Restored over the course of three years using only original parts, this adorable 1959 Volkswagen Campervan is one of the very few made in a right-hand-drive specification. It’s far from being an ordinary T1 as we’re dealing with the top-of-the-range Samba version known in the United States as the Sunroof Deluxe. The early ones came with an impressive 23-window setup, as it’s the case with this pristine example, while later on the Samba switched to a 21-window arrangement.
Being a RHD model with the two extra windows, many consider it as the “Holy Grail” version among fans of the T1. Classic Car Auctions (CCA) says the Microbus now “appears just as it did when it rolled out of the German factory in 1959 following a painstakingly detailed restoration.” To breathe new life into this Samba, every nut and bolt was removed and the vehicle was stripped down to its bare metal. The current owner went all out during the restoration process as he wanted to keep it as original as possible.
It’s wearing the original two-tone Beige White and Sealing Wax Red body paint as it did almost 60 years ago when it was sold to the original buyer from South Africa. The current owner from U.K. restored the interior himself by putting his cabinet maker skills to good use after installing a Devon cabin — only available that year — he acquired before actually buying the T1.
The lengthy restoration also involved overhauling the oily bits and now the Microbus can “cruise comfortably at 65 mph [104 kph].” Birmingham-based Bear VW Services was in charge of the 1600 twin port engine, which is actually the only part of the car that’s not entirely original. The same engineers were also responsible for rebuilding the manual gearbox.
Having covered 2,100 miles (3,380 kilometers) after being restored, the Samba Campervan is now in need of a new home. Classic Car Auctions will have the rare model up for grabs on June 10 at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre and it estimates the special T1 will fetch anywhere between £45,000 to £55,000 (about $58,500 to $71,500).
Source: Classic Car Auctions
Gallery: 1959 VW Samba Campervan
EXPERTLY RESTORED ‘HOLY GRAIL’ VW CAMPER FOR AUCTION
- One of only a handful of right-hand drive 1959 Volkswagen 23 Window Samba Campervans made.
- An example of an exacting restoration over three years using original parts only.
- To be offered with a sale estimate of £45,000 to £55,000 at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on Saturday 10th
A super rare 1959 Volkswagen 23 Window Samba Campervan, faithfully restored to authentic standards, is set to bring Camper fans flocking to the West Midlands when it goes to auction with Classic Car Auctions (CCA) at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre on Saturday 10th June.
The rare 23 window model, featuring eight small skylight windows and sunroof, is among the most sought-after of all VW Campers and is considered as the ‘Holy Grail’ among collectors and enthusiasts.
The right hand drive, manual example is believed to be one of just a handful on UK roads and today appears just as it did when it rolled out of the German factory in 1959 following a painstakingly detailed restoration.
Originally dispatched to South Africa, the Camper spent the first four decades of its life in warmer climes before being imported into the UK. Having been neglected for some years, the new owner decided to treat the Camper to a complete restoration to which he would dedicate the next three years of his life.
The restoration included a bare metal strip down and removal of every nut and bolt, the owner going to extreme lengths to acquire every part as either original NOS or original parts, including sourcing semaphores from the USA.
A cabinet maker by trade, he expertly restored the original wood work using a Devon interior he bought before owning the Camper, also replacing chrome work, interior trim and window frames, alongside a mechanical overhaul and exterior respray.
The only deviation from originality is the 1600 twin port engine built by Bear VW Services, Birmingham, who also rebuilt the gearbox, which allows the Camper to cruise comfortably at 65mph.
Today the Camper presents in very good condition in its original colour combination of Beige White and Sealing Wax Red. With just 2,100 miles on the clock since restoration, the Camper has been valued at £45,000 to £55,000 by the auction house.
Simon Langsdale, classic car consignor at CCA explains: “A right hand drive, 1959 Samba is rare enough, but combine this with an authentic Devon interior, only available in that year, and you have one very special bus!
“How the owner managed to source all original parts is quite extraordinary, and this has to be one of the most original, restored Campers anyone can find anywhere, as well as a true testament to VW appreciation.”