1954 Barndoor Panel Bus

1954 Barndoor Panel Bus, Vintage Logos, an Original California Barndoor!

This impressively dry April 1954 Barndoor Panel Bus was originally delivered to and sold new in California and spent its entire life until last year in Downey, California.  It never left the area, was parked in a garage back in 1973 while receiving a new clutch, and didn't move for the next 38 years until we purchased it in 2011.  It has now been extensively revived, serviced, cleaned up, registered, and is now back on the road after nearly 4 decades of indoor hibernation.

The list of strengths and features on this Bus is very long and includes having original vintage cursive company logos which can be seen through the top layer of paint, being well above average as far as rust and straightness are concerned, having all of the proper Barndoor sheet metal with no clips, welding, or patches (besides the taillight holes which were previously enlarged), a phenomenal original cargo floor, all of the original large logo SEKURIT glass with the exception of the windshields, being an original California black license plate Bus with an early Al Tatti Volkswagen-Porsche Downey, California plate frame, it runs, drives, shifts, steers, and stops very well, and the Bus is positively a candidate to peel back to the original Dove Blue paint and company logos!  Other details include a great running 36hp engine, a very nice original Barndoor transaxle, bubble taillights (nice repros), glass reflectors, semaphores, brand new radial tires, and much more!

The body is in a very impressive and dry condition considering that it's never been restored and has now seen 58 years of life.  Of course there is some rust but compared to most that still exist, this is well above average.  There is a little rust perforation in the front floor corners, some blisters on the lower nose, an area on the driver's side seat stand, a few small holes and some pin blisters on the long rocker, some pin blisters on the cargo rocker, the inner rockers, a large hole on the short cargo rocker, some holes in the bottoms of the cargo doors, and a small hole in the original battery tray, too.  All of the rust is found in the lower 8-10 inches of the Bus while the upper body is very nice with perfect gutters, excellent outriggers, frame rails, jacking points, etc.  All of the sheet metal is correct Barndoor sheet metal with no previous welding besides the recently repaired taillight holes!  This includes the original Barndoor front nose, original seamed Barndoor doglegs, original Barndoor rockers, Barndoor cab doors, Barndoor cargo doors, Barndoor bulkhead wall, beautiful original Barndoor cargo floor, Barndoor decklid, Barndoor crankstart apron, matching body number stamped Door Top Frames, and brand new Gerson Barndoor bumpers.  The lower front cargo door hinge tore away from the body and has some screws holding it in place now.  It is fine like that but should eventually be permanently repaired.  The Bus was repainted a couple times prior to 1973, first in a Dark Green, and then in the funky metallic Blue.  Both of those jobs were thin layers of lacquer and there are loads of spots that have faded through and flaked off back to nice looking and strong original Dove Blue.  You can clearly see that there are original company logos as well as some other writing on the Bus.  The side panels read "?ONS Electricians" and there is no doubt that some careful peeling will uncover the logos and previous history of this Barndoor's life.  There is a little bit of filler in the lower nose, the bottom of the decklid, and the lower corners, too. 

The cab is still displaying the original Dove Blue paint and the original Barndoor front bench seat is still in the original black upholstery although it's well worn and the seams are splitting in the typical fashion.  The cab panels were freshly replaced and we made a rubber mat for the floor.  Other details to note are the Wolfsburg crested horn button on the nice original Barndoor 3 spoke steering wheel, original dash grab handle, and the original footrest bar complete with the original rubber still intact on the end.  From the cab wall back the interior was sprayed in a light coat of factory undercoating which comes off very easily after a soaking with Goof Off Remover.  The original grey paint underneath is very nice and has been well protected under the undercoat.  The cargo floor is extremely nice, solid as a rock, very straight, and still has plenty of the factory grey paint showing, too.

Mechanically the Bus is fully turnkey, runs and drives very well, and has seen an extensive amount of revival and servicing that brought it back to life after 38 years of hibernation.  The list of service performed is very long and includes:

    *  36hp Engine servicing of oil change, valve adjustment, rebuilt carburetor using German kit, rebuilt German fuel pump, tune up, new plug wires, new 009   distributor, new fan belt, and new rubber fuel line.

    *  Serviced original Barndoor transaxle including draining, fresh gear oil, new transaxle mounts, new axle boots, new axle seals, and a new shift coupler, too.

    *  Braking system completely serviced with all new metal lines, new rubber lines, new master cylinder, new screw connector pressure switch, rebuilt front wheel cylinders, new rear wheel cylinders, new shoes all around, cleaned original drums, and lubed and adjusted original Barndoor ebrake cables.

    *  Cleaned original Barndoor Gas Tank that is still in the original grey paint with the reserve valve guide still intact.  New cap seal and the original rubber boot still intact, too.

    *  Lubed original Barndoor front beam and pedal assembly.

    *  New 6 volt battery.

    *  Brand new 165 radial tires mounted on powdercoated 15 inch smoothie wheels with brand new chrome hubcaps with painted logos.

The Bus is a very nice driver and in the words of 10 Foot Doug who did the mechanical revival "this Bus runs oh so fucking nice!"
We have uploaded several videos of the Bus driving so you can see it in action from outside, inside, and a closeup of the engine running, too.

Here are some videos we took of the Bus in action last weekend...






This is a good opportunity to get a truly "good" and rare original California delivery Barndoor Bus that won't require $10,000+ in welding and accident damage repairs.  It can go in several directions from this point ranging from enjoying it just as it is, peeling the paint back to the original Dove Blue and company logos and blending as necessary, or eventually doing a full restoration in which case you will have a very good and mostly German metal Bus once you're done.  Thanks!


Please note that this Bus is located in San Diego, CA and the original black license plates that are registered to it will stay with it if it is sold here in California, otherwise they will not be included in the sale.

Please visit my website at www.holygrailgarage.com to see the extensive album of well over 250 pics of this Barndoor, more interesting Vintage VWs, Classic Cars, Holy Grail Garage Gear, and Parts for sale.
Brendan Finn (858)366-2549

Website Builder