1967 VW Type 2High-Roof Panel Van
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Dutch-market Volkswagen importer Ben Pon suggested a basic utility van to the automaker’s engineers in April 1947, not long after the first Type 1 Beetles arrived in his home country. The Germans liked the idea. As soon as they could, they built a prototype that shared much of its running gear but not its chassis with the Type 1. The van was initially conceived as a utilitarian delivery vehicle well suited to tight European streets with its narrow dimensions and short turning circle. A passenger version was also offered, while the Microbus that could function as a family car followed not long after. The Type 2 evolved with various body and powertrain upgrades that made it more functional.
So successful was the Type 2 that Volkswagen in 1956 built a dedicated Transporter production facility in Hanover, Germany. Assembly in Hanover continued into 1967 for European and North American markets, until a redesigned version known to enthusiasts as the T2, with a longer body and a single, larger windshield, arrived in late 1967.
This Type 2 is among the last of the T1 vans built and is fitted with the unusual high-roof, or Hochdach, configuration that allowed for even more utility. Extra-tall side doors provide access to a cargo area so tall that many adults can stand upright once inside. The vans left Hannover with unadorned interiors painted an innocuous off-grey hue, and nearly all were outfitted with custom shelving and the like. Given the hard lives these vans lived—if not with their first owners, then in their second and third lives as utility trucks—few are known to have survived.
This example was built for the German market in harmonious Dove Blue with a handful of options fitted, including bumper over-riders and lap belts. The van was restored between 2003 and 2004 by MetalKraft CoachWerkes in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has largely been displayed and not driven in the ensuing years. It presents in nearly new condition inside and out, and where it has been jovially personalized with Taj Ma Garaj vinyl graphics, it could be rechristened for a new purpose. A white-painted roof rack was custom-fabricated and features a matching stepladder that helps accentuate just how tall the high-roof version of the Type 2 really is. Inside, the van features grey upholstery in the original style, Wolfsburg lap belts, and a painted dashboard with a white grab handle.
Ready for personalization or to be the star of any gathering of vintage VW busses, this high-roof T1 is certainly among the finest examples to be found.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/tg19.