last week I shared the following new picture of my little collection of historical Barndoor pics with some BD-freaks:
In my eyes this picture is very interesting in many aspects. First, it shows a one-tone-color Samba. I know the VW books clearly say that there was just one single-tone color for Barndoor Sambas: stone grey (which is a kind of dark grey). But this Samba here has a very bright color, which is for not stone grey! Sure, it could be resprayed, but the old black German license plate, this ´51 shows, were replaced in 1956 by the well-known white DIN-plates. So this picture was taken between 1951 and 1956, that´s for sure. I wouldn´t respray a five year old car, would you?
I personally believe this Samba wasn´t older than two years in this picture, because the Bus looks quite new, maybe it was just brand new. Just have a look on the people! The guy in the black suit seems to be the proud owner, presenting his new vehicle to his friends and neighbors.
But something else made me finally sure that this is a brand new Samba. It´s quite weird! When I shared the picture Julian Hunt wrote me: “Two things I noticed about the (lovely) picture: The badge doesn’t look quite right which could just be the reflections, and the wipers are black, not silver……”
OK, I guess the badge is just right for a ´51, dear Julian, it´s the badge with the open gap between the “V” and the “W”. But the black wipers made me thinking! A look in the VW spare parts book of March 1951 confirms there were chromed and black wipers. Black for type 21A (panel van) and type 23A (kombi), chromed for type 22A (micro bus). The ´54 spare parts book says the same and adds that also the Samba had chromed wiper blades. So, is the ´51 Samba equipped wrongly?
I was kind of frustrated, cause I already have a very nice set of black wiper blades for my Samba at hand and accepting they might be wrong was a little pain. So, just to be sure I grabbed my other Samba pictures and discovered a little mystery! Have a look at this beautiful picture:
Black wiper blades again and again a ´51 Samba which looks as new! OK, you could say, a wiper blade is easy to change and could be worn out in just one winter. But the clamping bracket is good for at least ten years! And it is black also on the bright one tone Samba and the three color one above! So, could it be that the very first Sambas were generally equipped with black wiper blades and black clamping brackets? It seems so, have a look on the next picture:
We do have the final proof here, haven´t we? Maybe it is related to the fact that they build up the very first Sambas at least up to 1952 in the factory´s prototype department, but to be honest, I don´t have a real clue why the factory decided to equip the first ´51 Sambas with black blades and brackets while chromed ones were at hand to equip the stock micro bus right from the start some months before Samba debuted. The following pictures of a 1950 micro bus confirm that the factory had chromed blades back in these days!
I know the spare parts books say all Sambas had chromed blades, but the pictures above proof it´s wrong, at least when it comes to ´51 Sambas. Now before you suspect the spare parts book might be simply wrong, let me teach you different. Have a look here:
Don´t we have a wonderful hobby? Let them call us freaks, nerds or even idiots, but VW science doesn´t hurt anyone, neither makes it the world a worse place, I guess it´s just the opposite!