Sep 10, 2019

  • Two Volkswagen T1 Sambas brought together by owners on their 65th birthday
  • The pair of buses rolled off the Wolfsburg production line on the same day in 1954
  • Sambas were separated and travelled around Europe before being imported into the UK by Riki James and Andy Morgan
  • The close friends unearthed the similarities by chance at a Volkswagen club meet

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle is celebrating a unique anniversary as two iconic Volkswagen T1 Sambas were reunited on their 65th birthday at Busfest 2019 last weekend.

The two restored classics were brought together by devoted owners and friends of 30 years Riki James and Andy Morgan after the duo discovered that both vehicles were produced at the Wolfsburg factory on the same day: 6 September 1954.

The Samba was first produced in 1951 and soon became the most luxurious version of the T1, debuting the ‘forward control’ van which set the precedent for future models. The T2 never offered a Samba variant so the number of these prestigious vehicles on the road is small.

With a limited number of Sambas ever produced, and just four being made per day, the reunion of twins 65 years later is a remarkable slice of history.

The vans were originally sent to a Danish dealer before travelling across most of Europe. Riki imported his Samba from Sweden 23 years ago having found it abandoned in a forest in 1996. Riki then set to work restoring the van to working condition replacing the engine, gearbox and drive shaft but maintaining as much original material as possible including the entire interior and paintwork.

Riki commented on the unique story: “I almost couldn’t believe it when I found my Samba abandoned in a forest in Sweden. Since restoring some of the running gear, I’ve travelled all across Europe in the van covering almost 100,000 miles. It has proven to be the perfect travelling companion and I’m delighted Andy and I have found such a unique connection between our two vans.”

More recently Andy unearthed his in a neglected state in France. Having brought it to the UK, Andy has spent the last few years restoring the van but it wasn’t until this year that he noticed the body number on close friend Riki’s Samba meaning they owned siblings.

Andy said: “When I bought my Samba it was in a really bad way and we have done some major repairs to it in order to have it ready to mark its birthday celebration. This is a big part of Volkswagen history and big coincidence to find Samba twins. The reunion of two long lost siblings deserves a big celebration and it’ll be the first time they’re back together since they left the Wolfsburg factory in 1965. It’s an incredible story.”

To celebrate, Riki and Andy reunited the two Sambas at Busfest 2019 in Malvern, Worcestershire. Visitors were able to take a look at the original vans and see how the restoration took shape giving an idea of how much the vans have been through during the past 65 years.

Carl zu Dohna, Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “We know our heritage vehicles have an incredible fanbase and the story of these two iconic Samba vans through the years from production in 1954 to their restoration 65 years later, is yet another example of this, as well as an excellent celebration of the brand as a whole.”

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Notes to editor
For more information, please contact Grant McPherson, Product Affairs Manager, on 01908 548210 or 07774 684222, or Kate Thompson, Head of Press and Public Relations, on 01908 601478 or 07713 265562.

Electronic images accompany this release showing the two Samba buses and their owners:
Samba_01 shows Andy’s vehicle (left) and Riki’s (right)
Samba_02 shows Andy (left) and Riki (right)

About Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
Over 60 years ago, the first Transporter arrived in the UK, creating a blueprint which others would follow: a van which gets the job done efficiently and reliably. Today, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers a diverse model range – from the compact Caddy, through the evergreen Transporter and sturdy Crafter panel vans, dropsides and tippers, to the Caravelle passenger carrier, California camper and the Amarok pick-up. The vehicles are as versatile and dependable as Volkswagens have always been, but now they’re more spacious, more comfortable and safer than ever.

Every van also comes backed by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ ‘Working With You’ promise. It’s a commitment to work in partnership with businesses, providing them with the best products and aftersales support, whether they’re buying one or a thousand vans. For more information visit