Rusty's Gold
VW CAMPER & BUS|Spring 2019

Goldman’s junk is another man’s daily driven go anywhere, do anything work truck. And it’s still working super-hard for a living

Mark Walker

Do you ever think it’s a shame that most of the air-cooled Commercial Vans and trucks left in the world are no longer used in anger? The reality is, the majority of air-cooled Volkswagens are cosseted away these days. Sure, they may be used on weekends, or driven to VW shows and camping and perhaps if [you’re lucky - ED] you’re like our editor, then you may even use yours to collect DIY materials or for trips to the local dump, but it’s still pretty rare to see Panel Vans and Pick-Ups loaded to the hilt as they once were.

The Single Cab you see on these pages is an exception to the rule. If you’ve ever heard anyone utter the line: “Lowered trucks are useless” then read on; Rusty Willey (pronounced Wiley), the owner of the lowered Single Cab you’re looking at right now, has used this ’59 in anger, hauling some pretty large loads in all weathers, for the last 15 years.

Often, when meeting someone for the first time who drives old cars on a year-round basis and doesn’t even own a modern car, you can immediately feel the eccentricity oozing from every pore. Not so with Rusty Willey from Durango, Colorado. The impression you get when meeting Rusty is that he’s just a really enthusiastic person who really loves old VWs. In fact, Rusty loves them so much, that he’s never owned a modern car, at least not for the past 20 years. Being a bit of a VW collector and a hoarder, Rusty has built himself quite the enviable collection. As well as the truck and his lowered original paint 13-window, Rusty also counts a Patina VW Thing (Trekker) and a Baja Bug as his current daily drivers.

The story of this truck began when Rusty was living in the picturesque town of Telluride, around 15 years ago. Being into VWs, Rusty has always kept an eye on his local surroundings so he knew of a VW repair shop in nearby Mancos, that had two Single Cabs sitting outside. The owner, in his wisdom, had set one of them on a 4x4 chassis and was holding onto the second as a drop gate donor. When he decided to build a wooden stake bed for his Frankenstein creation instead, Rusty swung by the shop one more time to ask if the second truck might be for sale. It was. And Rusty: “Ended up paying like $800 for it.”

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