Volkswagen Kombi Camper at Porsche price
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As thousands of Kiwi travellers have found on their European OE trips, the VW Kombi is like a house on wheels.
When Professor Ferdinand Porsche designed his Volkswagen "People's car" in 1934, he never envisaged that 80 years on its variants might be worth as much, or more, than the sports cars carrying his name.
But that could be the case at Shannons Melbourne Spring auction on Monday, September 29 when an exhaustively restored and multiple award-winning 1966 VW Campervan named "Buster" is expected to sell for the price of an early Porsche 356.
"Buster" is a rare surviving "E-Z" Camper conversion based on an increasingly collectible "Split-Window" Type 2 Kombi.
Introduced in 1949 with the same reliable running gear as the original Post-War VW Beetle, the Kombi soon carved a niche as a reliable, versatile and endearing workhorse and it was available as a van, a bus and as early as 1951, as a camper, with a conversion by the German Westfalia company.
As demand for these campers outstripped supply - particularly in North America - other campers entered the market, including "E-Z" Camper built in Littlerock, California that cleverly transformed the Kombi into a veritable house on wheels, with a folding bed, tables and chairs, kitchenette, 55-litre water system and wardrobe.
The "E-Z" being auctioned enjoyed a long association with the original owner's family before being inherited by their stepson who began the task of refurbishing the vehicle to better-than-new condition in the early 2000s.
The restoration was thoroughly documented by a detailed, step-by-step photographic record of all work performed, along with a comprehensive receipt file.
A new 1915cc engine fitted with Twin Weber carburettors and electronic ignition was installed, along with a replacement "Freeway Flyer" transmission and a CSP front disc brake conversion for added safety. Optimax deep cycle batteries were fitted, along with a discreetly hidden Alpine sound system.
"Buster" also comes with its original canvas annexe, twin Coleman stoves (still in their original packaging), the original (and still functioning) icebox along with various accessories such as anodised mugs, crockery and cutlery.
The factory left-hand-drive Volkswagen has only travelled a further 2400km since its rebuild was completed in 2001 and remains in truly remarkable condition.
Since being imported to Australia from California in 2011, "Buster" has has won numerous awards for its stunning presentation.
Shannons, that expects Buster to sell in the A$62,000-$72,000 ($69,000-$80,000) range, also attracts Kiwi buyers for its car auctions.