1969 Volkswagen T1 Kombi Van

Highlights


• A mechanically sound T1 ready for restoration
• Late model, imported recently from Brazil 
• In original condition with an array of new structural parts supplied

The Background


First rolling off the German production line all the way back in 1950, the VW Split Screen has gone on to become a true icon in the automotive world and recognised instantly by all.

Reaching its peak in popularity during the 60’s, the VW T1 became strongly associated with the hippie movement and was adored for its huge versatility, relatively low running costs, and – of course – providing a place to live while on the road. At its heart a VW campervan is, of course, all about what the inside offers with its modest footprint belying the space available for road trips, holidays, and all manner of road trips.

Powered by a 1.5 litre air-cooled engine, this left-hand drive VW, which hails from Brazil, offers a fantastic, original shell for its new owner to commence a restoration project.

The History


The history of this van is quite simple, although the paperwork trail has unfortunately been lost so we are only able to go on the current owner’s known background of the vehicle.

Purchased in Brazil in 1969, the vehicle was based ever since in the Brazilian city of Limeira, to the north of Sao Paulo. The first owner is said to have kept the van for most of its life, selling it onto his nephew only in recent years. It is this second owner who the current seller purchased it from in November 2020 and completed the export over to the UK via a Southern dock in May of this year.

With numerous other projects on his hands, the seller – an automotive dealer - is looking to part with the van so that a new owner can take on the restoration to get this iconic Camper Van back on the road.

The Paperwork


A printout from the Brazilian registration system that shows the vehicle registered to the exporting intermediary is the only documentation which has survived through transportation into the UK.

We are told that the vehicle is fully customs cleared and NOVA declared (Notification of Vehicle Arrivals) meaning that the HMRC are aware of it having been brought into the UK so it’s all ready to be registered with UK historic vehicle plates, with road tax and MOT exempt.


The Interior


The rear of the van has been stripped bare by the first owner in order for the temporary floor panel replacement work to be completed and as such, presents the new owner with the option to lay it out in their preferred configuration. 

The choice of a bench row, full-size bed or kitchen/living space is yours to make, depending on your ambitions for the van and its future uses.

Up front there is little that’s changed from the day that this van came out of the factory aside from the relatively recent replacement of the front seats for a pair of standard, fabric upholstered seats. 

Lifting the floor mats reveals a pleasant surprise in the metal floor panels which appear to be rot-free, although probably not original.

The Exterior


Anyone who’s done even the merest amount of research will know that the T1 VW Split Screen is well known for its rust issues and this example is no different. 

With several parts particularly affected or unprofessionally repaired, before it left Brazil the current owner acquired numerous brand new structural elements which are all included in the sale and are kept dry inside the van, ready for use in a future restoration: both saloon floor panels, two chassis cross bars and two floor planks. 

The front section of both longerons is the only thing not covered with the new spares and requires some welding.

In its past there has clearly been some attempt made to respray this VW and, we’re told, that the light brown, mushroom-like colour is a close match to the original factory paint beneath. 

A secondary black paint has been used on various pieces of trim including the front badge and light surrounds. Both sides of the van have some notable dents and scrapes, as to do the bumpers – all of which would likely form part of the remit for any future restorations. 

Meanwhile the steel wheels are all matching, however the tyres will need replacing as part of the project to get this van into roadworthy condition.

The Mechanics


Starting after a short turnover when we viewed the VW Splitty and running – albeit with a lumpy idle - we’re told that it does currently run and drive, proving a solid baseline to begin bringing the van back to its former glory. 

The owner notes that there’s a problem with the brakes that has arisen only upon the arrival into the UK (the van had been driven by the current owner in Brazil for nearly 200 miles to the port of Santos), but we’d expect all mechanical elements of this van to require some form of attention after such a long journey across the ocean.

The Appeal


There’s a huge amount to love about the VW T1 Split Van and this late, Brazilian import is no exception. 
Clearly a rolling restoration project, the appeal of this lies in the near-original condition and the addition of replacements for most relevant structural metalwork.

With many of us keener than ever to be able to travel under our own steam, there’s a burgeoning market for project vans and this classic VW certainly appears to be a great base for just this.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1969
  • Make Volkswagen
  • Model T1 (Type 2)
  • Colour Beige
  • Odometer 53,080 Miles
  • Engine size 1500
  • Location Essex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
4 bids from 3 bidders
  • john-ca•••• £5,000 30/07/21
  • Markoff•••• £3,500 30/07/21
  • john-ca•••• £3,200 29/07/21
  • DRTobin £2,500 28/07/21

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