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Buying a Bay Window
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theguyryry
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:35 pm    Post subject: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

Hey all. First post, although Iíve been a creeper for the last few months.

Iíve been searching all over for a bus, doing research, reading posts on here, checking craigslist all over the US, ebay, apvintagemotors and other smaller dealers, and it seems like the going rate for a bay window in decent condition is north of 20k, although iíve seen a few under that (when they are, they get bought up within a few hours). To me, that seems like a lot of money, and it sounds like they werenít always that pricey. My questions:

1. Do you think itís likely they are going to remain this high price wise? Or is this because of covid / economy and in the next year or so they will drop in price?

2. Is it stupid to take out a classic car loan for a bus? To me it makes sense, as you can get them for like 6-7% APR, and they seem to be appreciating in value, which offsets that a bit. To me, it makes more sense than a traditional car loan, but I might just be convincing myself of that as I realllllly want a bus.

Note: prices above were about a camper, not a transporter. 71+ (they changed the design of the front to survive crashes better, and that seems important to me, so I havenít been searching for years below that).
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alman72
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 1:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

prices for a camper got stupid before covid.
if you been creepin, you had to have seen the bears, right?
after the safety improvements, the busses you will find are the pancake motor, rather than the upright, and both have their plusses and minuses. Keeping it running well by being your own mechanic is really the only way to do it anymore. All the old guys who know how have retired, or will charge you a prime rate (they deserve it) you may want to call around your area and see if you can find anyone who works on a bus, or resolve to do it yourself. and really, watch the damn bears again. they are not messing around.
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secretsubmariner
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

Getting a loan for a bus is a stupid idea unless you are in a fortunate position of having tons of extra money laying around. (and in that case why not just buy it outright?)

You will hate making that loan payment when it's broken down and in the shop and needing this and needing that.

Even for a "nice" "20K" ride, you can only get so far on the pig in lipstick. Many many things will need to be repaired and maintained periodically.

If you can't do it yourself, you'll have to fork over fat stacks for repairs. And still be making your payment.
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j10nbom
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

I think viewing most enthusiast vehicles as an investment is probably a losing proposition. If you're passionate about it then you're likely to dump money into it. If it were me, I'd buy the best bus you can for your budget (running/driving, minimal rust) and do most of your own repairs. I personally wouldn't go into debt over it.

That said, like alman72 said - buses have been creeping up in values for several years now and I don't really see that changing because they're still popular and less of them are on the road. So they aren't cheap anymore, but that's been the case for awhile. That's another reason why you might not want a monthly payment on top of all the other parts/repairs you'll end up paying for.


Last edited by j10nbom on Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

You can find a decent camper for half that.

The prices asked here and by ten grifters are crazy

I saw two splits go here for under 1500 despite the bleats here that a Solit is a 30k for a Patina attached VIN plate
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

The prices have been going up steadily over the last 15 years which is how long Iíve been watching. Even bugs, say 1965, are twice what they were 10 years ago. I guess if people get loans for boats, getting a loan for a bus doesnít seem all that bad. If you can maintain it cheaply and even improve it a little at a time I think it might be a good idea. People donít generally get boats and buses to make a profit, they get them to have fun. The biggest issue you face is either having a good mechanic or do it yourself. Try to connect with some of the samba guys in your area. There are quite a few in the NW
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theguyryry
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

I should probably add that I donít plan on buying the bus as an investment. My gf and I want to go on camping trips and what not, and I love tinkering on cars. It will definitely be used, but I want it to be in a good starting point ( donít wanna have to pull the engine or cut and weld in the first 6 months, ha ). Iíve gone and checked out a few under 20k, but they all seem to need a lot more work then it seems like theyíre worth.

I read somewhere on this sub something along the lines of ďyour best bet with buying a bus is to buy the nicest one out there. youíll never get your money out of it, and itís cheaper to buy a nice one than to buy a crap one and do it yourselfĒ. By that logic, it makes more sense to me to take a loan out on buying a bus for 20k+, then it does to buy one for 10k - 15k and have to put another 10k into it to get it to where I want it.

I appreciate everyoneís opinions and the time youíve all spent giving advice. Thank you!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

Careful, many of those "$20K" buses still need $8-10K of work to finish up.

theguyryry wrote:
....... My gf and I want to go on camping trips and what not, ..........

It's people like you that are driving the market, sadly in your case the others have more disposable cash, or aren't scared of the bank.
That's not meant as a burn, it's the reason bus prices have gotten where they are the last few years.
If you want "instant" you'll have to buck up, if your wallet isn't up for that then you'll have to settle for a project. A ratty driver that you work on as you go is often more fun than a shiny finished one, you know what work has been done and to what level because you did it, many times the polished turds cheap out on the stuff you can't see and surprise you later.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

I agree. Barrow for an RV (VW bus). Have a bunch of fun. Sell it after that. I bet you sell it for more.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

Good point, a plain jane travel trailer is close to $20K around here (way more if your daily hasn't got the stones to pull it), and it does nothing but depreciate while it eats up space in the driveway. A bus is much more useful, and if you buy carefully, won't lose any value, there's always someone else with the same dream.
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theguyryry
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

busdaddy wrote:
Careful, many of those "$20K" buses still need $8-10K of work to finish up.


Ive been looking for rust, maintenance to motor, videos of it driving... any obvious signs of it being sketchy is a no go. iíve learn to understand that fresh paint jobs often mean thereís rust underneath.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

It happens sadly. I checked out a roughly 15k Bus for someone last Spring - turned out to be a rust bomb waiting to go off. Fresh paint, but bubbles starting, lots of bondo, etc.

There are good ones out there, but there is just as much garbage. Be very careful!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

I live in San Diego and was contacted by a nice young lady from Boston. She was ready to ďbuy it nowĒ on an eBay bus near me. I did an inspection for her.

This bus looked great in the pictures and description but was terrible. She passed on it which was a very good thing. I told the seller what I thought of him, his bus, and his criminal misrepresentation of the bus.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

I thought this might help you as well as other buyers. Get in inspection. This is the previously mentioned eBay bus. Buyer beware. This happened June of 2016

https://app.photobucket.com/u/aeromech32254/a/1599312e-990f-4b5f-a172-22c3a819340e

Someone let me know if the link works or not
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theguyryry
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

aeromech wrote:
I thought this might help you as well as other buyers. Get in inspection. This is the previously mentioned eBay bus. Buyer beware. This happened June of 2016

Someone let me know if the link works or not


Yes, the link works. Scrolling through those photos, it seems like they were asking way too much money for that bus. Just the crappy spray job of the engine bay / underneath would have me walk away. I'm curious what was wrong with the carburetor? I'm not super experienced with carbs.

That seems significantly worse than the ones currently on ebay in that price range (or in the classifieds). Would you make the assumption based on your experience that most / many of the busses in that price range are going to be in a similar condition?

I'm not sure if you're allowed to do this, but https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2461637

this bus seems like in way better condition in a similar price point. Is that just they're not showing the problem areas?
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

Buy the best body you can get and plan on doing a lot of work to get the mechanicals right.

Note that with the '73 models pretty decent crash protection was added to the front of the bus, so if you want to walk away from a crash buy a '73 or later bus and add a three point seat belt setup and use it.
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busdaddy
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

theguyryry wrote:
Would you make the assumption based on your experience that most / many of the busses in that price range are going to be in a similar condition?

There's big money in tarting up field finds with the minimum amount of work to make them drive and shiny enough to appeal to the uninformed eBay buyer, not many of these con artists have any morals or give a damn what falls off after the money is in their bank. That doesn't mean they are all turds, but you must look at each one suspiciously until proven otherwise. A big stack of receipts for non cosmetic work that doesn't include all new Chinese parts is a good sign, finding out that nothing was done to the brakes or suspension, a shiny GEX engine was installed, some seat covers slipped on and a few patch panels were pop riveted over the rust holes after it's in your driveway sucks.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

The "72" you linked to should have lowlights and a fuel door.

That "72" has neither.

Would make me think that some shenanigans are going on.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

theguyryry wrote:

I'm curious what was wrong with the carburetor? I'm not super experienced with carbs.


The kewl air cleaner. The multiple pluged vac ports. That return spring? Can't see the brand of carb (small pix and my eyes are not so good no more) but is it Brazil/China?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Buying a Bay Window Reply with quote

Iím not going to comment on buses you link for sale. Itís just not fair to the seller. That said, the one I inspected above was beautiful in the eBay ad and Jessica was ready to buy it from 3000 miles away. She dodged the bullet and a year or more later bought one near Salt Lake City. I wasnít involved with that purchase.

I took about 50 pictures. Most of them show problems but I would need to walk you through each picture with a long winded explanation of why I thought it was wrong. Just to repeat myself, you canít go by what the seller shows in their pictures. Itís what they donít show. If you find a bus that you are interested in why not ask the seller to send you pics of specific areas of concern?
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