London

8 September 2014

Previous Next

Lot 105

1965 Volkswagen 21-Window Deluxe Micro Bus

  • Chassis no. 245121087
  • Engine no. 0024918

Sold for £53,200


40 hp, 1,500 cc OHV air-cooled horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension with shocks and coil springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm

  • Delivered new to Rome, Italy, and still retains its original Rome number plates
  • Highly desirable 21-window example


With more than 21 million sold worldwide, the Volkswagen Type 1 (or “Beetle”, as it was nicknamed soon after its debut in 1939) would become the best-selling car of all time. Under the direction of the German government to build a “people’s car”, Dr Ferdinand Porsche set about building prototypes in Stuttgart in the mid-1930s. Production started under British occupation in Germany before the end of 1945, with worldwide exports beginning in the early 1950s. Volkswagen, like other manufacturers, would continue to refine their car and develop variations of the original, but they would also share components throughout their models in order to increase production efficiency and profitability.

One of those variants, the iconic Volkswagen Transporter, first arrived on the American continent in 1949. Competition was non-existent, as there was nothing like it on the market at that time, and as it used standard Beetle components, making it at once familiar and easy to maintain and its parts readily available. It quickly became popular as an efficient way to move people. The Transporter was dubbed the “Micro Bus”, and it would further evolve into other vehicles, including a pickup truck and a cargo/delivery van. Its combination of efficiency and practicality deemed it an instant hit with the “flower power” generation of the ’60s, and its boxy design made it the perfect canvas for peace signs, pop-art flowers, and psychedelic paint schemes.

The Micro Bus was powered by a 1,500-cubic centimetre, overhead-valve, horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine that could produce an adequate 40 horsepower. It rode on a 94.5-inch wheelbase, was suspended by a semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension with shocks and coil springs, and had four-wheel drum brakes.

The rarest variant, the 21-Window Micro Bus, is in many ways considered the ultimate example, which makes it highly desirable amongst collectors today. It was delivered new to Rome, Italy, and it still wears its original Rome license plate, 822241, which was first registered on 1 April 1965. According to the Italian Estratto Chronologico, this 21-Window Micro Bus was registered to a lady owner in Italy, Mrs Nunzia Sinesi, who then sold it to Mr Elio Carchi. It then passed through another Italian owner and was finally sold to its last keeper, who was located in the Rome area and had it restored to its present condition. The chassis number verifies it as an original “Samba”, as they were colloquially called, although not by the factory. This example is finished in a lovely two-tone colour scheme of red and white, and the interior is finished in matching red and white vinyl with red carpeting, which appears to show some light soiling from use. The odometer shows 28,542 kilometres, and as the gauges appear to be completely unrestored, this may very well be the original mileage. It is also presented with an equally tidy engine bay. This Deluxe Micro Bus is universally desirable both in North America and on the Continent, and it is always eminently usable.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmsothebys.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

BRuprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmsothebys.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 917 213 5672
Ontario, Canada

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

JSierakowski@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 260 927 9797
Indiana, United States

Kurt Forry joins Auctions America with more than a decade of experience on the North American auction scene and a well-rounded knowled... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

PFisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

TVanderVelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
Netherlands

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more