There's nothing quite like a Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter. It's a home away from home that retains its cool, even after half a century cruising the American countryside. In the 60s, these psychedelic 'hippie vans' provided a means of escapism, in the 90s, reborn as lowered 'splitties' they brought refreshing change to the crowded hot rod community, and now thanks to small production numbers and continued high demand, classic 'microbuses' are providing investors with another rock solid place to put their money. Prices are simply going through the roof on properly restored Type 2s, and earlier this year the most desirable, a 23 window '63 Deluxe crossed Barrett-Jacksons auction block for just under $218K! Built in 1963, this 21 window Deluxe is an investment grade rarity that has been meticulously maintained throughout its 20 year residence with a southern California family. It recently took home first place at the 2011 Familienfest Type 2 Volkswagen show and is arguably one of the most desirable Volkswagens on the planet.
The first generation of Volkswagen buses was built from 1949 to 1967, and is known as the split-window or Type 2. After much success and growing demand, Volkswagen began producing a model called the Deluxe microbus in 1951 that featured 15 windows and the distinct option of a cloth sun roof. In addition to providing a unique open air feel, the sun roof option added eight sky light windows that resulted in either a 23 or 21 window bus which was nicknamed the Samba. Fresh out of a high end restoration where every part was completely rebuilt and detailed to the highest level possible, this '63 Samba is as close to the ultimate Volkswagen Type 2 as you can get. Its rust free original body has been coated in classic two-tone Ivory and Onyx Black paint that glistens under our showroom lights, and adds a surprisingly formal look to a van that is right at home carrying surf boards to a California beach.
To improve aerodynamics and achieve an excellent, for the time, .44 coefficient of drag, Volkswagen gave the Type 2 a sweeping V-line front end that houses a split windscreen above a centered cast aluminum "VW" emblem and forms the basis for the buses design. Below the large emblem, pristine U.S. spec VW code 425 sealed beam headlights and parking lights sit above a curved show worthy front bumper that holds a driver's side chrome driving light. Above the split windscreen, the buses extended roof is equipped with two vents and acts as both a visor and ventilation system which pipes cool air into the cockpit via roof mounted vents. Behind that visor, a factory cloth sun roof that is in excellent condition and has likely never seen rain sits below a factory roof rack which is big enough to haul luggage for each of the eight passengers this Samba can carry. At the sides of the bus, the stainless V-line trim from the front continues through the doors to serve as a divider for the mirror-like two-tone paint and perfectly complements dent free stainless rocker spears that are mounted between the front and rear tires. Bolt-on trim is limited to cool factory front steps that hang below the front bumper, three chrome door handles, a correct silver driver's side mirror and a passenger's side front mount antenna. At the back of the bus, a new for 1964 wider rear door sits above a second showroom fresh chrome bumper and divides two pristine chrome trimmed tail lights.
Like the Type 1 Beetle, the Type 2 Transporter is powered by an air-cooled rear mounted four-cylinder boxer engine that makes engine noise and fumes nearly non-existent for the driver and front passenger. Under the rear hatch of this Samba you'll find a 1966 DO code 1200 CC engine that utilizes a light alloy block with four main bearings, cast iron cylinder liners, finned cylinders and light alloy heads to create a 7:1 compression ratio, and a conservative but adequate 34 horsepower and 64 ft./lb. of torque. While that might not sound like a lot of oomph by today's standards, the modest motor is perfectly capable of carrying this bus at highway speeds and has the added benefit of frequently achieving almost 30 MPG on stoplight free cross country treks. At the top of the motor a correct single barrel carburetor mixes air piped from louvers on the sides of the bus with fuel supplied by a braided fuel line. On the left side of the carburetor, a chrome coil supplies a correct points distributor which sends power through fresh Bosch plug wires. On the right side of the carburetor, a chrome capped oil filler sits behind a correct generator that is accented by a chrome pulley and spun by a fresh V-belt. A lot of time was spent sorting out this Sambas details during the restoration, and with a fresh coat of spatter paint and select chrome dress up items, it's obvious that the clean engine bay was a main point of focus. The DO motor fires instantly, runs great and idles with the typical vintage Volkswagen gait that is undoubtedly one of the most unique sounds to ever come out of a car.
Since the Type 1 Beetle floorpan proved too weak for the Type 2 Transporter, Volkswagen engineered a new ladder chassis with unit-body construction. Because the Type 2s wheelbase was the same as the Type 1s, engineers reused the Type 1 reduction gear enabling this relatively large vehicle to get good performance out of a relatively efficient engine. At the front of the bus, disc brakes sit at the edges of completely rebuilt and freshly painted steering and suspension components that look like they've never seen any mud at all. At the back of the bus, an era correct 4-speed manual transmission sends power to a solid rear axle that is equipped with new shocks and the same fresh silver paint as the front suspension. Below the rear bumper, a reproduction exhaust system snakes out from the rear mounted engine into a freshly coated rear muffler that sits just behind a stainless tip. The entire undercarriage of this Samba is just as detailed and restored as its exterior panels and engine bay. Not only does everything look great, this bus runs and drives like it would have when it came off the lot in 1963. The massive solid and dent free floorpan displays new black protective undercoating that will ensure its structural integrity for years to come. And at the corners, correct 15 inch steel wheels have been dipped in bright red paint and feature correct stainless trim rings and smoothie hubcaps inside of Firestone 5.60-15 wide white wall tires.
Open this Sambas cool curved doors and check out its correct gray interior that has been fully restored to look just as it would when this bus rolled out of the German factory. The correct VW code 080 split front and rear bench seats have been well taken care of and are very comfortable despite appearing as if they haven't even seen enough driving time to being fully broken in. The original dash is painted a slick coat of Ivory to match the outside of the bus and hangs a key for the engine bay and fuel door below a large speedometer, a clear fuel gauge and a Deluxe-exclusive clock. The two-tone door panels are in excellent shape and feature what appears to be original chrome door handles. In front of the driver you'll find a classic body matched Volkswagen steering wheel with an old school VW emblem, and to the right of the driver you'll find a simple white stick shifter for the 4-speed. The floors feature traditional rubber mats that are fresh from the restoration, and behind the seats, a carpeted cargo area includes correct protective window bars and a fully equipped matching spare tire.
Included with the sale is authentic era correct luggage that takes this Type 2s showmanship to a new level.
Fresh off of winning the best bus award at the biggest annual Volkswagen show in the United States, this museum quality Samba has every detail correct. It's one of the most enjoyable and desirable vehicles in the world and it just oozes the kind of personality that can only be found in 60s era specialty cars. If you're looking for a solid investment that isn't just another muscle car, this very rare and exclusive 1963 Volkswagen belongs in your garage. Call now!
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