Volkswagen sent van fans and aging hippies into a frenzy last fall when it confirmed the retro I.D. Buzz electric van concept will go into production in 2022. But there's another company doing its part to bring the VW Bus back to life in the 21st century—meet Classic Steel Body, an Ohio outfit that will sell you a brand new body shell for rear-engined, air-cooled 1955-1967 Volkswagen T1 vans.
Everyone knows that the older a car is, the harder it will be to find something usable for a restoration project. This is doubly true for cars with skyrocketing values like the first run of classic VW buses—you're either buying a museum-quality example for a six-figure sum, or you're sourcing a trashed model with rust holes in the floor and entire generations of animals living in the cabin. Classic Steel Body aims to change that by selling these freshly-manufactured steel shells to serve as a flawless base for bus builds.
For $17,000, enthusiasts can choose from a variety of first-generation Transporter bodies ranging from 1955 to 1967. There's also an amazing single-cab truck body on tap for $15,000, and you can also opt to buy these raw bucks with all exterior panels attached (at a higher price, of course). The idea of selling replacement metal parts for the Bus is nothing new—for years, you could go out and purchase replacement belly pans, nose panels, skylight structures, and anything else that had rusted away over the decades. But this is the first time we've seen entire, complete bodies for sale.
There's a catch, though—in order to complete your project and register your new-old bus for street use in all 50 states, you'll need to plop it on an existing, original van chassis with its own VIN. Classic Steel Body says that depending on the state, you could also source your own non-original chassis and register it as a newly-assembled kit vehicle.
The company is currently accepting deposits to reserve a spot in line for when the bodies become available, with production scheduled to start this fall. That's soon enough to make a perfect winter project—and with the prices of classic VW vans lately, many non-purists may jump on the opportunity.