VW Type 2 Camper resto – how long/pricey is my piece of string?

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  • VW Type 2 Camper resto – how long/pricey is my piece of string?
  • Premier Icon chipps

    My girlfriend has a VW Type 2, bay window campervan. V-reg I think.

    She took it to the local garage about five years ago for a new recon engine fit and some bodywork. Long story but she then ran out of money and it’s sat there for for years. Surprisingly, when she reapproached the garage last year to see about paying for the engine fit, the guy still had it safely stored and was happy to carry on where she left of. That’s the good bit. The idea was hatched for him to do it up so that she could sell it to recover the cost of the engine and bodywork.

    Trouble is, there’s all sorts of issues with the body, as you might expect, and it’s needing a ton of work. On the plus side, it’s getting a virtually bare-metal restoration. On the minus side, it’s going to cost a fortune and is going to end up costing way more than it’ll ever sell for… Especially if you go for a mirror-finish paintjob and new interior…

    At what point does she get the garage to stop fixing it and start trying to sell it? Basic MOT and flatted filler with no interior? Or put the brown ’80s interior in and primer it? Or spend £10K more on a mirror finish respray and custom interior, and try to sell it for £20K?

    I can’t say I’m a VW fan, so I’m not even that keen on doing it up, swallowing the £10K it’s already going to take to get it even on the road and keeping it.

    All advice/stories of woe welcome 🙂

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    Have a chat with Dom at Kinesis – he’s getting some work done on his and the place doign it will probably be abel to tell you more about the economics of what you;re planning as they sell them too.


    General rules are whatever you think for time and cash, then times by three. Oh and you never sell it for more than the restoration costs so it’s got to be a labour of love rather than to make money.

    If its a purely financial decision, pay for the work to date, sell it as it is and walk away.

    Premier Icon Mike_D

    At what point does she get the garage to stop fixing it and start trying to sell it?

    I’m going to go with “right now” 🙂 That thing about it costing more than it’ll sell for applies as soon as you start spending.


    I have nightmares about things like this.


    Just get a Fiat Panda.

    Premier Icon chipps

    I can get a Panda once the thing’s out the way.

    Mike_D – that’s my kind of thought so far.


    fix up to keep / get personal gratification of driving the vehicle

    sell to sell if moneys the thing

    dont fix to sell unless doing the work your self and its the work part of the fixing up that you enjoy as oppose the driving it !


    you won’t make money unless you do all the work yourself.

    can’t you sell it as is and pay the garage what’s owed?

    Premier Icon alexpalacefan

    Get rid mate, this could easily cost you LOTS of money!


    Premier Icon cr500dom

    Cut your losses and get out of it….

    Either as a project, or just do enough to get it MOT`ed and rolling again as that will generally fetch a higher price than a total project.

    It`s never worth doing, but its easier to justify the spend if its your hobby and you enjoy the restoration 😉

    (Spoken as a man who has a 250hp RWD Opel Kadett, as the latest ongoing project. With probably 5 figures invested in it, and its still not finished)

    I could have had a nice 911 for what the Kadett owes me, but anyone can buy one of those 😀

    Premier Icon ART

    If its a purely financial decision, pay for the work to date, sell it as it is and walk away.

    Easily the most succinct and wise words spoken. Your string would need to be endless. My bloke is in the trade, a welder and has restored these – he would say the same.

    Premier Icon Steelsreal

    depends what the base van is and what the interior is…

    Is it a camper, what type etc. If it has some interest, and even an original brown interior could be interesting, it may be of more value as it is, rather than trying to get it done “quickly”

    As it is quite late for a bay window, it probably will not have much interest for the “enthusiasts” unless it is a double door microbus with a factory sunroof…

    try Volkszone or earlybay for opinions, and in my opinion, if you do get it fixed, get it done “properly” otherwise it will not be worth anything


    My brother inlaw does these for a living. Money pits, great to own if you fix it yourself, if not get shot of it.


    Wow. Someone paid £700 for that eBay one!

    Never ceases to amaze me how much people will spend on VWs. I know they are all kewl and that, but £700 for something that’s almost 100% rust?


    Just get it crushed/recycled.
    One less of these planet shagging piles of poo is a good thing.
    Why oh why do people bother with these heaps?


    what they say you will never make any money unless you do all the work yourself and they are crap as well


    Sell it as it stands.

    I’m still mid fettling a MK2 Golf GTI. It started out as being not too tatty – tiny patches of of surface rust, no shell issues, just ready for a respray.

    Swapped one of the doors for a better one, found some welding that needed doing on the inner wings. Baring that, most of the car literally needed a flat down and prime before paint.

    I’d not be surprised if just in the spraying kit, paint and prep materials if it stood me at a grand, and I did everything myself bar the welding, which was done by a mate.

    Lots of the interior is still out of the car, and there’s right old list of niggly jobs, which always seem to occur if you take a car to bits and put it back together. Just paying someone the going rate to sort out the niggles would be a very, very dear job.

    Money wise, the best thing you can do is sell it now. If it’s not been baremetalled all over, DIY the interior back in, simply because that proves to a buyer that it’s all there.


    What camper conversion is it ? Some are worth more than others.

    Anyone who is willing to buy it and finish it off themselves, would probably prefer it to be running and the rest left as it is. That way they can see that it’s not been bodged, and problems hidden.

    I certainly would prefer to buy an honest restoration job, untouched. rather than a half finished project with the possibility of hidden issues.

    Personally, I would say that if you don’t actually want classic campervan, and you dont know anything about them, then I wouldn’t even start doing anything to it !!

    It will be a complete money pit, and if you skimp and do it on the cheap, it will be obvious. Then it won’t sell.

    Why not offer it to the garage owner to clear the debt ??

    Get away free and clear, and with your bank balance intact.


    I had a ’72 Bay in the 90s. I spent £2k on it back then in 3 years, and didn’t even start on the bodywork. It would be very, very, very easy to spend £10k on one.

    Which is a crackers amount of money. No 2 ways about it.

    But you could EASILY spend that on a secondhand Eurobox TDi which in 3 years will be worth £5k

    The bus will hold it’s value far better.

    But that’s not why you should buy, restore or run a Bus. Do it because you want to, because you love it, because, quite simply, there’s nothing to touch them, not new, not old… Nothing even close.


    Premier Icon Mike_D

    but £700 for something that’s almost 100% rust?

    I think I’d be a bit nervous about winching it onto a trailer. Wouldn’t be surprised if only the bit with the cable attached made it on 😉


    My view – don’t touch the interior or finish. get it MOTed if yu can without too much cost and then sell – that might be the way to get the most value for it for the least outlay


    I’ve restored several cars & campers in the past, doing everything myself, painting, welding mechanics apart from the interior (wife to the rescue there)& there’s barely any margin in it for profit, so I’d sell as it is. People buying VW campers are usually enthusiasts & don’t mind, some vw perverts even enjoy the whole process & can build/restore to there own tastes.


    I have two of these at the mo, a runner and a non runner which is in storage waiting for me to start working on it. Unfortunately I spend so much running the good one I haven’t got time or cash to do up the other.

    If its a V reg I doubt it’ll ever be worth 20k no matter what, that sort of money is for splitties and occasionally an original early bay up to 72/3. You’d have to spend 20 to get 20. Personally I’d get rid for a decent price – obviously depends on the condition but renovation projects still fetch good(daft) money and get a van that does more than 25 mpg and doesn’t need constant maintenance, oh and has a decent heater….
    Have a look at http://www.kieftenklok.nl for top prices of buses.
    Having said all that I’ll never sell mine…..although I understand Marko!



    if you cant DIY and have any classic car you need to have enough money to never have to ask how much it will cost..
    to restore a Bay to decent usable standard (ie MOT bits and basic paint / window rubbers to stop it degrading further will easily take £6k.
    Problem comes with stopping yorself from justifying that the interior / pop top really needs replacing which you can easily spend another £3-5k on..
    If the van owes you nothing now blowing £10k on a resto should be recoupable in a sale..
    Problem is above this price most people want to have a straight van that they have evidence of the resto on and a perfect interior / exterior, if you need to later sell for £15-£20k to recover your costs your van will have to be perfect. their are plenty about where ppl are having to sell to cover costs / finance where they got carried away..


    Wow. Someone paid £700 for that eBay one!

    Kinell. I can only assume that some nutter enthusiast bought it to strip it of the plastic/metal bits inside (speedo, steering wheel, whatever).

    Premier Icon shaggy

    You know I’ve been looking at VWs…
    IMHO: If it doesn’t cost much to get a MoT or get it running, do the work necessary then sell. Otherwise sell or let the garage have it depending on the bill. As MD points out, in a round-about way, eBay could be good for you and B.

    Had mine a decade, never worked for more than 3 months at anyone time. Must have had 10k+ by now, needs at least another 5k thrown at it.

    As said before, if you can’t do the work yourself you’ll never make your money back on them.

    They are simply a black hole for money, unless you love them then get it to a saleable point and let it go.

    Premier Icon Mike_D

    How far gone is it? If it’s a long way off running/MOT you’ll probably get the best return by stripping it and selling the bits, if you can be arsed/have the space. People are always on the lookout for complete interiors, even (sometimes especially) brown 70s ones. Similarly pop-tops, windows, all sorts. Recon engine will be worth a bit. And for the leftovers, scrap values are pretty high at the moment 😉


    Hellooooo!! 🙂
    What did you decide to do as I’m looking for a project!! 🙂
    Many Thanks!!

    Premier Icon somafunk

    Yeah…what did you decide to do in the end? – keep it & do it up to A1 standard or sell it as it is?.

    Tell us?, VW geeks want to know?.

    (The following will bore some of you’s but i know there’s a few MK2 GTI geeks on this forum so they may it interesting)

    VW’s can be money swallowing pits, i know to my expense when last year i stripped my 1984 MK2 GTI back to a bare shell to repair all the structural rust round about the suspension mounting points, weld in new floors, rear arches (inner and outer) etc…etc. When it came to refit the original rusty parts i had a change of heart and spent a small fortune on a full nut,bolt,washer rebuild of absolutely everything underneath and engine wise with original VW parts, bought a 16v ABT tuned 1900cc 190bhp engine shipped over from germany (damm you german ebay) along with uprated brakes/bilstein shocks/eibach springs and roll bars/quaife diff etc.

    It’s worth a fraction of what i’ve spent on it but that wasn’t the driving force in the rebuild, for what it’s cost me so far including the original purchase of the car i could’ve bought a very tidy MK4 Golf R32 – I’ll never sell it as it can only increase in value unlike a porky, fat R32 and it’s a joy to sit inside with the immaculate leather interior with keep fit windows and just go for a drive on twisty roads or the track and blatting about just for the hell of it it is incredibly addictive, it just makes me grin every time i go anywhere and the comments and number of folk who acknowledge me on the road is unreal, even got pulled by a traffic cop a few weeks after finally getting it back on the road, he merely wanted to check it out and asked if he could have a drive sometime as he’d seen it parked up in the town, of course i had to allow him and he didn’t hang about for sure… Bwaaaap…..Bwaaaap….Bwaaaapp all the way to the 8000rpm redline in third at well over 100mph on the long A75 Gatehouse bypass before reigning it in and thanking me profusely afterwards, he owned one for years and got misty eyed as he talked about it so it’s true – traffic police are car nuts after all.

    It makes mincemeat of the MK6 Golf GTI in acceleration and cornering due to power vs weight ratio despite the MK6 having all sorts of electronic trickery/drivers aids, i’ve got 190bhp at wheels, 156 hp at flywheel and the car weighs 955kg so 163 flywheel hp per ton, the MK6 GTI is 207 bhp at wheels, 179 hp at flywheel and the car weighs 1460kg so 122 flywheel hp per ton. Although, if you get a MK6 chipped then i’m left on the straights but you can’t use that speed safely on roads and they light up tyres in the wet so easy.

    It’s going off the road at some point this winter for a full windows out respray in Daytona Pearl Grey, same as mates RS4 and a few cosmetic blemishes touched up and then hopefully it’ll last another 28yrs on the road – if so i’ll still be driving it when i’m 68….well……if i’m still alive that is.

    Gratuitous showy off pic when it’s been washed.

    Premier Icon Kona TC

    A few years ago I thought about buying a VW campervan as a project, then I saw a tv programme called campervan crisis, where a chap restored a 1960-ish van.

    All I can remember is that he spent over 20k and looked completely knackered at the end and whilst it looked nice it was still a 40 year old van.

    I never bought a project as I thought life’s to short to waste it on refurbishing a van , my advice get rid ASAP; some lunatic will pay you good money for it

    Premier Icon somafunk

    Arse, should really preview my posts before sending and pay attention more – got flywheel hp & wheel bhp mixed up and borked initial calculation.

    my car – 198 bhp per ton

    MK6 GTI – 142bhp per ton

    For ref other cars are (accurate approximations dependant on fuel load etc) :
    Ford Focus ST170 – 143 bhp per ton
    Honda Accord type R – 163 bhp per ton
    Celica GT4 – 163 bhp per ton
    Ford Sierra RS Cosworth – 169 bhp per ton.

    Yeahhhhh….I win the most pedantic, pseudo willy waving, non argument in the history of stw.

    I’m away for a blat round the Galloway hills to celebrate and waste half a tank of Shell V-Power, hope i meet a Pious Prius.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    If you’re still needing work done, Paul at P & R Autos (opposite the Mason’s) is very, very good and a lot cheaper than the local ‘specialist’ (if it’s who I think it is).

    He’s very experienced with VW vans – responsible for breathing life into the lipstick pink one you might have seen knocking about Tod.


    Bottomless pit. Sell it as it is.

    I bought an excellent 76 T2 Devon in 90 for just over 2 grand. I ran it trouble free around Europe for 80 000km selling it for £1200 in 96 for £1200 when the douanes reminded me for the second time about the time limits for driving around in foreign registered vehicles.

    I jnow they have cult status but they still have the long list of faults they had when new to which you can add the lack of an E4 sticker which means they’ll soon be all but worthless to anyone wishing to drive them through Europe. Even my 97 van is now banned in bigger German towns.


    Stick it on E-bay as an unfinished project, otherwise throw a stack of money which you may never get back at it.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    The bad thing about VWs is that they’re ridiculously expensive. The good thing is that this means you can get good money for any old pile of ****. The more rust the better, a clean example wouldn’t be a good project. It’s not MOT-failure, it’s rat-look!

    VW campers can be a financial abyss. I’ve a ’72 bay window, owned it for 12 years. Bought as a runing project. Done half the resto myself and got professionals to do the cosmetic stuff which is an art as much as a trade.

    Van is now insured for £17k, if I sold it tomorrow it would cover about 75% of the financial cost but that wouldn’t take into account my own time spent on it. The van initially cost me £200!

    I find it very satisfying keeping an old vehicle as my daily drive. My view is that most automotive pollution/consumption is from the manufacture and disposal of cars. Keeping an old one from the scrapyard is greener as I see it.

    The way the VW market is currently it’s worth considering doing the bare minimum to get the van mot’d then sell as a running project.

    V reg (1979) isn’t a particularly valuable year for VW campers. The post K reg models tend to rust more and are less desireable than early “low light” models.

    If it has a 2 litre engine and some good doors/panels then selling these as spares may bemore lucrative than selling the van without MOT as a project.

    There’s a finite availability of spares which has resulted in a significant rise in price for original parts in good condition.

    VW “specialists” can be anything but! I find my local garage to be far more competent than a “VW specialist” further afield.

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