This Wolfsburg-built 1955 VW Type 2 (T1b) Microbus was the first Samba to hit the British shores and is believed to be the sole survivor of the original imports. Now, it's up for grabs.
Silverstone Auctions estimates this split-screen to worth about $110,000, and if you think that's crazy talk, remember what people go through to save these nowadays.
While Volkswagen introduced the Type 2 Microbus in 1950, the luxury version, the Samba was only added to the lineup in June 1951. With 23 windows including eight panoramic windows in the roof, two pivot doors (instead of a sliding door) and a fabric sunroof, it was Volkswagen's idea of the perfect vehicle for road trips through the Alps.
Unlike the very early "Barn-door" Sambas built between 1951 and 1955, SGP 62 is a T1b, meaning that it doesn't have the enormous rear engine cover, nor sliding doors. On the plus side, it comes with the following setup:
A new 2.0L twin-carb engine (by VW expert John Gurney), dual circuit brakes with CSP front discs, independent rear suspension, radial tires, integrated front & rear indicators (working semaphores are still in place), engine bay fire suppressant system and front & rear seatbelts. In addition, there is a concealed fuel gauge, iPod/iPhone dock in front ashtray, 12v sockets, a treasure chest safe and 12v conversion.
When it comes to history, while Sambas were never officially sold in the UK, this original RHD survivor was delivered as new on the 21st November 1955, imported by John Colborne-Baber, founder of the original VW dealership in the UK, namely Colborne Garages of Ripley. He used it as his personal transport for a while. After converting it in 1959 with family holidays in his mind, SGP 62 disappeared from the radar.
They found it again in 1992 and restored to its original specification using a period-correct Devon Conversions interior, with an Osokool fridge and a Dudley Stove. What more could you ask for?
Of course this bus is not the only item on Silverstone's list that I would grab during the Retro Classic Car Sales auction in February.
Let me direct your attention to this stunning Le Mans Green 1972 Ford Escort RS 1600, this race ready 2009 Ferrari F430 Scuderia GT3 Evo, this super rare #20 Lynx Eventer, this striking 1991 Alfa Romeo SZ Zagato, this upgraded 1993 Jaguar XJ220 and this simply awesome 1988 Ford Sierra Cosworth "Texaco"!
I would need a hangar.
Photo credits: Silverstone Auctions