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Buyers Guide to:

Volkswagen Type 2 Split Screen

Useful Info

Also Known As

Type 2, Microbus, Splittie, Samba, Kombi, Bulli


1950 to 1967

Fuel Type


Engine Sizes

1200cc, 1500cc

Engine Type


Drive Configuration


Volkswagen Owners Club of Great Britain

Just Kampers

01256 862288,


With Beetle production underway, the company turned their attention to a vehicle that would shape a generation. The Volkswagen Type 2 arrived in 1950, it’s unique design featuring a split front windscreen that earned it the name ‘Splittie’ amongst enthusiasts. Available in a wide range of variants, from van to pick-up, it was the minibuses that would prove the most enduring with many becoming much-loved campers. Models such as the 21-window and Samba are sought after today, with original examples commanding high prices. Early models lacked power, the 1100cc air-cooled engine producing just 25hp, but an upgrade in 1965 saw a more useful 1500cc, 44hp motor fitted. By the time production ended in 1967, almost 1.5 million had been built.

  1. 1. Lower front panel and inner front valance
  2. 2. Roof gutters
  3. 3. Front screen surround
  4. 4. Front roof panel around the airbox
  5. 5. Chassis legs front to rear, including outriggers and jacking points
  6. 6. Floorpan
  7. 7. Door bottoms
  8. 8. Bottom of the tailgate/engine lid
  9. 9. Inner and outer wheel arches
  10. 10. Inner and outer sills
  11. 11. Around the side windows
  12. 12. Rear corner of the engine bay, including the battery tray
  13. 13. Rear inner and outer lower valance

The Checklist

  • Every inch of the bodywork for signs of rot. All of the panels are at risk, and it can lurk in inaccessible places. It can prove very costly to sort so get a professional inspection if you’re unsure
  • The chassis very carefully, focussing particularly on the legs that run from front to rear and the outriggers. Look for evidence of patching and previous welding, and think very hard before taking on a project
  • That you’re not looking at a bodged restoration. A shiny exterior could be hiding all sorts of horrors beneath and rising values might have tempted previous owners to cut corners. You’re better off finding an honest example to begin with
  • The quality of any modi cations or conversions as not all are done well. An original, unmolested example will likely prove a better bet in the long run
  • That sliding side doors aren’t loose or sticky in operation. Fixing it isn’t especially dif cult, though
  • For worn and smoky engines. Low power outputs mean they are worked hard, and could be due a re-build. Oil leaks are common, too, but shouldn’t be excessive, and like the Beetle you need to check the movement of the crank pulley – too much and it indicates excessive crankshaft end-float
  • For signs of poor running. It often means carburettors in need of an overhaul, which is simple to do, but it could be a result of poor modi cations
  • That there’s no smell of fuel in the cabin. It’s likely to be coming from perished pipework, and the fuel tank is susceptible to corrosion, too
  • That there are no signs of overheating. It’s crucial that the thermostat and cooling flaps operate correctly
  • The gearbox for an obstructive shift, or unusual noises. Worn layshaft bearings lead to whining, but a specialist can overhaul the ‘box at a reasonable cost
  • For clutch judder on hard used examples. Parts are inexpensive but labour costs will soon mount
  • That the suspension has been lubricated properly on early models. Previous owners may not have been aware of the need for regular fettling, and it will lead to premature wear and failure
  • Whether it’s been lowered and whether the work has been done properly
  • The brakes are working okay and that there’s no pulling to one side. Lack of use can lead to seized components, although an overhaul is straightforward and cheap
  • For excessive free play in the steering. The idler pin wears and a special tool is required to fix it. If it wanders on the test drive, it could point to worn track rod ends
  • The condition of the interior. Refreshing a scruffy cabin isn’t too dif cult, but the costs will soon mount. Threadbare seats and a tatty headlining are common problems. At the same time, elevating roofs will need careful checking for damage or evidence of water leaks
  • The quality of camper conversions. The electrics need particular care as they may have been bodged by inexperienced DIY-ers, so ensure it all works properly

Everything Check Out?

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