This guide has been created to assist people with the identification of the 1951 - 1955 Volkswagen Deluxe Microbus (otherwise called the Samba Bus or Sunroof Deluxe). For information on the later model 1955 - 1958 Samba Bus, follow this link. The VW Deluxe Microbus was based on the T1, Type 2 body, which features the famous split front window, which was adapted to several other body styles. The Deluxe Microbus entered production a full year later than the standard 1950 Microbus, and has become particularly desirable due to its unique feature and low production numbers.
As the Deluxe buses now demand extraordinary prices, it is important that a prospective purchaser knows exactly what they are getting. This identification guide includes information about the VW Deluxe Microbus external features, interior features, mechanical features, paint colours and codes, as well as the chassis, body and engine number information necessary for determining the originality of these vehicles.
Numbers produced and period of manufacture:
The VW Deluxe Samba Bus was produced from late 1950 through to February 1955 in the following numbers:
1951 (June): 269 units produced
1952: 1142 units produced
1953: 1289 units produced
1954: 1937 units produced
1955 (end February): <1000 units produced
Please note, this guide has been written based on a variety of online sources and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation that all information is accurate. You should always seek independent professional advice when looking to purchase a unique car. If you have additional information, photographs or corrections you believe need to be made to this page, please contact us by clicking the button at the top of this page, or comment below.
The 1951-1955 VW Deluxe Microbus had the following external features:
The Volkswagen Deluxe Samba Bus had the following original interior features:
Deluxe specific interior options included:
Several sources have confirmed that the Deluxe Microbus came in the following two colours/combinations:
The vast majority of Deluxe Microbuses were produced in "Chesnut Brown" over "Sealing Wax Red". We have managed to only gather a few images of an all Stone Grey Deluxe Microbus.
Several forums have indicated that many of the Deluxe Microbuses which appeared in early brochures, advertisements, and at motor shows, were generally Chesnut Brown" over "Sealing Wax Red, but also had a white contrasting roof. Although production started in Aug 1951, very few vehicles were built that year and it is noted that none of these were built for sale to the general public, but were rather supplied as demonstration vehicles. All of these vehicles are believed to have had a white roof. Unfortunately, we have not been able to confirm the paint code or find examples of these very early vehicles, but please contact us if you have any additional information.
Confirming the original colour:
Unfortunately, the chassis plate on the vehicle does not list the original paint code. The code can however be found in the 'VW Birth Certificate', as this model pre-dates the M code chassis plates. The only other way to confirm the original paint is to look at areas under carpets, in the engine bay or other covered areas, which may have remnants of the original paint.
VIN / Chassis plate:
The chassis plate can be decoded in the following way:
The tables attached in the images compile the months in which the the Deluxe Microbus was produced with the sequential VIN numbers applicable to those production dates.
The engine number is stamped on the front generator mount.
The engine numbers produced during the 1951-1955 period for Deluxe Microbus are listed in the tables in the images. Examples of the location and the typeface of an original engine number are also provided in the images.
Engine Case Date Stamps:
To assist with identification of an original engine, date stamps which are cast into the block can be inspected. These cast marks can be found in two locations:
1. On the left hand side of the generator stand (right hand side case half).
2. Next to the oil pump (left hand side case half).
These locations are further described in the images. This stamping contains three (3) groups of digits that refer to the production date of the engine.
Digit 1: Day of the month
Digit 2: Month
Digit 3: This consists of two digits. The first is the shift number of the day, and the second digit refers to the year the engine was produced.
For example: "4 - 7 - 45" would confirm the 4th day of the 7th month (July), and the 4th shift of the 5th year (i.e. 1955).
A 'birth certificate' can be obtained from Volkswagon, and will confirm the following information about your Microbus. Note, obtaining a birth certificate will likely require a valid chassis number, or further information, and we have not verified the process of obtaining such documents.
Factory options for the Deluxe Microbus:
Factory options and codes are listed in the table contained in the images. There are many other options that are available to the Deluxe Microbus along with other bus variations of VW Type 2 lineup, such as a MPH speedometer, engine filters etc. The list shown in the images refers to the unique options available only on the Deluxe Microbus.
The 1951-1955 Deluxe Microbus had the following mechanical features:
The following sources, among input from many enthusiasts, have contributed to the creation of this page. If you have any further information you believe can be added, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.