Open Roads, December | Lot 206
1962 Volkswagen Type 2 Deluxe '23-Window' Microbus
| St Helena, California
1 - 8 December 2021
- Highly desirable “23-Window” bus with “Samba” canvas roof
- Meticulously repainted in its original two-tone Sealing Wax Red and Silver Beige over a grey interior
- Recently completed total restoration by Napa Valley Restorations
- The most sought-after version of the very collectable Volkswagen Microbus
Known variously as the Kombi, the Bulli, the Transporter, or simply the Microbus, depending on the configuration in question and one’s region of origin, the Volkswagen Type 2 applied the principles that made the Beetle so successful—simplicity, economy, and practicality—to the van format. The rear-mounted engine and forward-control cabin yielded a surprisingly roomy interior, and the air-cooled flat-four could be kept running with a minimal budget…and minimal automotive knowledge.
Who could have foreseen that the hardworking Microbus would become an unquestionable icon of automotive history—one that, even decades later, is instantly evocative of a very special moment in time?
The irony, of course, is that the Type 2’s usefulness meant that many examples were used hard and used up, making survivors rare and highly sought by modern collectors. This is especially true of the example here: a 1962 Volkswagen Type 2 Deluxe “23-Window” Microbus with the appealing “Samba” sunroof. So-named due to its abundance of glass, including five windows per side, eight skylights, the desirable split-screen windshield, a giant rear windshield, plus distinctive curved rear corner windows, this bus features a bright and airy cabin, even before the sunroof is opened.
Reportedly delivered new to a Chicago-area Doctor, its second owner is said to have used it to tour the Western states in the 1970s. It was purchased by his nephew in 2004 and relocated from Vail, Colorado to Los Angeles, California, where it languished until it was acquired by the current consignor in 2020.
In need of a complete overhaul, Napa Valley Restorations was enlisted to undertake a cost-no-object revitalization of the Bus; this Napa, California-based firm has extensive experience with Volkswagen Type 2s, and its previous work on the model has earned several best-in-class awards at both Volkswagen events and concours. According to the restorer, the high-level job was completed entirely over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic—a productive use of time, to be sure!—with parts refurbished or replaced as necessary. NOS parts were used where possible, with highest-quality reproduction items filling in where they were not.
Presented in its original, appealing combination of Sealing Wax Red and Silver Beige over its correct grey interior, this highly desirable 23-Window Microbus appears just as it must have when it was new (if not better). Topped by its original roof rack painstakingly restored using its original wood slats and accompanied by tools and a spare, it would be equally suited to show exhibition or carefree drives down the coast.