Sunday, June 2, 2013
The Volkswagen Microbus was one of the earliest vehicles to be offered as a camper from the factory. Promoted as 'the handiest, handsomest motorized house you could possibly wish to enjoy', the Westfalia was equipped wîth two upholstered bench seats that converted into a bed, a front seat that could be configured to sleep children, a wardrobe and storage space. Its specially designed tent significantly increased the living area. Demand was so brisk that Detroit manufacturers such as Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge responded by offering their own small vans outfitted wîth built-in beds, tables, kitchenettes and pop-up roofs. Source - Petersen Museum
The Volkswagen 'Micro-Bus' fitted with the German-built Westfalia camper unit was the first ready-made camper van most Americans were ever exposed to. The car was powered by an overhead valve, horizontally-opposed, 4-cylinder engine that offered 36 horsepower. The price of the Westfalia camper in 1959 was $2,740.
Chassis Num: 20-41631 Sold for $38,500 at 2006 RM Auctions. Just after World War II, Volkswagen introduced the Microbus. Ben Pon, a Dutch Volkswagen Importer, sketched a design which ultimately led to the Microbus. His vision for these vehicles were inspired by motorized trolleys and he envisioned a vehicle that was basically a box on wheels built atop of the Beetle chassis. When Heinz Nordhoff became chief executive a year later he completed the design and put it into production. At the 1949 Geneva Motor Show the VW Microbus was displayed to the public. By 1950 there were ten Microbuses produced a day. Over its entire production lifespan of nearly four decades, the design was virtually unchanged. There were over five million examples produced. The vehicle provided its occupants with roomy transportation for eight. With the engine mounted in the back, the driver was undisturbed by the noise it produced. Offered at a low cost, the vehicles were a bargain. The Transporter, also known as the Type 2, was introduced in 1950 and was based on the Beetle floorpan. These were popular both with commercial businesses and personal recreation. From 1951 through 1958 around 1000 examples of the Volkswagen Camper were built by the Wesfalia Company. This model was replaced in 1958 by the Sonderausfuhrungen, commonly known as 'SO'. The VW Campers provided seating for eight and storage space for luggage. The seats could be removed which would provided additional room for hauling larger items. This 1952 Volkswagen 'Barndoor' Westfalia Camper was found in the basement of the Westfalia museum when daimler Chrysler acquired Wesfalia in recent years. It is a one-off creation and believed to be one of only three early buses fitted with a camping box interior. The other two are still in the Westfalia Museum and were created in 1952. It has undergone a restoration since new and finished in Dove blue exterior and white bumpers. It has been shown only once, and that was at the London, England Volkswagen World Show in April of 2006. It is equipped with a rare interior 'kamper kit'. The 1952 Volkswagen 'Barndoor' Westfalia Camper was offered for sale at the 2006 RM Auction in Monterey, CA where it was offered without reserve and expected to sell between $70,000-$90,000. It is the oldest example of its kind in the world. Since it was offered without reserve, the vehicle was going to be sold regardless of the bid. Unfortunately, the top bid was $38,500 which means the seller was not as well accommodated but the buyer got a bargain. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006