Depending on where you are located, you would be well advised to shop around in Collector Car Trader.com. Plug in the parameters for a VW search in the south-west US and you will find some solid vans for a variety of prices. Some of the camper models never saw really severe use and were used for summer holidays sparing them a lot of the rust inducing weather of the rest of the year. The working vans were in many cases worked to death. The real enemy in all of the old VW's was rust. If you can score a fairly rust-free body the mechanical components are plentiful and reasonably priced. A rusted out unit can be fixed up but the costs of proper restoration can quickly exceed the value of the van. I have seen a couple of Arizona vans in Collector Car Trader for under $ 3000. They looked like good starter units. Good luck with your search. Dan (MY72BUG) - also looking for a decent van - in Goderich, Ont. ( where the resident old vans are piles of iron oxide)
I'd rather have a partial bottle in front of me than a partial frontal lobotomy.