VW won the hearts of collectors. The best first-generation Ford Econoline would be hard pressed to bring $10k, even with $5k in pennies in the back
The Type 2, as its name suggests, was the second variant of the VW Beetle (Type 1), using the same running gear, and was introduced in 1950. Multiple types, as well as “specials,” were always offered, ranging from panel van to camper and even fire engine. The Type 2 can justifiably lay claim to being the world’s first minivan and its first “people carrier.”
The original 1,131-cc, 25-hp power unit was enlarged to 1,192 cc in 1953, and power was upped to 40 hp in 1959. This particular Type 2 Microbus has the 1,493-cc, 50-hp power unit, optional from 1962. In 1967, the biggest visual change occurred when the original split-windscreen design was replaced by a smoothed-out Type 2 version with single windscreen. Though these so-called “bay-windows” have their devotees, the “splittie” is the true collectible.
All “splittie” variants are highly sought after, and at the top of the tree comes the Sunroof Deluxe minibus version with rooflights and a canvas panel known as the Samba. Here we have a 21-window version with its eight roof lights, which has been subject to a meticulous restoration to original specifications, retaining its charming hinge-opening windscreen panes and period pushbutton radio. The only apparent deviation is a pair of modern speakers discreetly set into the kickboard trim panel. Sambas had 23 windows until 1963, when the rear door was widened and the two rear corner rear windows deleted as a result.
This Samba was mechanically and bodily restored in 2007-08 (total project cost including acquisition was reportedly $116,105), and the owner describes it as cosmetically excellent, except for the headliner, which is “original and good,” while he rates the engine and transmission as very good. Indeed, he put his faith in this immaculate left-hand-drive “splittie” by driving over from Paris a couple of weeks before the sale.