The Who’s Volkswagen Magic Bus is coming up for sale

WORDS: Nathan Chadwick | Photography: Alan Kenny/Silverstone Auctions

A 1965 Volkswagen Type 2 Panel Van created alongside The Who to celebrate VW’s 60th anniversary in Hannover is to be put up for sale with Silverstone Auctions.

In 2007, Volkswagen Commercials AG partnered with Roger Daltrey, a long-standing patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust, to create a Magic Bus, in honour of The Who’s song of the same name, which would be raffled to raise funds for the charity. People from across the world paid £5 per ticket to enter the competition, and The Who performed a free concert in the VW plant’s car park.

Bob Van Heyst of California-based specialist BBT sourced a left-hand-drive 1965 Type 2. It had been partially restored, but VW staff in Hannover finished it off in the Old Timer workshop. Richard Evans, The Who’s art director, had worked with the band for more than 40 years, crafting their distinct look on album covers and tour designs. He set to work designing a bespoke artwork for the van, which was applied in Hanover. Roger Daltrey and lead guitarist Pete Townshend autographed the sun visors, while Richard Even signed an interior side panel. 

As for the van itself, it was originally sent to the USA in 1965 and still retains its American-specification ‘towel rail’ bumpers and ‘elephant ear’ wing mirrors. It runs a 1600cc single port engine, while the inside has been treated to a JVC CD stereo system with iPod and Bluetooth functionality. There’s a rock and roll rear seat that folds down into a full-width bed with storage space underneath. 

The seats are covered in pale blue leatherette, and The Who’s logo is embroidered on the back rests. The ceiling locker is finished in red, white and blue, while black-and-white tiles make up the flooring. 

Since being first sold at auction for £30,000, the van has been immortalised by two different model makers; the first with Schuco in 1/43 form, and with Revell in 1/24. It formed the subject of lots of unofficial merchandise, and has appeared in several magazines and books dedicated to VW Campers.

It has a current MoT and VW Certificate of Origin, and is up for sale at Silverstone Auctions’ sale at The Classic with an estimate of between £60,000 and £80,000 between Friday August 26 and Saturday August 27. Ten per cent of the hammer price will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust. More details at www.silverstoneauctions.com.


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