Ratty Rescue: Crispy Kombi

It’s time once again for a faithful VWVortex member to come to the rescue of a down-on-its-luck vehicle. Our most recent find comes to us from the car lover’s time suck site: Copart.com. Here you can find virtually any kind of car or truck with flaws as minor as dents and scratches, to completely burned out hulks. There’s amazing stuff out there.

This 1977 Volkswagen Kombi, on first glance, looks quite nice. It looks like it has a fresh coat of a very bright green paint, and seats and interior panels recently upholstered in an…interesting fabric. Overall it’s a friendly looking camper. But look a little more and the damage becomes apparent: bubbled paint on the rear quarter panels, scorch marks in the upper air vents, and then, inside the engine bay, more scorched paint. Fire. Not good.

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But here’s the thing: the damage doesn’t look all that bad. Of course, there are only a few photos here, so you’ll really only know the extent of the carnage until you see the van in person. But it appears to be repairable. With the huge network of aftermarket companies, new body panels can be sourced to replace warped ones, a new engine can be found easily, and even the wiring loom can be swapped out. Will it be simple? Probably not.

So then why buy this van and bring it back from its current Cajun blackened state? Simple: return on investment. Volkswagen campers are exploding in value. You could argue that 3/4 of this van is ready to go. Repair the damage, and you could be looking at a $21,000 bay window. If this was a full-on Westfalia camper with the stove, closets, and all that outdoorsy kit, it would be worth even more. Or simply get it to enjoy on weekends.

The current bid for this lime green ’77 is $1650, but the auction has not yet officially started. The camper is located in Chicago. You can view the ad and place your bid on Copart.