Classic Van Auction Talk

Wednesday 21 January 2015



Registration: SGP 62
Chassis Number: 20-153653
Engine Number: n/a
Number of cylinders: 4
CC: 2000
Year of Manufacture: 1955
Estimate (£): 70,000 - 75,000
 The Volkswagen Type 2 was introduced in 1950 as a multi-variant utility vehicle, known as the Transporter, Kombi or Microbus (depending on body type). It was devised as an evolution of the Volkswagen Type 1, the original Beetle.
The first generation of these versatile vehicles, named the T1, were produced with distinctive split-screens from 1950 until 1967. From 1950 to 1956, the T1 was built in Wolfsburg; from 1956 they were built at a new factory in Hanover.

Only two models were originally offered, the Kombi and the Commercial. The Microbus was added in May 1950, joined by the Samba (or Deluxe Microbus) in June 1951. The Samba was the most luxurious version of the microbus body-style. This model had 23 windows including eight panoramic windows in the roof, two pivot doors (instead of a sliding door) and a fabric sunroof. At that time Volkswagen marketed the idea of using the Samba to make tourist trips through the Alps.
The early Sambas, built between 1951 and 1955, were often called the "Barn-door" (retrospectively called T1a), owing to the enormous rear engine cover.
Presented here is a Wolfsburg factory-built 1955 VW Type 2 (T1) Samba Microbus, registration SGP 62. It is a post barn-door model (retrospectively called T1b).
It is an original RHD bus delivered new on the 21st November 1955 in the UK. It was imported by John Colborne-Baber, founder of the original VW dealership in the UK, namely Colborne Garages of Ripley, founded in 1949. For many years Mr Colborne-Baber used SGP 62 as his personal transport.
Colborne Garages' long association with VW started as a result of Mr Colborne-Baber being approached by former army officer Mr George La- Haye. Prior to this, George had been stationed in Germany during the war and whilst there purchased three new Volkswagen Beetles, the last of which he returned to the UK with. Mr. Colborne-Baber showed an immediate interest in the Volkswagen Beetle and made George an offer on a part-exchange for a Wolseley 6/80, which he accepted.
Mr Colborne-Baber was so impressed with the Beetle he'd acquired, that he then approached Volkswagen in Germany and began importing Volkswagen vehicles into the UK - and the rest is history!

As Sambas were never officially imported new into the UK, SGP 62 is thought to be the only surviving example of the few Wolfsburg-built examples that were. In 1959 Mr Colborne-Baber converted the interior of SGP 62 to be used for family holidays. This work was done by renowned specialists Devon Conversions.
In 1992 SGP 62 was rediscovered in the West Country after 30 years in storage. It has been professionally restored over the last 18 months as a faithful reproduction of its condition as used by the Colborne-Baber family.
A new bespoke period-correct Devon interior (by VW expert Kevin Morgan) has been used with the correct Osokool fridge and Dudley Stove. These rare items were sourced specially for this bus and are in mint condition. Upholstery & trim are also in period (by VW experts Trimshack), whilst body & paintwork are also faithful (by experts Smiths VW).
SGP 62 has been restored, as much as possible, to original specification with a few additional safety and convenience features, whilst retaining its completely original appearance. These allow it to both usable and safe to drive, while giving full peace-of-mind (if desired, it could very easily be converted to absolutely original condition without any major work being necessary).
It has a new 2.0L twin-carb engine (by VW expert John Gurney), dual circuit brakes with CSP front discs, independent rear suspension, radial tyres, integrated front & rear indicators (working semaphores are still in place), engine bay fire suppressant system and front & rear seatbelts. In addition, there is a concealed fuel gauge, iPod/iPhone dock in front ashtray, 12v sockets, a treasure chest safe and 12v conversion.
SGP 62 comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen, a comprehensive history/restoration file and a letter regarding it from the son of Mr John Colborne-Baber.
This beautiful and rare Samba Microbus, being historically important in terms of its VW legacy in the UK, is ready to be appreciated and enjoyed.

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