As camper vans go, the Volkswagen Type 2 is probably the most famous one in the world, with a thriving scene and a huge following globally.
And among enthusiasts, it’s the pre-1967 split-screen models that are the most sought-after.
The Type 2 split-screen was made between 1951 and 1967 and was one of the most versatile commercial vehicles of its era, offered as everything from a basic panel van to a fully-fledged ‘Westfalia’ camper (the vehicle with which the VW Camper obsession began). Other variants included the eight-seater ‘Microbus’, a flatbed pick-up and a crew cab pick-up, along with a high roof van and even an Abentaurerwagen – or ‘Adventure Van’ designed for wild camping.
This example is a 1964 conversion based on a VW Kombi – the final variant in the list of body styles. The Kombi was originally offered as a multi-purpose vehicle that could double-up as both a van and a minibus.
It was converted to a camper during its restoration in South Africa, and was imported here in 2016, since when it has had a substantial amount spent on it mechanically.
PTU 449B left VW’s Wolfsburg factory on June 19, 1964, as an export model destined for Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
It was originally Pearl White all over, with two rows of seats and a boarded-out rear, all of which is documented on an official VW Heritage Certificate.
According to the vendor, the Kombi spent most of its life as a school bus in Rhodesia and later in Zimbabwe, before being retired in the early 2000s.
In 2012 the Kombi was acquired by a VW specialist in South Africa and was sold to a UK buyer, who arranged to have it painted and fitted out as a camper before importing it to the UK. The restoration was completed in 2016 and the vehicle was imported then.
The owner has enjoyed it and taken it to a number of VW events, but she has had to give up driving on medical advice, hence a very reluctant sale.
As well as a ‘birth certificate’ from Autohaus Wolfsburg, the van comes with a UK V5 and all of the official NOVA and import paperwork from when it entered the UK five years ago, as well as the application for first registration.
It has also got copies of the original South African registration document, plus piles of bills relating to work carried out both in South Africa and also here in the UK, where it has had over £12,000 spent on a mechanical overhaul and a brand new front axle and front suspension, along other bits and pieces.
There is also a selection of correspondence between the South African vendor and the UK buyer where she discusses the specification she wanted on the van, which tells a bit of a story about how it came to be the style and colour scheme that it is.
Finished in pale blue and white, the Kobi is a lovely thing to look at and is in superb order all over, with only a couple of very minor blemishes. There’s a stone chip beneath the driver’s side windscreen, a small mark on a bumper corner and a couple of very minor chips in the blue part of the paintwork, but nothing that is immediately noticeable nor is going to be at all difficult to sort out.
The underside is superb, as is the quality of the paint finish across the rest of the van. The barn doors operate perfectly and are a neat feature, while the 11-window layout makes the van light and airy inside.
All four tyres are in excellent condition and were renewed during the restoration, along with many trim components which were sourced from VW specialists.
Inside, the Kombi is absolutely stunning. Up front, the cabin is tailored in white and blue leather, while the painted parts match the white of the body. It has bespoke seat covers trimmed to the owner’s own specifications and a few custom parts, such as an EMPI gear lever and a supplementary Smiths fuel gauge.
A gorgeous period radio has been fitted, along with a subtly integrated 12v power port and two USB slot.
In the rear, the rock-and-roll bed is simplicity itself to convert from bench to bed and back again, while a rear facing bench seat sits above three storage cupboards that are perfect for your camping equipment. It also comes with matching cushions, curtains and even a fabric shopping bag, all in the same colour scheme.
Out back, the bus features a 1,500cc air-cooled engine, which has been cleaned up, painted and fully serviced following a complete rebuild during its restoration.
It sounds great and starts immediately, settling down to the cacophonous thrum that is a trademark of the air-cooled VW units. Refined it isn’t, but it’s absolutely drenched in character.
The car is being sold on the owner’s behalf as she is unable to sell it herself, and he has driven it a short distance. He says it appears to be in good driving condition.
It has recently had the entire front suspension and steering set-up rebuilt and has had a front disc brake conversion, all of which is documented in its history.
This is a lovely example of a split-screen camper and has the added benefit of being a genuine RHD vehicle rather than a conversion – thanks to its Zimbabwean history and subsequent life in South Africa.
Its life in a dry climate means it is wonderfully solid and rot-free and is in superb condition underneath, while the interior is very neat and beautifully finished.
It’s good to go, ready to enjoy and a perfect way to enjoy the VW scene, classic themed holidays or to simply own an icon of the historic vehicle scene.
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