Automotive

How the Volkswagen Kombi became a family heirloom

How the Volkswagen Kombi becam...
The last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom appreciate in value so quickly that many owners may not know the value of their car could soon eclipse the value of their home. Last Saturday, January 21, 2017, a 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, indicating that the trend is further accelerating.
The last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom appreciate in value so quickly that many owners may not know the value of their car could soon eclipse the value of their home. Last Saturday, January 21, 2017, a 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, indicating that the trend is further accelerating.
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The highest price ever paid for a Volkswagen Kombi van at auction prior to this week was the €190,000 ($236,639) fetched by this 1955 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba. The car was auctioned by Auctionata
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The highest price ever paid for a Volkswagen Kombi van at auction prior to this week was the €190,000 ($236,639) fetched by this 1955 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba. The car was auctioned by Auctionata
Barrett-Jackson sold this 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba for $217,800 in 2011
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Barrett-Jackson sold this 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba for $217,800 in 2011
Melbourne-based auction house Shannons  sold the third most valuable Kombi at auction for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in 2015. One of just three Australian-delivered 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Sambas, the van had been the subject of a five-year restoration project and was expected to sell for between AUD$120,000 and AUD$140,000. News of the sale had propagated globally though, and a host of international telephone bidders drove the price.
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Melbourne-based auction house Shannons  sold the third most valuable Kombi at auction for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in 2015. One of just three Australian-delivered 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Sambas, the van had been the subject of a five-year restoration project and was expected to sell for between AUD$120,000 and AUD$140,000. News of the sale had propagated globally though, and a host of international telephone bidders drove the price.
This 1961 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $148,500 at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale 2014 auction
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This 1961 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $148,500 at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale 2014 auction
This 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched GBP£91,100 (US$143,347) at Bonhams' 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed auction.
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This 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched GBP£91,100 (US$143,347) at Bonhams' 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed auction.
Sold just a few days ago, this 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Sambafetched $143,000 at Barrett-Jackson's 2017 Scottsdale auction, setting a new high water mark for the 21-window model.
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Sold just a few days ago, this 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Sambafetched $143,000 at Barrett-Jackson's 2017 Scottsdale auction, setting a new high water mark for the 21-window model.
This 1962 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $140,250 at Gooding & Co's 2014 Scottsdale sale.
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This 1962 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $140,250 at Gooding & Co's 2014 Scottsdale sale.
This 1964 VW 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched £85,500 ($129,719) at Bonhams' December sale in 2015.
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This 1964 VW 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched £85,500 ($129,719) at Bonhams' December sale in 2015.
This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched  $128,700 at Barrett-Jackson's 2012 Scottsdale sale.
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This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched  $128,700 at Barrett-Jackson's 2012 Scottsdale sale.
This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at Gooding & Co's Pebble Beach sale in 2013
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This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at Gooding & Co's Pebble Beach sale in 2013
This 1964 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015
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This 1964 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015
This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2013
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This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2013
This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $123,200 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015
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This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $123,200 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015
This 1960s Samba best captures the way we all saw the Volkswagen's Samba van in its time. It was our version of the freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too
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This 1960s Samba best captures the way we all saw the Volkswagen's Samba van in its time. It was our version of the freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this sale was that although the US$143,000 price is a world record for the 21-window Deluxe Samba Bus produced from 1964 to 1967, the previous model 23-window Deluxe Samba Bus is even more valuable. 
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Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this sale was that although the US$143,000 price is a world record for the 21-window Deluxe Samba Bus produced from 1964 to 1967, the previous model 23-window Deluxe Samba Bus is even more valuable. 
A sampling of the record prices paid for the Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba. The American record price for a Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) of any model at auction was held by the vehicle at top left prior to this week. It's a 1963 model 23-window Deluxe Samba sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2011 for $217,800. Top right is the former European and World T2 record holder, a 1955 model Deluxe Samba which sold for €190,000 ($236,639) at Auctionata in Germany in November, 2014. At bottom left is the Australian record holder, a 1960 Deluxe Samba (in Right Hand Drive configuration) which was sold for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in February 2015. At bottom right is the British record holder, a 1960 Samba Deluxe which sold for £91,100 ($143,347) at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in August, 2015.
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A sampling of the record prices paid for the Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba. The American record price for a Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) of any model at auction was held by the vehicle at top left prior to this week. It's a 1963 model 23-window Deluxe Samba sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2011 for $217,800. Top right is the former European and World T2 record holder, a 1955 model Deluxe Samba which sold for €190,000 ($236,639) at Auctionata in Germany in November, 2014. At bottom left is the Australian record holder, a 1960 Deluxe Samba (in Right Hand Drive configuration) which was sold for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in February 2015. At bottom right is the British record holder, a 1960 Samba Deluxe which sold for £91,100 ($143,347) at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in August, 2015.
A prime example of just how much the market for T2 variants has been influenced by the banner-carrying 23-window Deluxe Samba is the crew-cab Kombi above which spent most of its life as a tradesman's workhorse but is currently advertised for $100,000 in Germany.
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A prime example of just how much the market for T2 variants has been influenced by the banner-carrying 23-window Deluxe Samba is the crew-cab Kombi above which spent most of its life as a tradesman's workhorse but is currently advertised for $100,000 in Germany.
The Volkswagen Kombi is appreciating in value at the same time as it is still being used by mobile street vendors around the world for selling coffee, fruit, vegies and alcohol. Indeed, many of those vendors may not even be aware that their trusty workhorse may soon eclipse the price of their home.
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The Volkswagen Kombi is appreciating in value at the same time as it is still being used by mobile street vendors around the world for selling coffee, fruit, vegies and alcohol. Indeed, many of those vendors may not even be aware that their trusty workhorse may soon eclipse the price of their home.
Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
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Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
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Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
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Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
This 1960s Samba best captures the way we all saw the Vaolkswagen's Samba van in its time. It was our version of the freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too
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This 1960s Samba best captures the way we all saw the Vaolkswagen's Samba van in its time. It was our version of the freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too
One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.
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One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.
One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.
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One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.
One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.
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One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.
On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.
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On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.
The last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom appreciate in value so quickly that many owners may not know the value of their car could soon eclipse the value of their home. Last Saturday, January 21, 2017, a 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, indicating that the trend is further accelerating.
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The last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom appreciate in value so quickly that many owners may not know the value of their car could soon eclipse the value of their home. Last Saturday, January 21, 2017, a 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, indicating that the trend is further accelerating.
On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.
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On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.

Collector cars that appreciate in value are normally associated with aristocratic marques such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, not the proletarian brands personified by Volkswagen, the "people's car."

The auction marketplace is a reflection of sentiment of the population though, and the same post-war baby-boom that reshaped society during the 1960s has now come of age and controls the vast majority of the world's wealth.

The society-changing force generated by the youth of the sixties is now becoming evident on the auction block, and the last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom begin to soar in value across the globe. The van pictured below best captures the way we all saw the Volkswagen's Samba van in its time. It was the boomers' freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too.

This 1960s Samba best captures the way we all saw the Volkswagen's Samba van in its time. It was our version of the freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too
This 1960s Samba best captures the way we all saw the Volkswagen's Samba van in its time. It was our version of the freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too

The post-war baby boom now controls the world's investment capital, and the alternative culture that was championed by this age group is no doubt at least partially responsible for the rise of cars, sports and entertainment memorabilia as legitimate alternative asset classes.

On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.
On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.

This trend was highlighted yet again over the weekend when a 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba (below) sold for $143,000 to set a new record for the model at the Scottsdale round of collector car auctions just outside Phoenix, Arizona. Just to emphasize how hot the market has become, the record lasted just 24 hours before another 21-window Deluxe Bus took the outright world record with a sale of $302,500, more than doubling the 21-window record of just 24 hours prior. The 1965 21-window Samba is pictured above.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this sale was that although the US$143,000 price is a world record for the 21-window Deluxe Samba Bus produced from 1964 to 1967, the previous model 23-window Deluxe Samba Bus is even more valuable. 
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this sale was that although the US$143,000 price is a world record for the 21-window Deluxe Samba Bus produced from 1964 to 1967, the previous model 23-window Deluxe Samba Bus is even more valuable. 

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the sale was that, although the US$302,500 price is a world record for the 21-window Deluxe Samba Bus produced from 1964 to 1967, the previous model 23-window Deluxe Samba Bus has always been considered even more valuable.

A sampling of the record prices paid for the Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba. The American record price for a Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) of any model at auction was held by the vehicle at top left prior to this week. It's a 1963 model 23-window Deluxe Samba sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2011 for $217,800. Top right is the former European and World T2 record holder, a 1955 model Deluxe Samba which sold for €190,000 ($236,639) at Auctionata in Germany in November, 2014. At bottom left is the Australian record holder, a 1960 Deluxe Samba (in Right Hand Drive configuration) which was sold for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in February 2015. At bottom right is the British record holder, a 1960 Samba Deluxe which sold for £91,100 ($143,347) at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in August, 2015.
A sampling of the record prices paid for the Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba. The American record price for a Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) of any model at auction was held by the vehicle at top left prior to this week. It's a 1963 model 23-window Deluxe Samba sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2011 for $217,800. Top right is the former European and World T2 record holder, a 1955 model Deluxe Samba which sold for €190,000 ($236,639) at Auctionata in Germany in November, 2014. At bottom left is the Australian record holder, a 1960 Deluxe Samba (in Right Hand Drive configuration) which was sold for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in February 2015. At bottom right is the British record holder, a 1960 Samba Deluxe which sold for £91,100 ($143,347) at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in August, 2015.

Above is a sampling of record-setting Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Sambas. The American record price for a Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) of any model at auction was held by the vehicle at top left prior to this week. It's a 1963 model 23-window Deluxe Samba sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2011 for $217,800. Top right is the former European and World T2 record holder, a 1955 model Deluxe Samba that sold for €190,000 ($236,639) at Auctionata in Germany in November, 2014. At bottom left is the Australian record holder, a 1960 Deluxe Samba (in right hand drive configuration) that was sold for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in February, 2015. At bottom right is the British record holder, a 1960 Samba Deluxe that sold for £91,100 ($143,347) at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in August, 2015.

Quite clearly, people power is flexing its muscles once more, and although the prices of rare 21- and 23-window Deluxe Samba vans are the most visible sign of the boomers exercising their preferences, the rising water mark has seen the value of all Volkswagen Kombi vans grow likewise over the last few years.

Paying $200,000 plus for a collectible car isn't nearly as perception-challenging if the badge on the grill reads Bugatti or Bentley, but the Volkswagen T2 is now moving into that category, too.

The Volkswagen Kombi is appreciating in value at the same time as it is still being used by mobile street vendors around the world for selling coffee, fruit, vegies and alcohol. Indeed, many of those vendors may not even be aware that their trusty workhorse may soon eclipse the price of their home.
The Volkswagen Kombi is appreciating in value at the same time as it is still being used by mobile street vendors around the world for selling coffee, fruit, vegies and alcohol. Indeed, many of those vendors may not even be aware that their trusty workhorse may soon eclipse the price of their home.

That is, it is appreciating in value at the same time as it is still being used by mobile street vendors around the world for selling coffee, fruit, veggies and alcohol. Indeed, many of those vendors may not even be aware that their trusty workhorse may soon eclipse the price of their home.

A prime example of just how much the market for T2 variants has been influenced by the banner-carrying 23-window Deluxe Samba is the crew-cab Kombi above which spent most of its life as a tradesman's workhorse but is currently advertised for $100,000 in Germany.
A prime example of just how much the market for T2 variants has been influenced by the banner-carrying 23-window Deluxe Samba is the crew-cab Kombi above which spent most of its life as a tradesman's workhorse but is currently advertised for $100,000 in Germany.

A prime example of just how much the market for T2 variants has been influenced by the banner-carrying 23-window Deluxe Samba is the crew-cab Kombi above ,which spent most of its life as a tradesman's workhorse but is currently advertised for $100,000 in Germany.

The following T2 Volkswagens are the most valuable to have been sold at auction to date. To track this global phenomenon, we've converted any non-American sales into American dollars at the prevailing exchange rate on the day of the sale.

$123,200 | 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $123,200 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015
This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $123,200 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$126,500 | 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2013
This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2013

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$126,500 | 1964 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

This 1964 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015
This 1964 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at a Barrett-Jackson sale in 2015

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$126,500 | 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at Gooding & Co's Pebble Beach sale in 2013
This 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched $126,500 at Gooding & Co's Pebble Beach sale in 2013

Gooding & Co Auction Description

$128,700 | 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched  $128,700 at Barrett-Jackson's 2012 Scottsdale sale.
This 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched  $128,700 at Barrett-Jackson's 2012 Scottsdale sale.

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$129,719 (£85,500) | 1964 VW 21-window Deluxe Samba

This 1964 VW 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched £85,500 ($129,719) at Bonhams' December sale in 2015.
This 1964 VW 21-window Deluxe Samba fetched £85,500 ($129,719) at Bonhams' December sale in 2015.

Bonhams Auction Description

$140,250 | 1962 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

This 1962 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $140,250 at Gooding & Co's 2014 Scottsdale sale.
This 1962 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $140,250 at Gooding & Co's 2014 Scottsdale sale.

Gooding & Co Auction Description

$143,000 | 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

Sold just a few days ago, this 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Sambafetched $143,000 at Barrett-Jackson's 2017 Scottsdale auction, setting a new high water mark for the 21-window model.
Sold just a few days ago, this 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Sambafetched $143,000 at Barrett-Jackson's 2017 Scottsdale auction, setting a new high water mark for the 21-window model.

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$143,347 (£91,100) | 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba

This 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched GBP£91,100 (US$143,347) at Bonhams' 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed auction.
This 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched GBP£91,100 (US$143,347) at Bonhams' 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed auction.

Bonhams Auction Description

$148,500 | 1961 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

This 1961 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $148,500 at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale 2014 auction
This 1961 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba fetched $148,500 at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale 2014 auction

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$157,690 (AUD$202,000) | 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba

Melbourne-based auction house Shannons  sold the third most valuable Kombi at auction for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in 2015. One of just three Australian-delivered 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Sambas, the van had been the subject of a five-year restoration project and was expected to sell for between AUD$120,000 and AUD$140,000. News of the sale had propagated globally though, and a host of international telephone bidders drove the price.
Melbourne-based auction house Shannons  sold the third most valuable Kombi at auction for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in 2015. One of just three Australian-delivered 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Sambas, the van had been the subject of a five-year restoration project and was expected to sell for between AUD$120,000 and AUD$140,000. News of the sale had propagated globally though, and a host of international telephone bidders drove the price.

Shannons Auction Description

$217,800 | 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson sold this 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba for $217,800 in 2011
Barrett-Jackson sold this 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba for $217,800 in 2011

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$236,639 (€190,000) | 1955 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba

The highest price ever paid for a Volkswagen Kombi van at auction prior to this week was the €190,000 ($236,639) fetched by this 1955 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba. The car was auctioned by Auctionata
The highest price ever paid for a Volkswagen Kombi van at auction prior to this week was the €190,000 ($236,639) fetched by this 1955 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba. The car was auctioned by Auctionata

Auctionata Auction Description

$302,500 - 1965 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.
On January 21, 2017, this 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, becoming the most valuable Volkswagen Samba van ever sold at auction.

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

Personal Reflections on the Kombi marketplace

Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.

I always figured that at some point in the distant future, one or two of the motorcycles I have owned would be worth a lot of money and that I would one day regret selling them. In my misspent youth, I used an identical vehicle to the $100,000 crew-cab Kombi pictured at the beginning of this article to transport my racing motorcycles. I bought it for an insignificant amount of money and when my adrenalin habit finally allowed me to buy a V8 utility vehicle for transporting the bikes, I sold the Kombi for chump change without a second thought. If I'd kept and restored it, it would now be worth more than any other motorized transport I have ever owned. Go figure!

Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.

I learned to drive in a 1961 Volkswagen Beetle with 250,000 miles on the clock and I've subsequently owned several Kombis – I am a fan of both models. I've watched their star rise at auction, and after doing the rounds of the global auction and classic car show marketplace over the last few years, I believe that if you are in the market for a T1 or T2 Volkswagen, Germany's annual Techno-Classica show is the place where you can pick up a well-restored classic Volkswagen at the most reasonable price.

Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.
Many vintage Volkswagen T2s were available for purchase on the floor at Techno Classica in 2016.

That's a pic from last year's Techno-Classica above and again below. The show this year runs from April 5 to 9, 2017 and if you are serious about procuring a vintage T1 or T2 Volkswagen, the Essen show is in the heart of the motherland and the epicenter of knowledge and expertise for the marque. Our Techno-Classica show report from last year will give you an idea of just how remarkable this gargantuan classic car show is.

One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.
One of the many interesting vehicles at Techno-Classica in 2016 was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2 along with one of the prototypes of the racing car which came from the same family - the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters which hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of that series.

One of the more interesting vehicles that didn't make our Techno-Classica report was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2, along with one of the prototypes of the racing car that came from the same family – the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters that hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of the series that gave the world drivers such as Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi and Keke Rosberg. It's a lot of money but there aren't a lot of T2 Volkswagens with any kind of provenance. Unlike the Bugattis, Bentleys and Duesenbergs that were purchased new by movie stars, captains of industry and royalty, the provenance of most Volkswagens constitutes a who's who of unacclaimed people.

That might indeed be the secret to their popularity.

5 comments
Bob Stuart
The boomers who drove these in the 60s had different values than those who collect them now.
EUbrainwashing
I joined VW North London is about 1976 and the air-cooled motors were just about ended by that time. The very last of the Beatles and Convertibles were still being sold and the air-cooled commercial van/bus/campers were on sale but not as sublime as these early models with the big V to the front so well suited to a two tome paint job. Kicking around the workshop car-parks were a few vehicles that had been worked-on but for which the big bills were not paid, they included: a black bus with the opera roof windows and all, a double cab pick-up, an early model and a late model Carmen Ghia coupe. Any or all of these cars could be owned for the cost of payment of the service bills which I think was in every case new engines (so big bills). As the vehicles were then not worth the price I suggested to 'the powers that be' we clean the cars up and use them for a bit of a heritage display on open days, car shows and the like. The idea was ruled-out on the basis VW wanted to get away from the old historic models, forget them, and focus on the new generation models instead. I can remember too filling a van with fantasia 1960's air-cooled model brochures and slinging them in to the tip! The reason why these vehicles were so popular was two-fold: 1/. they were very well made, drove really nicely and were a pleasure to own and 2/. The Volkswagen of America Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) advertising worked really well. I mean REALLY WELL. What that early DDB campaign did for VW has lasted till today, made the brand a cultural icon not just in the USA but set in place a trend around the world.
VincentWolf
Wow don't show this link to Wolfe on American Pickers he will go nuts. Did you know KOMBI comes from the first letter of the primary Hawaiian islands? Kuai Oahu Muai Big Island. That's how I always remember their names ha.
MichaelDaCruz
I have a 67 german vw split screen combi. Daily runner and very reliable. Open to any offers. michael.dacruz@ymail.com
MurrayDuncan
Bob, for the most part they're the same people. I still have the 1969 camper I bought when I was 18 (and I'm 48 this year), and I'm fairly involved in the Kombi scene. Very rare to have people under 40 buying Kombis these days.