1966 Volkswagen De Luxe '21 Window' Samba Micro Bus (RHD)
|Engine||Flat 4, 1641cc (see text)|
|Brakes||Discs/drums (see text)|
Arguably the best known and most collectible commercial vehicle ever made, Volkswagen's Type 2 Transporter - better known as the Kombi - was introduced in 1949 and soon carved a niche as a reliable, versatile and endearing workhorse. Combining the same dependable running gear lifted from the Beetle with unitary construction designed to give a flat floor, the Kombi was sold in three basic versions, the van, bus or pick-up. Introduced in 1951, the Samba (also known as the Sunroof Deluxe in the United States) was the most luxurious Kombi variant, equipped with three rows of seats and ?barn? doors for better access, plus a full-length sliding sunroof. Early models are known as ?23-window? buses thanks to the addition of eight panoramic windows set into the roof, with later versions revised to ?21-windows? thanks to the elimination of glass in the rear corners in 1964. With the roof open, passengers enjoyed a wonderful open air feel in the Samba while two-tone paintwork, additional brightwork and other features like the better stocked dashboard gave the Samba a less utilitarian feel. According to production records some 18,790 Sambas were built in 1966, making it the rarest Transporter variant sold that year (apart from the ambulance) and certainly the most expensive model in the range. The Type 2's mechanical progression mirrored that of the Beetle to a large extent, the original 24 horsepower 1130cc engine upgraded to a 1200cc version in 1953. It took a further decade for Volkswagen to increase the Kombi's engine capacity, with the 1500 model announced in 1963 raising power output to 50 horsepower. In Australia the Kombi was first sold in 1954 and assembled locally at Volkswagen's plant in Clayton, Victoria between 1955 and 1976. Once the preserve of hippies and surfies looking for cheap transport, the charismatic Kombi now enjoys a cult following around the world and 'Split Window' models like the Samba on offer here have become hugely collectible.