so you have $xxxx and you want to buy a bus. here are my suggestions for what to think about and what to look for. they are not in any particular order, you need to look at and evaluate all of these things.
first off, have you riden in or driven a bus? if not, get out and find a freind with one and ride around in it, drive it, go on a road trip in it. get the feel of an old bus and see if that is something that you would like.
second, what model do you want? take a look around and see what the different models are and think long and hard about it. if you want a truck and you want to be able to take your whole family out to the movies in it, you better get a doublecab unless you have a small family or boys that like to ride in the back.
third, what color do you want? it is highly recomended that you stick with a stock color and preferably the original color for that bus. if you have your heart set on a green bus, but you buy a red bus and paint it green, it is going to look like chrismas when it gets any scratches. not to mention the adverse affects on the value.
fourth, what is the condition of paintwork? paint is very expensive. a good paintjob for a bus can easily run $8k-$12k. a cheap maaco paint job will seriously devalue the bus and it will look like crap in two years. original paint is nice, but hard to find and never perfect. a fresh repaint can look shiny now, but can have big problems in a few years. an older repaint will show more of the quality of materials used. if the repaint is ten years old and it can still hold somewhat of a shine, and it isn't rusting through and the bondo isn't cracking, that is a good sign. if you are still thinking about getting a bus painted, go around to a few body shops and see if they will even take on a bus. most won't because they can make twice the money doing insurance work.
fifth, how much rust? all buses have rust, its just a matter of how much. if it is just a tiny amount, you can treat it and not have to get any welding done. if it has a few panels that need replaced, you will be spending quite a bit of money getting that work done. also see my thoughts on paint, because it will likely need painted after the rustwork is finished. a good freind of mine (who has restored and customized hundreds of cars over the last 30 years) once told me, "I will take body damage over rust any day of the week". this is because body damage is a lot easier to fix than rust. rust is incideous and it hides in hard to reach places.
sixth, how much body damage? see paintwork and add at least a couple thousand dollars.
seventh, how complete is the bus? parts can be expensive and hard to find.
eighth, how does the bus drive? the mechanical condition of the bus is important, but less so than the paint/body/rust because it is easier and cheaper to fix. it never ceases to amaze me how a freshly shiny car that drives like crap will sell twice as fast as a faded original car that drives perfectly. its not a deal killer for the bus to drive bad, but it can cost $4k-$8k+ to do a complete mechanical rebuild. factor that into the purchase price. if it doesn't run, consider that it needs everything.
ninth, how is the overall wear on the bus? does the bus appear to be worn out? do more things not work than do work? in the long run it will cost much much more to make a turd nice than it will to buy a nice bus and make it nicer. buy the best condition bus that you can afford and if you can't afford a nice bus, you probably really can't afford a crappy bus.
tenth, how patient are you? this is really important. buying a bus is not like going to the store and buying a loaf of bread. sure, there are 360 buses for sale on this site while I am writing this, but there still may not be the right bus for you. the more money you have to spend, the easier it is to find a nice bus, but even then, patience is a virtue. you want to buy the right bus to begin with. be sure that the bus you are looking at is the right bus for you. if you have big doubts about that, then it is likely the wrong bus. be prepared to wait for up to a year to find the bus of your dreams. everyone that I know who has been serious about buying a VW and had a realistic budget and some patience has been able to find the right car in less than a year. I see just as many people get impatient and buy the wrong bus and later regret it after they have dumped too much money into something that they only kind of wanted and then they see their dream bus get sold for less money than what they have into their bus, but they can't buy it because their money is tied up in their bus.
i stole this from the samba.com, but i'm sure we can all use a bit of good advice
p.s change the $ to Â£.....