Absolutely lovely 1964 VW samba

Originally published at: Absolutely lovely 1964 VW samba | Boing Boing


until it breaks.

giphy-3 2


Enjoyment is doubled on arrival.


As I heard Jay Leno say, in the event of an accident in this vehicle, you’ll always be the first to arrive. I’d buy it but my dream Samba has to have safari windows.


[Aims for Pedant Pendant:]



here is a photo that myself and my family camped in across the western USA. I slept in a hammock above the front bench seat Photo is dated 1965 Imgur: The magic of the Internet


I have a friend who routinely upgrades old VWs with diesel motors and running gear from newer VWs.

He gets around in a mid '70s Bay-Window Westfalia camper with a turbo-diesel motor with a hidden radiator. It makes reliable power with good fuel economy and can handle inclines with ease.

I believe it was done in such a way that all of the modifications can be easily undone to allow the van to be restored to original condition.



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I believe the Samba came from the factory with 53 hp and a top speed of 105 km/h (66 mph). 0-60 time was measured with a calendar. Cross winds and passing trucks would push these around like an empty beer can (which in all honesty is more aerodynamic) and the crumple zone is your knees - but they do look geil.


(I think I need a Mod to bestow it officially before I can die happy, but your boosterism is noted and appreciated.Thanks!)

I have never not loved the memory of my 1972 VW camper bus. I had a friend who had a '67 22 window samba like this one, though, and I was always jealous. Much sunroof, so funky. Yeah, they break down a lot, but they’re easy to fix. Yeah, underpowered. Yeah, the heat and AC never worked well.

But boy, do I love these.


As others have alluded to,

the overarching tone of the original article is arguably misleading.

Stock Westfalias are as unreliable as implied.

Contemporary reworked Westies can for a modest investment of $35K be made more or less as reliable as other modern vehicles, by replacing everything prone to failure with a better after-market alternative.

For those with more money than sense and/or a deep nostalgia or appreciation for their unique charms, you can absolutely van-life out of one.

You might go further for your money with a Sprinter, but maybe not. Those are also not cheap.


Our 1960s Volkswagen van was the worst automobile I’ve ever owned. Hot, cold, terrible on the highway and we had to have the engine rebuilt during a trip so we could get home.

its on BAT — currently at $72k ---- probably go for $100+

IF all my hippie Aunt’s friends could really see into the futire (from the late 1960s) like they TOLD me they could??? they would have saved their 21 window busses to pay for assisted living


I loved all of the buses and beetles I had when I had no money and they could be got cheap and were easy to fix yourself. As long as you’re oblivious to the consequences of an accident in them, they are great fun.


oh dear, my friend “won” a contest for one of the vans used to make the movie. it wasn’t acting, it was a real piece of shit


Maybe a loose nut behind the wheel?


It was a little more distressed than that. They ran a story in the paper about it, it was a real laugh.

That proved to be the least of its problems. The engine shudders, the muffler is cracked, and the horn, windshield wipers, turn signals and high beams don’t work. The inside handle on the driver’s door is missing, so shutting it from inside requires grabbing the door through the open window, a maneuver complicated by the missing window crank knob. At least the bus doesn’t need to be pushed to start, as in the movie. And there’s no dead grandpa in back.



I’ve seen kits for installing safari windshields. As a '64 it even has a gas gauge…fancy.


A friend of mine had one of these & we’d load his band’s gear up into it & haul them to shows. They did one at The Other End right before it became The Bitter End again & a whole load of us converged on another friends apartment between set up & showtime, some in the van but many from Jersey by train or bus. We put 16 people in the that van, the middle seat removed, & most standing up through the sunroof, & drove through the village back to the gig.