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VW Samba Microbus Fetches Big Number at Auction

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On: Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 3:09PM | By: Gary P Garry

VW Samba Microbus Fetches Big Number at Auction

Rock and roll and motor vehicles go hand in hand, like rum and coke, gin and tonic, and Jack Daniels and Budweiser (you can see where my head is during the holiday season). There have been countless songs written about cars of all kinds, and they have prettied up many a rock video.

When you think about the way cars and motorcycles intersect with rock, sex appeal enters the picture. Shiny, fast cars and bikes that attract the opposite sex, these are the vehicles that look like the music sounds.

Of course, there is an exception to every rule. There are a few bands that are always around that walk to the beat of a different drummer. They're experimental, and they aren't about image. You rarely if ever hear them on the radio, but they sell out their live shows left and right as zealous fans follow their tours around the country.

These are what they call the jam bands these days. The granddaddy of them all was the Grateful Dead, and I must admit, I found myself wandering into one or two (or 70) Dead shows in my day.

In the parking lots back in those days, the automotive status symbol wasn't fast, and it wasn't sexy. The car that represented the music was the odd but highly functional Volkswagen microbus.

They were everywhere, some of them extravagantly painted—just about all of them covered with stickers in the windows and on the bumpers. The VW bus was the ideal vehicle for people touring with the band. You had a hotel on wheels, you could bring a lot of people along, and the gas mileage was great, so you got from city to city on the cheap.

Though they had their appeal, you wouldn't necessarily think that a classic microbus would fetch a whole lot of money at an auction. In fact, there was an eye opening microbus sale in the news recently.

A 1955 Samba Microbus Deluxe, the one with the 23 windows, was sold to the highest bidder at an Auctionata auction at the end of November. The nine-seater had just 6400 miles on it when it was sold. It's powered by a 1.2 liter, 30 horsepower engine, and according to the auction house, it is one of 11 specimens still in existence.

The buyer ponied up $235,000 for the rare Samba, which is the highest price that has ever been paid for a VW microbus. That would buy a lot of concert tickets, but if you have that kind of money, you can afford to go to the show and get there in style.


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