This 1965 Volkswagen T1 Double Door Splitscreen Panel Van is a largely original example of the classic workhorse, with a deliberately shabby ‘rat’ appearance. Powered by an air-cooled flat-four engine giving surprisingly usable performance, it drives the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. Its displacement is believed to be 1641cc, which is what is stated on the V5C, though this is not verified. The odometer indicates 38,020 miles, and has almost certainly gone around the clock once or twice.

First registered in January 1965 in the US, this double door panel van was imported into the UK from California in May 2005, before coming into the vendor’s ownership in 2008. During its time in California, the rear arches were cut out for the previous owner to fit larger wheels, however they were repaired and reinstated prior to being purchased by the vendor.

The exterior condition of this ‘Splitty’ panel van has been left to weather in line with the ‘rat look’ aesthetic style and shows plenty of signs of its previous life in the California sun – most notably the sun-bleached roof. Despite its worn appearance, the Pigeon Blue paintwork is believed to be largely original, with the exception of the panels surrounding the rear wheels, which have been resprayed during the aforementioned arch repairs. Keen-eyed viewers will also note a number of holes in the bodywork due to air scoops being fitted to the van while in California, which were subsequently removed after being imported to the UK.

Inside, the years have not been quite so kind to this T1, and consequently the interior would benefit from a full re-trim – which would make a fun contrast with the exterior once complete. As with the exterior, it is believed to be wholly or largely original, though the vendor notes that there is no hazard switch fitted to the vehicle and pop-out ‘safari’ windows have been fitted. The rear load area is a true ‘blank canvas’ ready for conversion into a show van, camper or day van, and has proved useful for lugging heavy or larger loads during the vendor’s ownership.

Thanks to the simplicity of the air-cooled engine and its associated running gear, the vendor and prior owners have carried out the majority of work to the engine themselves, and therefore there is very little in the way of official servicing documentation. The last invoice for servicing is dated to March 2018, and was carried out at an indicated 35,737 miles by CVSL Ltd. Work carried out during this service included the engine oil and oil filter being replaced, one new wheel bearing, and renewal of the steering pin set.

The flat-four engine was rebuilt at this time, and in addition the vehicle has been fitted with a tow bar with seven-pin electrics, dropped front spindles at the front, and an aftermarket stainless steel exhaust. The vendor notes that the front beam may also have been narrowed, but this is unverified. A couple of years ago, the fuel tank was found to be leaking, so a replacement was purchased. However, upon inspection the quality of the original tank was found to be far superior; so the vendor invested in specialist refurbishment and repainting of the original instead, which is clearly visible in a number of images of the engine bay.

Due to its age, the vehicle is now MOT exempt, however the last test was carried out on 29 March 2018, where the only advisory was for a slightly corroded brake pipe. The tyres on all four corners vary in their wear, though only the front nearside tyre needs replacing imminently.

The vendor has noted that the side loading doors and door sills may require attention in the near future, though they have chosen not to undertake this work themselves. In addition, the driver’s footwell area is showing a few pin holes, while one of the belly pans has developed a small hole which could be patched rather than replaced, since the floors are all believed to be the original items.

From its time as a utilitarian load-lugger to being used as a shabby-chic ‘surf van,’ this globetrotting VW T1 has had a varied life which showcases how usable and dependable these vehicles typically are. Thanks to spending much of its life in California, this is a largely solid, very original example of a T1 Splitscreen Panel Van, and would make a fun project for any air-cooled VW enthusiast.

The description of this auction lot is, to the best of the seller's knowledge, accurate and not misleading. Collecting Cars requests a range of detail about the lot from the seller, and performs a level of due diligence. However, bidders must satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of the description, and conduct any research they feel is necessary before committing to a bid. Please see our Terms and Conditions for full details.

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Car Overview

  • 38,020 miles
  • manual
  • LHD
  • Pigeon Blue
  • Black
  • 1.6L
  • VIN215101Z93

Lot Overview

  • Lot #02868
  • private Sale
  • Bridgnorth, Shropshire, United Kingdom


  • Stuart_Bratt

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