Is $200k too much for this pristine VW Type 2 Samba Bus?

The Volkswagen Type 2 bus became a cultural icon for the hippie movement of the 1960s, but they're now collector's items. Is $200k too much even for the best Type 2?

The Volkswagen Beetle might be the German marque’s most iconic model, but the Type 2 comes in at a very close second place. If the Beetle got German families moving, the Type 2 got the whole country in motion with commercial variants, as well as its famed camper model.

One of the most sought-after Type 2s is the 23-window Deluxe, better known as the Samba Bus. A fine example of this iconic automobile is heading to auction with Bonhams at its Scottsdale event in January – with a predictably eye-watering upper estimate of $200,000 (£158,000, €174,000).

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The Volkswagen Type 2 was inspired by Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon, who had sketched some ideas for a vehicle based on Beetle underpinnings.

This vastly more practical VW became a huge success thanks to its versatility and ability to carry many passengers. Top of the line special edition models called ‘Sondermodell’ featured 23 windows, allowing plenty of extra light into this recreational vehicle.

This specific 1963 Type 2 is amongst the very last Sambas built and is said to be one of the best restored examples out there. The charming orange and white colour scheme matches its specification when first sold to an American serviceman who was posted in Germany.

Sgt. Roberts liked his Samba so much that he took it back to Texas with him once his tour was completed. It changed hands many times over the years but it was purchased by its current owner in 2012, who later began a painstaking four-year restoration.

Thanks to the use of original documentation and historical photography, this Volkswagen is a faithful representation of how the car was when new. There’s plenty of original parts including AM radio, headlights, seat kick panels, speedometer and windshield wipers to name but a few.

Sadly, its original VW engine was removed during its life. But a 1.2-litre motor from the very same month of production was sourced for this restoration to be as accurate as possible.

This Samba Bus is a concours-level vehicle that might just be the best example of a Type 2 T1b Splitscreen for sale today. Consigned by Bonhams, it goes under the hammer with an estimate of $150,000 - $200,000 (£118,000 – £158,000, €130,000 – €174,000).

It's a fine specimen, no doubt – but can you stomach that price? With most Type 2s of the same spec, age and condition still selling for five figures, we'll see what the bidders make of that estimate come January 17 next year.

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