complete, but I'm having trouble locating some of the pieces I need. It's a 2.0 liter engine, fuel injected. New transmission 5k ago, been parked for a while though. Anyway, what are the front panels under the dash that hide the backs of the headlights called? Is it possible to locate these, original or after-market? It needs a dome-light and side mirrors, too... Does anyone know of a good website that sells these things? I apologize, I'm new to the scene here, but I love this website! The bus has been side-swiped down the driver's side, I'm expecting the body work to be expensive, but does anyone know anything about it? The doors open fine and the glass is all present. The dents are down the side of the van, but most of the damage is below the window-line. it affects the entire driver's side middle panel, and the lower rear driver's side panel. the back is unaffected, and the driver's door is slightly dented but it's fine otherwise. I wish I had pics....sorry haha

I'd really love some advice before I make a purchase like this. Thanks!


Last edited by secretsubmariner on Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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jtauxe
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything is fixable.

The biggest consideration is lack of rust. From your description, rust is not an issue. It needs some body work -- but it does not sound that tough, if one could remove the cabinetry and get to the inside of the panel to straighten things out.

The panels at the front are kickpanels (guess why!) and are available on the aftermarket. I'd recommend the ABS panels made by Werksberg (a Samba member).

Parts? All you mention are available, more or less. Check out the Samba classifieds, or one of many VW parts houses -- many have Web stores. I'm sure people will chime in with their favorites.

Read the sticky on what to know about buying a bus, but don't be too intimidated by the long checklist. No bus will be perfect, and most all problems are solvable with enough determination and money. Smile

Figure out how to post pics and give us a look!
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John
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secretsubmariner
Champagne Wrangler


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much, your input is beyond cash value to me! Kick Panels! Genius. The bus I'm looking at is actually on here, the title of the add is 78 champagne, and the location is Tulsa, OK. If you want to see it anyway, i feel weird posting someone else's pictures on here, as it isn't mine yet haha[/img]
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1977_L63H_P27
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Personally, I hope you've talked him down a bit on this one. But if you like it, go for it. As for the pics...if they're on this website, they're fair game for posting Razz

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1074303
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jtauxe
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks good to me. In fact, you could drive it just as it is -- with the side swipe and all -- until you get everything else sorted out.

And if it actually runs -- then $2500 is not a bad deal. Ask the owner to put a battery in it, so that can actually be driven.

It'd be nice to find someone in Tulsa to go by and take a look and do a test drive for you.
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rockhounder
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont know about that price 2500 seems a bit high for the damage i see.
I am a champagne fan thou so maybe if you just had to have a champagne then i would consider it.
I have seen a bunch of them for sale recently maybe look around a bit more keep your options open.
On a side note i got a spare champagne dash not long ago not sure what to do with it just yet.
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1977_L63H_P27
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jtauxe wrote:
Looks good to me. In fact, you could drive it just as it is -- with the side swipe and all -- until you get everything else sorted out.

And if it actually runs -- then $2500 is not a bad deal. Ask the owner to put a battery in it, so that can actually be driven.

It'd be nice to find someone in Tulsa to go by and take a look and do a test drive for you.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Seeing the AFM pulled loose from the S-boot doesn't fill me with confidence that this bus will start up with a fresh battery. The seller even says "Battery and a little work will make this bus a driver". I wouldn't pay even $2000 for it unless it would run. And BTW, the seller and the OP are both in Tulsa. Peace!
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busdaddy wrote:
...and try a few chubby ones until you find one you like.

1977 Westfalia P27 Green Bay Bus
you can't spell Volkswagen without SWAG
M-code Plate
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busdaddy
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are buses really that rare around Tulsa? That's a $500 bus at best Shocked maybe $800 if it runs and the compression tests well.
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SGKent Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

we bought a 1977 close to that in damage. I paid to have the body work done. Cost about 8K. Bids were $20K, $10K and $5K. We discovered rust on the top which took the $5K bill to $8K. I trusted that the front and back suspensions could wait. When I began to look really closely they both needed overhaul as did the entire brakes. Our whole interior was shot - if all you need are the front panels those are easy and inexpensive. Our seals all had to be replaced, yours probably will too if they are orginal. We had a sunroof which added about $1000 to the repairs. Our engine was bad and by the time I was done welding tin, replacing broken this and that etc we had $5K in the engine. Your engine is an unknown but from the photos it has not been well maintained and by the black shroud it is not original. Time will tell on that one. We also replaced all the lighting as it was cracked and worn out. It you only have to pay for the body work and then clean up the motor and replace front kick panels IMHO you will be at least $10,000 into that bus above your purchase price unless you are a body man by trade. Offer $1000 MAX on the bus as it will be worth about $12,000 if you go to sell it restored in this market. If you make it like new, figure $25,000 value if this recession ends or $12,000 to $15,000 if the recession continues - and it will take some time to find a buyer in that price range. Everyone is looking to find a bus for $2000 that they can get going for less than $1500 more - that is in part why there are always hundreds of buses out there f0r sale under $5K with new paint and no proof what is under the paint. It is also why there is a rattle can / tremclad thread here, and why we get lots of threads where a bus engine or trans is frankenstein. Good luck.
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jtauxe
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that dose of realism, Steve.
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SGKent Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jtauxe wrote:
Thanks for that dose of realism, Steve.


John - it came as a surprise and dose of realism to us when the bills started adding up. That is why bus owners now need to carefully consider what their bus is really worth. People who bought a bus 10 - 15 years ago and restored it over that perod really don't have a feel for what the costs are today truly restoring one of these. The rare find is still out there and we all dream of it but the reality is otherwise. For example - there hasn't been a clean bus offered here in the Sacramento area I don't think for less than $10K in the last year. Lots of rattle can I started this project buses for $2000 but no completed ones.
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secretsubmariner
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject: so many replies! Reply with quote

Thank you all for your feed back, it's proven extremely helpful. And believe it or not, yes it is incredibly hard to find a bus in Tulsa that's running and not a rusted out bucket of poo. I talked to the owner and he's going to get it running before I purchase, and after it runs I'm taking it straight to a VW shop to get it looked at before we finish the purchase... and the body work advice is nice to hear but it sounds kind of bus-specific...I'm thinking about hammering it out as best as I can just enough to re-attach the inside panels down the driver's side. As long as the interior is good and straight I don't mind some dents! Thank you to all who replied to my post, I will update again once the time comes around to pay the tab on it!
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Blaubus
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

looking that bad, i wouldnt buy it for 1500 even if it runs. and you really cant justify painting unless panel replacement happens, and it needs paint.

BTW runs doesnt always mean that much. runs for now...

if there isnt much in your area, go somewhere else- and you might even have fun exploring outside your area. i know i did. find a bargain elsewhere- the price difference will buy you a bus ticket and much more!

at 2800, heres is a good lookin one in missouri that also doesnt run:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1068523

or at 2950, one that does run with leaking oil and looks real good in arkansas:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1065094

300- 450 is thrifty bodywork.
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secretsubmariner
Champagne Wrangler


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:15 am    Post subject: new suggested vans Reply with quote

those other vans are pretty sweet... although I've had a van (not a vw) that leaked oil pretty bad, and despite me pouring oil into it bi-weekly, the engine still seized, cracked, and died on me. I will stay on the lookout for other late bays in my tri-state area, but if the champagne runs by Feb. 1st I'll likely wind up purchasing it, IF and ONLY IF it checks out at the local VW mechanic. I'm nervous about it but mostly only because I've dreamed about this for more than half my life (I turn 21 in May, but Volkswagen T2's stole my soul in '95 haha) and as owning one comes closer and closer to reality I'm worrying about it more I guess. Is it incredibly expensive to work on the type 4 engine? Can anyone confirm by the pic that it IS a type 4 engine?
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Bezzer
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep it sure is a type 4.
But I agree with the majority, that is a 600.00 wonder at best. It will need everything mentioned and more, like brakes, shocks, wheel rubber, window rubber, seals and, and , and........

trust me I know. Wink
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Zelten
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being 21 ( or almost) I would suggest looking for a bus under 1K to start with and expect it to be just that, a thousand dollar bus that needs a little work. I would suggest a 71 or older and get your feet wet with that. Then when you have a little more experience and money you can get another bus closer to what you want. And just because it's under a grand doesn't mean it has to be junk. I paid 500 for my first bus and it just needed a little work. I got it running and drove it for awhile but because I didn't know much at all and in 95/96 I had no clue about the Internet I didn't have the resources to keep her going. In 2011 you have the samba and a lot more help then I had, with that 2000 you would pay for that bus you listed you could go a long way with the right bus. I understand your excitement and how bad you want a bus but be patient and the right one will find you. I prefer a bus that needs mechanical work over body work.
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chabanais
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow right you are on this one. Those of us who did get our Bus 10-15 years ago have so much "invested" in them that driving them around (or parking them on the street in my case) is dangerous.


SGKent wrote:
John - it came as a surprise and dose of realism to us when the bills started adding up. That is why bus owners now need to carefully consider what their bus is really worth. People who bought a bus 10 - 15 years ago and restored it over that perod really don't have a feel for what the costs are today truly restoring one of these.

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secretsubmariner
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:45 am    Post subject: Considering Reply with quote

Wow, Zelten- You have accurately pinpointed how I feel about this. I would like to save money, too... It sounds impossible to find a bus that runs, has decent interior and isn't messed up for only $500.. I mean a bus like that is worth so much more to the people selling them...usually. But you've inspired me to keep searching, although the Champagne isn't down for the count yet. If anyone else has anything else to say/suggest, I'm all ears Smile
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Blaubus
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:05 am    Post subject: Re: Considering Reply with quote

secretsubmariner wrote:
Wow, Zelten- You have accurately pinpointed how I feel about this. I would like to save money, too... It sounds impossible to find a bus that runs, has decent interior and isn't messed up for only $500.. I mean a bus like that is worth so much more to the people selling them...usually. But you've inspired me to keep searching, although the Champagne isn't down for the count yet. If anyone else has anything else to say/suggest, I'm all ears Smile


you say you've been waiting half your life, so a while longer may be a good thing? if it leads to a better bus experience? from that point of view, it might seem worth the risk to offer a lower sum of money for the champagne bus? maybe a thousand? having that "i can wait" attitude is certainly a necessary part of bargaining.

keep in mind also, that oil leaks on buses are not too hard to cure if they are related to pushrod tubes or other gaskets. its only the main seal that will ruin your day- the other seals only ruin a couple hours Laughing
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Zelten
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:32 am    Post subject: Re: Considering Reply with quote

secretsubmariner wrote:
Wow, Zelten- You have accurately pinpointed how I feel about this. I would like to save money, too... It sounds impossible to find a bus that runs, has decent interior and isn't messed up for only $500.. I mean a bus like that is worth so much more to the people selling them...usually. But you've inspired me to keep searching, although the Champagne isn't down for the count yet. If anyone else has anything else to say/suggest, I'm all ears Smile

I'm glad I could help. I really wish I had the resources that are available today when I was your age.
I think you should keep your options open and try not to get sold on one bus yet. Until you have some experience with them you may not know exactly what you're looking for. When I was a kid we had a 1970 transporter and that's what I learned to drive stick in. I loved that bus, but even with that much experience I didn't know that I really wanted a Westy until I got older and my brother bought one. So be patient. Nothing will sap your enthusiasm as fast as having to shell out money after you spent your budget to get the bus and then you still can't drive it.
I was looking around craigslist and found a nice looking tin top westy in Wichita. That's not too far from you and it looks to be in much better shape than the Champaign. I'm not trying to tell you not to get that Champaign but, I'm trying to give you as much info beforehand so you will be a happy and informed bus owner when you do by a bus.
Here are a few to give you an idea of what is out there and what may pop up locally. I'm not saying go buy one of these, I'm saying this is what comes along. Although all of these, I think, are overpriced but I'm on the west coast so we have a larger selection of good busses.


http://wichita.craigslist.org/cto/2149217899.html
http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/cto/2123289432.html
http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/cto/2123304410.html

And this is what you can pick up out here
http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/2148943440.html
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