This classic VW Split Window Bus is for sale from my private collection (I'm John Snell - owner of Sunset Classics). This is a beautifully restored 1959 VW Panel Van. This rare VW van has cargo doors on both sides and this unique model is known as a 7 door van or a double door panel van. Most panel vans had cargo doors only on the passenger side but this one has the rare option of doors on both sides.
I purchased this VW Bus from Utah in 2008. The bus was in a front end collision in 1960 and it had been off the road ever since. The bus was stored for decades after being driven for only a few short months. Because the van hardly had a chance to get used it was extremely well preserved. The body had almost no rust anywhere even though it was almost 40 years old when I got it! At some point in the past someone had tried to put a replacement front clip on the bus, but the front clip was from a newer model and luckily the clip was only tack welded on when I bought the van.
I purchased the bus and had it shipped to Jeff Gagnon in Sioux Falls, SD. Jeff specializes in restoring vintage VW Buses so I knew he was the right guy to get this bus back in stock (or better than stock) condition. Jeff had an early front clip with the correct bullet front turn signals and angled headlight buckets (noticeable from inside the van if you are a purist) so I gave the go ahead to have him professionally install the good used front clip. Jeff estimated he had done as many as nine other front clips and it is virtually impossible to tell it has been fixed. The dog legs (just below the front doors) are original, the rocker panels are original and so are the belly pans. There is a small area of corrosion in one of the original belly pans but since I wanted to keep all of the original sheet metal with this restoration the belly pans were left as original. This bus is an amazingly original rust free example of a classic VW split window Bus.
The paint on this panel van is the nicest I have seen on any VW bus in person. After the factory correct Dove Blue paint was applied the paint was color sanded to a mirror finish. The engine is a period correct 36 hpr air cooled flat four cylinder motor. The transmission is a correct “crash box” transmission (first gear is non synchromesh). The tires are period correct bias ply firestones and they are brand new. As of this writing the bus has about 75 miles on the restoration and the tires have only 40 miles on the vintage style bias ply tires. The only not correct items on the entire van that I’m aware of are the muffler and the hub caps. I have some original work truck painted hub caps but they are not painted gray yet. I have the panel divider and the original glass window that mounts just behind the front seat…
Features on this rare panel van are a working manual choke, fuel reserve lever, opening front safari windows, and, well, that’s about it. If you want a VW Bus full of options check out a 1993 VW Eurovan.
My Uncle Jerry Coffin (the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America Minnesota State Representative for the past 26 years) got me into VW's as a teenager. I therefore grew up with Volkswagens - the person who got my Uncle Jerry interested in VW's was my Grandfather Wilber Coffin. Grandpa taught my Uncle Jerry how to drive in a ’57 Double Door Panel Van in about 1970. My Grandfather took my Uncle out to a parking lot after a fresh snow and they practiced slip sliding the van around and regaining control. A 36 hpr engine was also great for learning because it is very forgiving compared with learning how to drive stick in, say, a Z28 Camero. The gear reduction boxes on the old VW Buses helped ease things into gear too.
After hearing stories about that '57 Double Door Panel van since I was little, and now having become an avid VW Lover and collector myself, I wanted to see and feel what it was like to drive the bus I had heard about for so many years. Now that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing that I can say it is very roomy. Having access to the cargo area from the driver’s side is enormously convenient and fun. (Opening both doors and both sides and running right through a bus is something most folks never get the opportunity to do.)
Having no windows in the rear of the bus is great for privacy. The wide open cargo area would be perfect for laying a mattress or a futon bed down so you could take the bus camping. Being in the van is unique sounding because of the flat panels and as you can guess the visibility is minimal.
This is the van I had restored as a remembrance to my Grandfather. He passed away in 1980. This van is an exact replica. His van even had this style bumpers and safari windows). So as you can guess I would love to keep this van, but I have 9 vans at the moment and some still need more attention than this already beautiful and revived example. This van could be right at home in a museum or any classic show room.
Double Door Panel Vans do not get any nicer than this one. Given its rarity I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the nicest 7 door van in the World. Please enjoy the photo galleries and videos below and contact me, John Snell, if you would like to reserve this van for your private collection.
|1959 Double Door Panel Van Body Gallery||1959 Double Door Panel Van Close-Up Gallery|