However, as so often in this collecting market, those first appearances don’t count that much if the vehicle in question is very rare, combines ‘cult’ and ‘classic’ and is a splendid restoration project to boot.
That £23,000 (plus 10% buyer’s premium and VAT) was paid for a Volkswagen campervan – specifically, a 1960 Split Screen 23 Window Samba campervan – against an estimate of £15,000-20,000 at North Yorkshire saleroom Tennants on March 25.
VW introduced the immediately campervan in 1950. The auction house says this 1960 model is of “particular appeal to camper connoisseurs”, retaining its original VIN and chassis number, and M-codes which revealed that it was originally supplied to Ramsgate.
Motoring journalist, editor and writer Nigel Boothman told ATG: “At first glance this does look like a large heap of money for a larger heap of rust, but there’s one word here that makes fans of classic Volkswagens stand to attention: Samba.
“It’s the name given to a distinctive version of the VW Type 2 van built between 1951 and 1967, and originally intended for commercial tours of scenic beauty spots - hence the extra windows in the edge of the roof and the fabric sunroof down the middle.
“The Samba in standard form was a minibus, but this one was ordered with a desirable Westfalia camper conversion, of which some remnants remain. It is the older and more valuable 23-window version of the Samba and is all the more unusual for being a right-hand drive, UK-supplied example.
“Though in dilapidated condition, it came with a number of repair panels and many other spares, offering an opportunity for VW enthusiasts that’s unlikely to come round again.”
Boothman (see nigelboothman.co.uk) adds that a fully restored 23-window Samba sold in February 2015 for £67,500 and at the time was thought to be the only RHD example left in the UK. Even higher figures have been achieved for LHD vehicles, with a 1963 example reaching $217,800 (£175,000) in America in 2011 and a ’55 version hitting €190,000 (£162,000) in 2014.
“When ‘barn-find’ Aston Martins can sell for more than the value of a restored example, £23,000 for a VW Samba Westfalia project seems a great buy. If restored to a high standard, it has the potential to be the most valuable RHD split-screen van in the world.”
Motorcycles and mascots
Vintage motorcycles have been performing well at various salerooms across the UK. At this Tennants Vintage Motorvehicles and Automobilia sale, a 1949 Douglas Mark III made £3200 (estimate £3000-4000) and a 1937 Carlton 125cc £3500 (estimate £3000-5000).
The saleroom says: “Carlton Motorcycles were produced between 1922 and 1940 initially in Lockhurst Lane, Coventry, with production moving to Clarence Road, Worksop, Nottingham in 1937 (some bikes may have been produced in Scotland). Carlton shifted from motorcycle production to bicycle production in 1940. Motorcycle production was sporadic with the company almost disappearing at times, making Carlton Motorcycles very rare.”
In the automobilia section, among a large selection of car mascots was the brass and nickel-plated example pictured here, which doubled the top estimate to sell for £1200 (plus 20% buyer’s premium and VAT).
The 4.5in (11cm) figure by G Poitvin, French, 1920s, was modelled as Medusa kneeling on a rock, and was signed and stamped with the foundry mark C and L (Contenot Et Lelievre).