SOLD!  1953 Barndoor Ambulance with 23,000 Original Miles!

1953 Barndoor Ambulance with just 23,357 Original Miles.

This beautiful April 1953 Ambulance is likely one of the lowest original mileage Barndoor era Buses in the World as well as being quite possibly the nicest Barndoor Ambulance in existence.  It was bought brand new by an explosives factory in Sweden which accounts for its Left Hand Drive/Left Hand Cargo Door configuration.  It served exclusively as an industrial ambulance for 30 years from 1953 through 1983 when it was retired from service.  The company recorded their trips in a log book which will be included with the Bus.  The last logged trip was for a heart attack patient back in 1983, both the patient and Bus survived!

It had an exterior respray back in the late 1980's in Europe before it was imported to the USA by a collector in the early 1990's.  Shortly thereafter it was featured in VW Trends in the August 1992 issue.  Just last year it won Best Of Show at the Seattle Vintage Meet and has since had a lower half respray in top of the line German Glasurit single stage paint as well as having had the small chrome parts rechromed.  Additionally a correct set of flat lensed bubble taillights were purchased from splitpartsunlimited and installed to make it that much more correct.  So, in the end, the Bus is considerably nicer now than when it took top honors just last year. 

There is a considerable amount of documentation that accompanies the Bus including the original owners manual, Ambulance brochure, Ambulance manual (all dated February and March of 1953), explosives company emergency logbook, and the VW Trends issue with the feature article as well.  The original short, pre-rear bumper crank start handle and original keys are also still with the Bus.

The body is in incredibly nice and "factory straight" condition.  Great care was taken during the recent respray to not overrestore the body and maintain that factory panel wave and spot weld dimple appearance that early Barndoors had when new.  All of the metal is original to the Bus as well as all of the glass including the windshields, large logo SEKURIT frosted ambulance windows, etc.  All of the body components are correct, Barndoor long ribbed front bumper, all doors, decklid, Barndoor crank start apron, seamed doglegs, beautiful floors, 1952-1953 only taillights, large diamond reflectors, correct early ribbed semaphores (drivers side semaphore bulb is a bit temperamental) red cross roof light, early ambulance roof scoop/vent, correct Barndoor door handles, early big sliver headlights (one lens is a 10 Foot Doug/"vdouglu" reproduction) with Hella single rivet chrome rings, etc. 

The interior is completely original, unbelievably nice, and complete with doctors chair, stretcher, reclining patient's chair, working Ambulance buzzers, sliding glass cab divider with pull down privacy curtain, absolutely mint original front seat, interior panels, headliner, original side window jailbars, linoleum rear flooring, beautiful original front floor mat, original upside down speedometer, mint original 3 spoke steering wheel, the list goes on.  The vast majority of this old Ambulance's 57 years have been spent indoors, parked, and awaiting its next call for a trip to the hospital.  It has seen very little use and the interior is phenomenal testimony to that well cared for and gentle life.

Mechanically the Bus saw an engine swap back in 1964.  The original 25hp engine was replaced with an early 36hp for added power and functionality as an emergency vehicle.  The engine runs incredibly well, as smooth as a Swiss watch.  The transaxle shifts beautifully and is very tight as are the suspension and steering.  The low original mileage is further exemplified by the cream puff feel on the road.  The electrical system is still 6 volt and absolutely everything works including the rear cabin buzzers, wipers, high beams, low beams, semaphores, brakelight, running lights, correct Barndoor bakelite domelights, etc.  The brakes were thoroughly serviced a few years back with receipts to substantiate the work performed.  All 5 of the tires are brand new and correct sized Firestone 5.50-16 bias plies mounted on the original paint 16 inch wheels.  The wheels received a light touchup with the recent respray.  They are topped off with correct white painted logo chrome hubcaps.  The Bus fires right up, runs excellent, shifting is tight, suspension is great, it tracks perfectly, and is as silent as it was when new.  The feel of an original and unmolested Bus cannot be duplicated in even the best of restorations.  This Bus is as incredible a survivor as you could ever dream of.


*Please note that this Ambulance is located in Oregon.

Please visit my website at to see a huge number of pics of this Barndoor, more interesting Vintage VWs, Classic Cars, and Parts for sale.  Thanks!

Brendan Finn (858)366-2549

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