Guide price: £20,000- £25,000
・Excellent condition throughout
・Interior is ready for conversion to desired spec
・Recent mechanical overhaul
Introduced in 1950 as the second production vehicle offered by the then-fledgling German automaker Volkswagen, the split-screen bus (often referred to as the T1) would go on to be ubiquitous in its nature during the 50s and 60s and retains a loyal and expansive fan base to this day.
Powered by a multitude of air-cooled flat-four engines, the T1 was sold in numerous forms from the ‘everyday hero’ panel vans and pick-ups to surprisingly luxurious ‘Westfalias’ and versatile ‘Microbuses’ the T1 could seemingly do it all!
These days, T1s - and their later ‘bay window’ T2 models - are widely revered within the Volkswagen community, and make excellent weekend vehicles, day trip transportation or promotional tools for businesses, thanks to their instantly recognisable appearance and cult appeal.
This particular ‘Splitty’ was first registered on 01 May 1975 in Brazil, before being imported into the UK. Since then, the car has had two prior owners before the vendor, though there is no known history of the vehicle prior to being registered on UK shores.
Keen-eyed Volkswagen enthusiasts will note that the production date of this T1 is far beyond the cutoff date for split-screen vans in Europe. This is because Brazil was still churning out T1s until 1975, which makes this example one of the last ever produced.
Used as a ‘special occasion’ vehicle including the odd jaunt to the Forest of Dean and to the Malverns, this Type 1 has been pampered throughout the vendor’s ownership, and remains in excellent condition throughout.
First registered by the DVLA on 10 May 2016, the vehicle has been in the care of the vendor since June 2016. During their ownership, the vendor has extensively overhauled the mechanicals of this T1, ensuring that it starts, runs and drives exactly as VW intended back in the 1950s.
The security of the vehicle has also been upgraded, while the interior has been left as a ‘blank canvas’ ready for the next owner to do with as they wish.
Prior to being imported, not much is known about this T1’s life, meaning that the paperwork is a little on the light side for a 45-year-old vehicle.
Even from it’s time in the UK, there is only the V5 certificate and an MOT certificate, though of course the vehicle is exempt from mandatory MOT testing on account of being over 40 years old.
As previously mentioned, this T1 remains a blank canvas inside, meaning the next owner has complete creative control over how they kit out the interior. None of the rear seats or fixtures are in place, which means this T1 could be turned into a camper, business tool, Kombi or just about anything that takes the new owners’ fancy.
The interior is in very good and (most importantly) very solid condition, with the vendor having worked tirelessly to get this ‘Splitty’ into the best condition possible, which means tackling any known rust or corrosion issues on the vehicle.
In the rear, the floors look to be in good shape, as do the side and rear mouldings including the engine cover. Up front, the vinyl seats are still in very good condition given the age and mileage of the vehicle with no rips or tears that we can see, nor that we’ve been informed of.
The dashboard is also in excellent shape, while a set of upgraded aftermarket speakers mounted to the lower front bulkhead help improve the long-distance drivability of this T1.
The blue and cream bodywork of this T1 is still in fantastic condition, with the bodywork shrugging off its age and milage with ease.
There are some very minor marks around the vehicle which are commensurate with the age of this VW, most notable of which is on the nearside front bumper, along with a small mark on the nearside of the body just in front of the side grille.
During their ownership, the vendor has significantly updated the exterior with the fitment of new mirrors, a new aerial, and new tailgate latch.
All four wheels look to be in great condition and have the correct mirror-finish domed centre caps, though there are some minor marks to the edges of the wheels, though again this is to be expected from a vehicle of this age and does not detract from the overall condition of the exterior.
As part of their overhaul of the vehicle, the vendor has methodically worked through and upgraded numerous mechanical aspects of this T1. A new single pack exhaust, distributor, new set of twin carburettors, engine bay seals, fuel hoses, brake master cylinder and reservoir have all been fitted.
In addition to this, the front brakes have been converted to disks for added stopping power, while the quarter-light catches and window catches have all been added and upgraded where needed to improve security.
Underneath, the bus appears to be solid in all the right places, with only a surface ‘bloom’ of rust being noticeable, though this is to be expected, while the floor pans themselves look to be in good shape.
While the vehicle is exempt from mandatory MOT inspections, the most recent one in May 2016 did not flag any corrosion-related issues, and all of the initial failure items from the prior test in April 2016 have been addressed, giving this Kombi a clean bill of health.
Truthfully, it’s hard not to see the appeal here. As the vendor quite rightly put it - “everyone wants a split screen!”
Offering timeless looks, tasteful modern upgrades to improve the drivability of the vehicle and the rare opportunity to take this ‘blank canvas’ and make it truly yours, this 1975 Brazilian-imported T1 would make an excellent project, business promotional tool or usable classic for any air-cooled VW lover to enjoy.
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