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1960s Volkswagen Transporter Gathering

Today’s featured image contains at least seven Volkswagen Type 2 Transporters at a stop on what appears to be a camping trip somewhere in California. All of the vehicles have the large front signal lamps that date them to being manufactured in the 1962 to ’67 period. The shopping cart behind the red 1960 or earlier Plymouth “Savoy” and the S&H Green Stamps sign seems to indicate that the group has stopped at a grocery store.

Share your VW stories with us, and what you find if interest in this photograph found via This Was Americar.

27 responses to “1960s Volkswagen Transporter Gathering

  1. Far left, a `59 Plymouth Savoy.
    One thing’s for sure. With the ludicrous prices VW Vans of this vintage are bringing in today’s market, this cluster would probably be in the neighborhood of several hundred-thousand clams! One the right, between the dark green & white vans, I see the front end of what might be possibly a `65-`66 Plymouth full-size wagon? (Can’t really see enough to fully distinguish; sorry.)

  2. The last vintage care I owned was a ’66 Transporter I bought for $600 in 1989 and used as a daily driver. It was all sorts of fun. It had 170K miles on it when I got it, and I put another 40K on it over a few years. I once swapped a throwout bearing in a parking lot single handed. Four bolts let you take the back bumper off. Then a couple of screws to remove the back piece of sheet metal, and four more bolts and a scissors jack, and the motor popped right out. I pushed the bus away from the motor, swapped the clutch and throwout bearing, pushed the bus back, jacked the motor up, and slid it back in. Took a couple of hours.

    I parked the bus a year or so after I got married — Ruth wasn’t comfortable with me driving a car where my knees formed part of the crash cage. I couple years after that, I sold it to a collector, so presumably it’s still out there somewhere.

    • Thanks for confirming, AML! The center section of that grille is what led me to think it was a `66 full-sized Plymouth. It at least gives us a general timeframe when this was snapped.

  3. When my son was 16 in 1987, he had a ’67 Mustang, but desperately wanted a VW bus. He and I were arguing in the driveway about his bright idea to trade the Mustang for a bus. I’d explained they were underpowered, not the safest, and had a tendency toward engine fires. He told me I was full of it, got in the Mustang and drove off. A few minutes later he was back. I asked why and he said that a car had caught fire at the end of the street and Largo FD was putting it out so the road was blocked. I stood in the street and could see the burning vehicle, but not what kind. I asked him what it was and replied in a very quiet voice, “a VW Bus.” Ah, Karma.

  4. I had a 63 Bus I paid a few hundred for it back in the 70s. Used to haul friends around albeit slowly. I raced other slow cars up a local hill. I knew it was in tune if I could hit 60 mph before the top, then it would slow down and I’d have to shift down to make it over. It taught me to be a safer driver by not tail gaiting and just generally being more patient. Eventually I got tired of it and bought another VW Beetle.

  5. Broke down in Lafayette La. in 79 in a 71 VW van at 1am on I-10.Had the engine rebuilt in Lafayette for $450.Slept overnight in the back of the van while they did the rebuild.7 months later the crank snapped in two in Miami.Their cast cranks had a rare tendency to do that.

  6. And not a 21 or 23 window to not among them!

    A great line I saw on a magazine… “Robin Williams once said Cocaine was God’s way of telling you you have too much money.
    Well the automotive equivalent is people spending nearly $200,000 for a VW van, especially from those who remember when VW vans were the lowest firm of automotive transportation.”

    Fun, Iconic, but terribly dangerous…your feet are literally on the back of the headlight can. A friend’s daughter was killed in one…an accident that would have been survivable in just about anything else.

  7. Even though they were not exactly paragons of reliability and performance, these old Volkswagen vans provided many of us with great adventures. I had a ’56 with all the windows in the top. Bought it for $300 and put in a Porsche 356 engine, which caught fire when I stupidly tried to start it by pouring gas into the carbs. Got the fire and the engine out, sold the engine to a friend, sold the bus to a junkman. Today it would be worth crazy money. Had a nice ’70 bus that ran very well until it got tired. Decided to go big-bore, took the case to a VW “expert” to be cut for bigger cylinders. He cut into an oil passage, so it leaked all over my neighborhood. Sold it “as-is” for peanuts and bought a new ’83 Vanagon “wasserkooler”, which went through four sets of head gaskets in 180,000 miles. Volkswagen had such a huge and dedicated following in the 1970s, but somehow they just blew it all away.

  8. VW Kombi’s and Mayfair Market! Jeez, two blast from my past. Buddies and I drove up north to Stanislau County to pick up a friend, stopping in SF along the way. Picked up a young lady in seeming distress toting two suitcases, dropped her off at a squatter flop. Being far too innocent, we believed her story, but she probably stole the baggage to feed a drug habit or something. Continued on around and down into Nevada where we bought our young friend an experience in Mustang Ranch (with just the paltry sum we could cough up), then back to LA. Stayed away from freeways whenever possible as the beast was just too slow with four of us inside sharing space with our gear and some massive boxed speakers! As for Mayfair, that was my first regular job and when they went 24 hours I sometimes worked with the Mids crew, getting to experience all the wonderful characters that haunted the night in those days. Our crew was a bit bizarre as well, but fun, almost as fun as driving that Kombi at full speed through the mountains!

  9. The amber front signals suggest most of them are ’65-’67 Type 2s (with the white one on the right being earlier, since it appears to have clear signals). Since pretty much all of the external changes between 1965 and 1967 were changes to the rear hatch, I don’t think it’s possible to identify specific model years from the photo.

  10. When i was a service engineer, i drove a VW bus like that.
    Because it was equiped with an underpowered motor and heavily loaded the motor was exchanged several times.
    Further more, the heating in winter was hardley sufficiënt and sometimes leaking exhaust gasses.
    The main reason it was so populair, was the low initial costs and the lack of good competition.

  11. It was underpowered and the heating system was unefficiënt.
    The VW bus was so populair because of the low initial costs and lack of good competition.

  12. Ahh, the iconic VW van. My first one was a 1958 that I drove the 60 miles to Raleigh, NC with the $200 in my pocket to buy the thing and didn’t even argue over the price. The bus was not in very good condition, but I put the 36hp engine to work. The bus was my daily driver for a couple of years. I swapped in a 40 horse engine and drove it a lot . Even on a couple of out of town camping expeditions. Finally the rust began to take over and I sold it for what I had in it. My second VW van was a 1967 camper with fold out beds, sink and all. My wife and I put lots of miles on that bus driving int from eastern North Carolina to Omaha, Nebraska., camping the whole way and using primarily on secondary highways. This was 1972 and I guess we didn’t know any better. Our last VW van was a water cooled model. It handled much better, but just seemed to be too fancy . The engine soon showed its week points as it sprang a water leak from the some kind of a crack in the block. Now I am wondering when the new electric VW van will come out………I guess the attraction to VW vans never really disappears.

  13. I went to a small college in Texas from 1965-1968 on scholarship. One of my duties in exchange was to drive the school’s 1966 Volkswagen vans–two identical green and cream base models. What fun it was, rowing their gearshifts up to 60 or 70 mph. These two bugs were beautifully made and fun to drive.

  14. My Dad had 67 split screen Micro Bus with three rows of seats as a family wagon/business delivery vehicle.Very easy for a kid, me at the time, aged 16 years to drive.Next a full screen 1600cc Microbus into the 70s, and another one.I had a 1600 cc Superbug VW. I bought an old Bondwood caravan to go away weekends. We picked the van up from a dealer with the Microbus which towed it well on the home journey.I spent nearly a year restoring the caravan in the backyard of my parents home and fitted it out completely.The big weekend came and I hooked up the van to the Superbug, my girlfriend, Shane with a big smile on her face as she was looking forward to the inaugural trip away. The Bug would not pull the van, I had not realized that the gearing was totally different even though they both had 1600cc engines. Oh well, time to sell the van!

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