1956 Volkswagen Panel Bus


When it comes to the original flat four, a little extra vroom for the pushn’ don’t hurt.  The Typ2 took the basic principles of reliability, simplicity, and quality found in the Typ 1 beetle and added versatility. Unfortunately 0-60 in one afternoon was another added gem.

Specializing in performance parts for the VW engine, Okrasa (known now as Oettinger) soon became the go to tuner for such coach builders as Dannenhauer & Strauss and Rometsch. Adding in many cases as much as an additional 20-25% more power, their camshaft, dual port heads, twin carburetors, free flow exhaust, and oil filtration system, turned the little 36hp motor into a “give your Porsche a run for its money” machine.

This sweet little number found on TheSamba, is Beauty and the Beast all into one.  The beautiful lines of an early split, the blank canvas of panel for a small business and/or artistically inclined, plus the robust simplicity and reliability of an air-cooled Volkswagen along with valuable Okrasa updates, make this cargo box on a wheels, a steal at $33,750.


Year: 1956
Make: Volkswagen
Model: Wolfsburg Panel Bus
Engine: 1.2 Okrasa 36hp
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: unknown
Price: $33,750


This early 1956 Panel Bus was found by a Volkswagen collector back in 2005 after it had been parked indoors for more than the previous 20 years. The body was in incredibly nice condition, very straight, unbelievably solid throughout, even on the undercarriage, and it is believed that there were approximately 40,000 original miles on it at that time. The current owner performed a complete bare-metal restoration on it and as you can see, the results are nothing short of a very pretty Bus.

Some of the many features to note include the freshly-built Okrasa Engine utilizing a Wolfsburg West kit and a Abarth style 4 pipe muffler, correct original pressed bumpers including the Barndoor long-ribbed front bumper, tubular transaxle hanger, original seamed doglegs, early Wolfsburg brakelight decklid with the open rear bracing, crankstart apron, original stamped bezel bubble taillights, original dated 15 inch Bus wheels, original floors in super nice condition, 5 new Firestone 6.40-15 bias ply tires, and much more.


The body is exceptionally nice, was completely stripped to bare metal during the restoration, and has been resprayed in the original color of Dove Blue. There was only very minimal welding necessary and as you can see from the pre-restoration and in-the-rotisserie pics on my website, the Bus was as solid as they come from the beginning. The floors are still original, are incredibly clean, straight, and are testimony to the very dry life this Bus has led. Other body details to note include the original pressed bumpers, bubble taillights, reflectors, early brakelight decklid, crankstart apron, flat wheel wells, outie vents, original seamed doglegs, and the correct high hinged cargo doors with no handle recess, too. This Bus is equally as clean and nice on the underside as the topside!


The interior is also very clean and spartan as early Commercial Buses were. The dash is in clean shape, has the original radio block off plate in place, and has a nice and correct 70 mph clear needle speedo as well. Other details to note include the Wolfsburg crest horn button, super nice steering wheel, and the correct ribbed chrome interior cab handles with black bakelite escutcheons, too.

Mechanically the Bus has been completely gone through and features the Wolfsbug West Okrasa kitted 36hp Engine, a rebuilt fully synchronized big nut transaxle, rebuilt brakes, nicely detailed front beam, 5 new Firestone bias ply tires on the original 15 inch wheels, and the electrical system is still 6 volt as well. The Okrasa engine was built and installed just last Winter so it has very low miles on it. The fuel reserve valve could use some attention but the Bus is otherwise in good mechanical condition.


You simply don’t find Wolfsburg-era commercial Buses in this kind of exceptional condition, especially in regards to the original sheet metal. Their workhorse nature almost always translated to torturous lives and most were left for dead decades ago. This example has survived very well, has seen a thorough resurrection, and is ready for some fun with a lucky new owner. Thanks!

Click here for for more details on TheSamba.

You can also visit the seller’s website to see the extensive album of pics of this nice Bus, more interesting Vintage VWs, Classic Cars, Holy Grail Garage Gear, and Parts for sale.

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