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The Oldest Known VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72

Did you know that the oldest-known registered VW Bus is a Dove Blue panel van named Sofie that recently celebrated its 72nd birthday?

In 1950, Sofie, now the oldest VW, was delivered brand spanking new to a buyer in Hildesheim, a city in the north of Germany that’s not far from Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg.

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Sofie, The Oldest Known VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72.

It spent more than two decades delivering goods on the picturesque yet winding roads that meander through the region.

Sofie, the oldest VW bus, changed hands several times from 1973 to 1992.

Yet despite the change in ownership (or maybe because of it) Sofie’s important role in automotive history was never mentioned much, if it even was known. Up until recently, it was simply an outdated cargo hauler that was not very popular with the average customer around the world.

As the years went on, VW bus variants became sought after auto collector’s vehicles.

Sofie eventually won the attention of a Danish collector who bought the bus sight-unseen after uncovering its chassis number build date.

By that time the olden bus had not been on the road in nearly two decades. So the Danish buyer set about to bring Sofie back to her former glory.

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The Oldest VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72.

It was quite a project. Sofie underwent a three-year restoration and then spent years traveling around Europe to meet her fans (aka car enthusiasts). During that time Sofie also won several prizes at car shows.

After unsuccessfully searching for the van’s next buyer, the elderly Danish owner ended up selling it to Volkswagen in 2014.

Sofie is now living a life of ease in the official VW collection.

The Oldest VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72.

When not traveling to events, Sofie is often on display in one of the two VW museums in Wolfsburg.

Sofie is powered by an air-cooled, 1.2-liter flat-four engine that churns out a whopping 25 horsepower at 3,300 rpm. The bus can reach a top speed of 60 mph on a straightaway.

Like every pre-1955 VW bus, its engine lid extends from the back end to the belt line and it, therefore, has no rear hatch.

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The Oldest VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72.

We can expect to see more of Sofie as VW launches the ID buzz.

The new high-tech ID buzz will take plenty of its styling cues from the 1950 original VW bus. But it will be electric, very high-tech and much quicker. And eventually, self-driving.

Check out: The All-Electric ID. Buzz “VW Microbus” Will Be Worth the Wait. And Wait We Will….

Sofie could have lost her status as the oldest-known Type 2 by the time the ID Buzz launches. That’s because another one that came out even earlier could emerge.

Every single example of the VW bus built during the initial five months of production is currently missing, according to media reports.

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The Oldest VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72.

Yes, the Bus was mass-produced. But it was also “mass destroyed” over time as one media outlet put it.

But it’s possible one is still sitting moss covered in the forests of Germany or Austria, so you never know.

It has one of the richest histories of any car on the planet.

Volkswagen approved the Type 2 van for production on May 19, 1949. The first VW Bus left the Wolfsburg plant on the 12th of November that year.

The more glass-lade “Microbus” joined the lineup in May 1950. And VW ended up building a total of 9,541 Types 2s in that first production year.

The first-generation Microbus featured design characteristics that were unique to this model, according to Auto Trends website. These included a split aerodynamic windshield and some window variations. Standard models were equipped with 11 windows, Deluxe versions had 15 windows and Sunroof Deluxe models added eight small skylight windows for a total of 23 windows, according to Auto Trends. The first models also had removable middle- and rear-row seats, while later models had only a removable rear seat.

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The Oldest VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72.

After the original model’s 18-year run, the second-generation Volkswagen Microbus was unveiled, minus the split windshield, which was replaced by a single wraparound window. The window count dropped as well with only vent, side, sliding and rear windows featured. At that point, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine making 47 horsepower and paired with a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic transmission was offered.

Later on, a 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine making 65 horsepower was introduced, but imports to the United States were soon ended, according to Auto Trends. Volkswagen continued to manufacture the Volkswagen Microbus after leaving the US market, building the vehicle at plants located in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Australia.

A third-generation model was introduced in 1980, sold briefly as the Vanagon in the United States before high tariffs ended imports. By 2009 only the Brazilian plant was manufacturing the van and that model was based on the second-generation design with a water-cooled engine.
After 78 consecutive years of building the rear-engine buses, VW announced the end of the Brazilian-manufactured Kombi. New environmental legislation had effectively killed the model.
VW bus and production stopped in 2014.

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The Oldest VW Bus in the World Has Turned 72.

Get ready for a comeback! 

The VW bus is about to return in the next year or so as an electric vehicle.

Currently known as the ID. Buzz, the newest version of the microbus will offer 369 horsepower from electric motors on each axle. The original 1950 Type 2 sold in the United States had a mere 30 horsepower, making it very slow driving up hills.

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VW Bus Has Evolved Significantly Throughout the Years.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering ID. Buzz or more information contact our VW dealership:

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