On The Floor

1967 VW 21-Window Ragtop Bus | Rusty

When poor old Rusty showed up at the shop, even the toughest guys had to get a little choked up. This poor 1967 VW 21-Window ragtop bus was just pitiful. If you walked past him just a little too fast, you'd cause a breeze to stir... and it would rock him. Gentle poke to his rear quarter? He'd shimmy and shudder.

When it was time for Rusty to come indoors and start the restoration process, he couldn't even move on his own wheels.

But we weren't scared. (And we're all up to date on our tetanus shots.)

Can a 1967 VW 21-Window Ragtop Bus actually be too rusty to save?

We like to wish we could save all the old Volkswagens rusting away in junkyards, garages, and mythical barns. This 1967 VW 21-window ragtop bus is a challenge, no doubt. But it's one we're eager to beat. It's taking many, many hours of metalwork. The replacement metal alone is a significant driver on this project's costs.

In fact, when the client brought it to us, we recommended starting with a core that's in better shape. This wasn't the bus he grew up with or got married in... it was one he sourced. But as long as he understood this was not going to be fast or cheap, we could build him the gorgeous bus he was envisioning. That's why some honest conversations are a good place to start.


This 1967 VW 21-Window Ragtop Bus came from somewhere up north, sitting outside under trees. It most likely spent decades outdoors, out in the open. The rust pattern tells all.

We know that blasting is going to reveal all the corrosion. Normally, we blast first, then see what we have to work with. But in this case, blasting first would have left nothing but a pile of rust. The bus needed lots of metalwork just so it could survive blast. We built an interior sort of scaffolding to help the bus stand up on its own.

When Spook first saw this 1967 VW 21-Window Ragtop Bus, he told the client, "Well, you've got a nice piece of wall art here. What am I supposed to do with this? it will cost you more in replacement metal than you'll believe."

But the client was undeterred. It had to be THIS bus.

OK, as long as everyone is all-in, going in with eyes wide open, it was game on. Indeed, this is not for the faint of heart.

So, what's so special about this model? It's the last year of the split-window bus; it's a 12-volt, and being the last year of production for this bus, it's special. That configuration of the ragtop and the 21 windows is desirable because it's iconic. This bus is the bus most people who think about busses think about. (Yeah, while you don't ever want the first year of a new model, getting the final year has its perks.)
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