Woman Buys 1976 Volkswagen Bus a Decade Ago, ‘Van Life’ Craze Has Seen Its Value Skyrocket

by Matthew Memrick

A $2,500 investment on a 1976 Volkswagen Bus in 2010 has turned into an excellent decision for one woman.

Now, the “Van Life” crazy has driven up its value, with some versions of her bus going for $30,000. 

According to Volkswagen spokesperson Mark Gillies, other classic models with additional windows have sold for $150,000.

Volkswagen Bus Bought on eBay

Hannah Towey recounted her mom’s 2010 story for Business Insider recently. The woman bid $2,500 on eBay for a beige transporter bus.

The Ohio owner sent an email to her a day later, saying that she was the new owner.

After the bus arrived in Connecticut, all she had to do was give it a shiny coat of bright orange paint, some rust protectant, a little insulation, and a few new parts, including a steering wheel, door.  

Years later, Towey said her mom is keeping her bus for all that it’s worth. Probably.

‘Van Life’ Has Resurgence

In the 1950s, the car delivered workers and materials. Then, the 1960s came, and the bus developed into a Woodstock symbol, a Peace icon and California surfing culture magnet.

Now, the bus has taken on a new role with a new #vanlife hashtag. Along with it, the desired status symbol among many in the Gen Z age group.

“There’s this intense cult following for these cars,” Gillies, a Volkswagen spokesperson, told Business Insider. 

Some see it as pure nostalgia, a blast from the past that reminds people of gentler times, old sitcoms, and vintage things. Others feel the vehicle serves a need to escape the harsh realities of current times (9/11, recessions, and COVID-19).  

In only two years, the one-reasonably priced buses go for astronomical numbers. With a purchase, owners need to share things like hiking tips and other stories on TikTok.

See this nomadic culture as a revisitation of the hippie culture of the late 60s. On a side note, why did the compact Volkswagen Beatle come back?

There are some downsides to hearing that engine putter and pop away in the distance. These vans may be cheap to repair while others are not. Also, don’t look up safety issues with the old models. You may not like what you see.

A New EV Volkswagen Bus Soon?

Volkswagen has jumped on the trends, bring back the styling with a new electric ID Buzz version for 2023. Car and Driver Magazine estimates the car will sell for just above $40,000 with a charging capacity that will let the car go for 300 miles.

The German car company has even added a campaign, saying “brings back fond memories of Volkswagen past, while promising a revolution in everyone’s future.”

“I had so many different people – old geezers, young people, people on skateboards, just all of them thought it was cool,” Gillies told Insider about a BUZZ photoshoot in California. “There’s a lot of built-up love for the bus in of itself.”