The May Sale 2017

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1966 VW Type 2 (T1) Microbus Deluxe 'Samba'

Lot No.: 334

Registration: GVU 411D
Chassis Number: 246162474
Engine Number: 44DIN-PS
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 1500
Year of Manufacture: 1966
Estimate (£): 58,000 - 64,000
(+buyer’s premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%)

The Volkswagen 'Type 2' was introduced in 1950 as a multi-variant utility vehicle and was designated as a Transporter, Kombi or Microbus depending on body type. It was conceived as a natural partner to the Volkswagen Type 1, better known as the original 'Beetle'. The first generation of these versatile vehicles carried the works nomenclature T1 and were produced with distinctive split-screens (subsequently known as 'Splitties') from 1950 until 1967. Only two models were originally offered, the Kombi and the Commercial, with the Microbus being added in May 1950, to be joined by the, comparatively luxurious, Deluxe Microbus in June 1951.

Earlier versions of the Deluxe Microbus featured eight rear side windows, two rear corner windows plus an additional eight small 'skylight' windows, and many years later in the mysterious world of Type 2 ownership, they are now revered as the '23-window'. From the 1964 model year with its wider rear door, the rear corner windows were discontinued, making it, not unnaturally, the '21-window'. The 23 and later 21 window variants each carry the famous nickname 'Samba' and are especially sought after.

The Samba often had a long fabric sunroof and was usually painted in two colours with the upper part in white and the two tones being separated by a decorative strip. Sambas have a more comprehensive dashboard than the normal T1, and are often fitted with an attractive sun-visor over the split-screen, in VW parlance known as a 'hat'.

With the introduction of the T2, the Samba body-style no longer featured, making these early and rare models very collectable and almost legendary. 

Presented here is a 1966 Samba fitted with the M164 sliding door option from new.  Only available on the 21-window Deluxe Samba model during production years 1966-67, the M164 sliding door addition represented an expensive option and consequently, not many non-commercial customers ticked this box, meaning this model represents one of the rarest Sambas in existence.  Research done by our vendor, has revealed that, including this vehicle, it is believed only nine other known LHD Microbus Deluxe with the M164 option survive worldwide. More interesting is the fact that, of those nine, only five are known to be 'bulkhead' models with this vehicle being one of only four in its original colour combination. The other three reside in Germany, Belgium and the USA.

There are two VIN plates in place on this Samba, one on the overhead air-box with the bus type and year of manufacture etc. and one behind the passenger seat documenting the M-codes.  

Another rare option on this Samba is the ‘Eberspacher’ heater. Located in the engine bay and running on petrol, this basic yet lovely ‘bolt on’ extra was used to heat the van whilst it toured the Swiss Alps, which was, of course, the Samba's original 'raison'd'etre'.

According to our vendor, some evidence exists to verify the Samba’s history.  It is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from the Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen, confirming it was manufactured in Wolfsburg, Germany on 6th June 1966, and was originally delivered to a Volkswagen dealership in Hanover. Following its time in Germany, it's believed that the vehicle was sold to a hotel or tour operator in French-speaking Switzerland. The full early history after the initial sale cannot be confirmed, but an original French language sales brochure, complete with a picture of an identical M164 model plus an original TCS (Swiss Automobile Association) membership book and numerous 1960's touring maps of the Swiss Alps are included in the history file.

After some years of Swiss Alps touring duty, it is believed to have returned to Germany where it remained until 2006 prior to being exported to the UK for restoration.   It was sold by a specialist in the South East of England to a gentleman in Edinburgh, where it resided for the next three years, enjoying some partial restoration.  During 2009 it was sold to a buyer from Staffordshire who arranged a full restoration to original specification before he, in turn, moved abroad. 

It was then sold to our vendor in 2014 after discovering it slumbering somewhat at the back of a garage.  The vehicle was transported to his impressive workshop to finally complete the long drawn out process of returning this lovely Samba to its former glory. Now resplendent in its original factory colours of Beige Grey over Titian Red, and with many of its original parts,  painstakingly restored and refitted, this is one of the best-presented examples of these iconic vehicles we have ever seen. The flat-four, air-cooled, 1500cc engine is now in rude health and runs well with reliable Petronix electronic ignition and twin Solex carbs. and the engine bay is as 'pretty as a picture'.  There is full photographic evidence of the step-by-step restoration process.

We welcome any inspection of this remarkable vehicle.