21 January 2021
Schuco VW T1 Samba - Red/Beige
REF NO: SHU 07852
Officially designated as Volkswagen's "Type 2" when it was introduced in 1949, the concept for it is credited to Dutch Volkswagen importer, Ben Pon. He visited Wolfsburg in 1946, intending to purchase Type 1s for import to the Netherlands, where he saw a Plattenwagen, an improvised parts-mover based on the Type 1 chassis, and realised something special was possible using the stock Type 1 pan. Production would have to wait, however, as the factory was at capacity producing the Type 1 'Beetle'.
The Transporter evolved, and was completely revised periodically with variations retrospectively referred to as versions "T1" to "T5" (a nomenclature only invented after the introduction of the front-wheel-drive T4 that replaced the T3). However, only generations T1 to T3 can be seen as directly related to the Beetle.
The Volkswagen Samba was the most luxurious version of the T1. Volkswagen started producing Sambas in 1951. In the US, Volkswagen vans were informally classified according to the number of windows they had. This particular model had 23, including eight panoramic windows in the roof (the 23 window version had additional curved windows to the rear corners). To distinguish it from the normal Volkswagen van the name 'Samba' was introduced.
Instead of a sliding door at the side the Samba had two pivot doors. In addition, it had a fabric sunroof. Sambas were painted in two colours as standard and the upper part was the lighter. The two sections were separated by a decorative strip.
We reviewed Schuco's delightful van version last month, but the delightful Samba gets an extended review, so you can appreciate the excellent value of this interesting 1/32 scale release.
Obviously, at this price-point, there are no opening parts, but the rest of the model more than makes up for this, with the delightful lines of the 'splitty' reproduced very well indeed. All 23 windows are there, of course, with the rooflights correctly tinted green.
It's a lovely model, and definitely a very appealing one to enthusiasts and collectors alike. Problem is, now we want a real one, too!