1964 Volkswagen Type 2 De Luxe Micro Bus by Devon Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. 245 075 155
As readily recognisable as the immortal 'Beetle' itself, the Volkswagen Type 2 and its derivatives enjoyed an even longer period in production than their saloon progenitor. The original was conceived in the late 1940s by a Dutch Volkswagen agent, Ben Pon, who drew up plans for a van based on the Beetle floor pan and running gear. Known as the Volkswagen Type 2 (the Beetle saloon being Type 1) the result of Pon's efforts arrived in 1950 and almost immediately proliferated into a bewildering variety of models catering for an enormous range of commercial and domestic activities. The original retained the Beetle's rear-mounted 1,200cc air-cooled engine and four-speed gearbox, the latter suitably re-ratioed to cope with the van's greater weight. Engines grew in size and power while both handling and comfort improved as development progressed. The first major revision of this outstandingly successful design occurred in 1967, by which time almost two million had been sold worldwide. The replacement, also called 'Type 2', was an entirely new vehicle, larger and roomier than before but still rear-engined. The most obvious difference was the newcomer's single-piece wraparound windscreen, giving this model its 'Bay' sobriquet, whereupon the original, with its two-piece split screen, became know to devotees as the 'Splittie'.
This spectacular 21-window 'Splittie' Micro Bus was ordered from the Volkswagen factory as a right-hand drive vehicle with the M 543 option, which meant that it was for delivery without rear seats to facilitate its conversion by the specialist coachbuilder Devon into one of its immensely popular 'Caravette' motor homes. According to the accompanying certificate issued by the Stiftung Auto Museum Volkswagen, which looks after the marque's heritage, it was built on 15th December 1964 and left the factory seven days later to be delivered to Ramsgate in the UK. The specification included paint in Seeblau (L360) with a Blauweiß (L 289) roof, the same colours it wears today. The engine is a 1.5-litre unit with a power output of 42bhp.
This ultra-rare Volkswagen features a host of desirable options such as a two-hob gas cooker; fridge with water tap; heating; two bench seats with a table, which can be converted into a double bed; curtains all round; storage compartments in doors and under the seats; wardrobe in the rear; additional interior lighting; and grey fabric upholstery. The current vendor purchased the car from the previous owner, who had owned it since 1997, and embarked on a comprehensive restoration, using original VW material for the roof lining, upholstery and door cards. The engine has been comprehensively overhauled also. We are advised that the Type 2 is as it left the Devon workshops, while an accompanying Classic Data report rates it as 'Condition 1' with a valuation of 150,000 (approximately £108,000). A photographic record and 'photo book' comes with the vehicle, together with restoration invoices, the aforementioned Classic Data report, VW Zertifikat and German Zulassungsbescheinigung. This Type 2 has also featured in an edition of the 'Classic Ride' programme broadcast by the German television station Motorvision. An opportunity not to be missed.