Decrepit remains of the ‘oldest VW Samba’ are discovered in a field – and will be restored
The blue pick-up in the pictures is merely incidental. In fact, it took German VW parts specialist Florian Kalff’s two 1979 pick-ups to collect the remains of the ‘oldest known’ VW Samba.
The Samba had been left to rot in a field in the Eifel mountain region, near the Nürburgring and 30 miles from Kalff’s premises in Bonn. ‘The field’s owner didn’t even know it was there,’ said Kalff. But when the field was sold, its new owner cut down the overgrown scrub, uncovered the vehicle’s remains, and wanted them removed – in Germany, storing wrecked cars in such locations is viewed as a crime against the environment.
While Kalff believes one Samba was built before this one, it is not known if it still exists. A Samba converted from a 1951 bus, and carrying an earlier chassis number, is known, but is not viewed as a genuine early Samba. The 23-window Samba is the most sought-after of VW splitties, and examples built in 1951 – the first year of production – are the Holy Grail.
So what happens next? ‘I can’t believe he’s planning on doing anything with it!’ said the disbelieving UK-based VW specialist Julian Hunt. Take one look at his pictures and you’ll understand why. Yet Kalff is bravely determined to get the Samba back up and running, using as many of its original parts as possible.
Words: Glen Waddington // Photography: Julian Hunt