1963 Volkswagen Type 2 Splitscreen 23 Window Samba


  • A very desirable model year and 23 window specification
  • Fitted with a 1600cc twin-port engine in 2023
  • Tasteful recent camper conversion

The Appeal

When someone utters “23 window Samba”, at Volkswagen shows, you can almost see the ears of Type 2 aficionados pricking in anticipation. As a 1963 model with the rear corner windows, this is an exceedingly desirable Microbus with a fascinating history in the German diplomatic service and we’re sure it will attract a great deal of attention wherever it goes.

With a recent camper conversion and 1600cc engine instalment, this is a great example that’s ready to be used and enjoyed out on the road.

The History and Paperwork

  • German made Microbus, first delivered in 1963 to the German Embassy in Mexico City
  • Sold by the German embassy in 1969 and there’s some original paperwork recording this
  • We’re informed that it had subsequent owners in Mexico and the USA 
  • The vendor purchased the vehicle in 2015 in Arizona, took it to Chicago and then embarked upon a journey along Route 66 through to Santa Monica in 2016
  • The Volkswagen was then shipped back to the UK by the vendor
  • It underwent a camper conversion as the original Microbus interior had already been replaced with aftermarket seating during the 1980s
  • Still registered with the DVLA as a 1500cc bus (as it would had been originally)
  • A new 1600cc engine was fitted in 2023
  • V5C present
  • MOT tested in April 2018, which produced a rather extensive fail sheet
  • We understand that the vendor has addressed all the issues identified including corrosion in a number of areas, although it has not been subsequently tested as it is exempt due to its age

The Interior

  • Burgundy and white upholstery
  • Clever curved seating arrangement
  • Cabinetry reportedly made from American Walnut

As this hard-working Microbus’ original interior was long gone and replaced with aftermarket seating during the 1980s, the vendor opted to fit a bespoke camper interior upon its arrival in the UK.

Utilising a clever curved design which really looks the part, there’s ample seating for families around a sturdy removable table which is neatly stowed in an overhead compartment. There’s a new ‘rock and roll’ bed which we’re informed operates perfectly and all the cabinetry is apparently made from solid American Walnut which is a really nice touch. 

You’ll find a drinks bar and a gas stove neatly fitted flush into the top of the aforementioned cabinetry which we’re informed works correctly. There’s also a gas heater for those colder evenings away which reportedly does a good job at keeping the cabin cosy. The vendor also points out a discreetly fitted sound system which is Bluetooth compatible.

Under the seats, there’s ample storage for all the usual camping equipment you might need and it's fair to say this interior has been very well thought out in that regard. With the eight overhead windows, pop-out side windows and a sizeable canvas sunroof, there’s plenty of opportunity to let in loads of light and fresh air which is fabulous during the warmer months,

Upholstered in burgundy and white, the trimming work all looks to have been completed to a very high standard and the colour combination really suits the character of the vehicle. There’s minimal wear anywhere to be seen and no obvious signs of damage. All the curtains appear in really nice shape, as do the additional cushions. The headlining looks good throughout and we didn’t see any signs of water ingress from the sunroof.

Up front, the typically utilitarian metal dashboard continues to present well and is still complete with its analogue clock and correct instrumentation. We enjoy the slight patination visible in places, including some slight mottling to the inside of the VDO speedometer. The carpeting around the pedals exhibits a little wear in places but looks to be eminently serviceable. Naturally the controls are slightly worn, but this only adds to the pleasing patinated feel of a vehicle of this age.

The Exterior 

  • Burgundy and white two-tone paint scheme
  • Equipped with a rearward roof rack
  • Presented in good overall condition

A 23 Window Split-Screen Samba really is the quintessential Type 2 and it’s not often you see one out and about. While ‘iconic’ is an overused word, a Samba is certainly worthy of such an accolade and this is a very presentable example.

We understand that all the corrosion noted in its 2018 MOT test has since been rectified and a quick glance underneath suggests this Volkswagen to be in good structural order. As a formerly hard working vehicle, this Type 2’s bodywork has a few imperfections and the paint displays some signs of orange peel in places.  Overall, it looks quite straight for a vehicle of this vintage and there are no obvious signs of corrosion in all the usual areas.

The roof-rack is a really nice touch that both looks great and offers additional luggage capacity. The trim all looks to be in reasonably good condition for its age and the vendor points out that the rear bumper requires a little attention in places.

If you’re looking for a good, usable example of this exceedingly desirable Volkswagen, we feel this one ticks a lot of the right boxes.

The Mechanics 

  • Fitted with a 1600cc twin-port engine in 2023
  • Air-cooled flat-four coupled to a four-speed gearbox
  • Reportedly starts and runs impeccably

The vendor informs us that the 1600cc twin-port engine you can see in this Volkswagen’s engine compartment was fitted very recently. With an ‘AD’ prefix to the engine number, the block is likely derived from a 1970-73 example and we understand it has been reconditioned prior to being fitted.

Besides more power compared to the original 1500cc engine, there is also an alternator fitted instead of a dynamo, along with a Bosch ‘High Performance’ coil and an EMPI carburettor.

We’re informed that it starts perfectly and runs really smoothly. The vendor reports that the bus drives very well indeed, making it ready to use on camping trips.


Seldom does the opportunity arise to acquire such a desirable variant of the inimitable Type 2 Volkswagen. 

If you’ve always promised yourself one, don’t miss this charming example.

Notice to bidders 

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.

A non-refundable buyer’s deposit is payable on this item, refer to FAQs and T&Cs for the applicable percentage. 
All bidding, buying and offers are subject to our Terms and Conditions. 

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1963
  • Make Volkswagen
  • Model Split Screen Samba
  • Colour Red & white
  • Odometer 86,544 Miles
  • Engine size 1600
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Skipton
  • Location Yorkshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
34 bids
  • pe•••• £43,250 22/03/23
  • gi•••• £43,000 22/03/23
  • pe•••• £42,500 22/03/23
  • gi•••• £42,000 22/03/23
  • ro•••• £41,750 22/03/23
  • pe•••• £41,250 22/03/23
  • ro•••• £40,500 22/03/23
  • gi•••• £40,000 22/03/23
  • ro•••• £39,500 22/03/23
  • pe•••• £39,000 22/03/23

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