Build or Buy: Big-Power Single Cab

Looking for something a bit different? Do you feel like standard Buses are a little played out? Then Volkswagen’s original pickup may be just the thing for you. And if you want one with a bit more power, then you’ll love both of today’s finds. But do you want one that’s show-ready, or are you looking for a project car? Do you buy it built, or build it yourself?

Argument: Build

Article: 1974 Type 2 Single Cab V6

How’s this for more power? This ’74 started life as a standard Bus (check out the sliding side door still in place), but now looks like a single-cab pickup.

The big-ticket item here is the rear-mounted water-cooled Chevy V6 engine. It’s currently not running; the battery is dead. The owner built this truck to tow a camper to and from Baja, California. The conversion is…rustic. The rear quarter panels have been completely removed, and it looks like it has a rear bumper from an old Beetle. Take notice of the air intake for the engine too.

Since this was a van, there’s no rear to the passenger cab; better hope for clear weather when you take this thing out. But despite those flaws, there’s a charm to this little truck. The bigger wheels and tires, along with the roof rack (is that a roll-out awning?) give this ’74 a serious look.

So if you’re looking for an adventure vehicle with quite a bit of power, this home-made single cab can be yours for only $5500. It’s in Bakersfield, California, and you can get more details in the classified ad on thesamba.com.

Argument: Buy

Article: 1971 Type 2 Single Cab Flat 6

You gotta love Subaru conversions. Remove a flat-four air-cooled (read: slow) engine and replace it with a water-cooled flat-six. It’s a great way to add power that still retains some of the quirkiness of the OEM motor. And it really pisses off the purists.

This 1971 is quite the looker. It has been updated nicely with newer “distressed blue” paint; the blue was applied over white paint, then it was sanded to give a worn-in patina. The little truck also has custom lettering down the sides of the bed. And it has a new stereo with Bluetooth, and two speakers hidden under the front seats.

There are two listings for this Subie-powered single-cab; it’s listed on thesamba.com for $18,000 and it’s on bringatrailer.com with a current bid of $4000. This ’71 is in Miami, Florida.