Oldest Known Microbus Celebrates its 70th Anniversary

When the Volkswagen Type 2 came out, it was a functional piece of equipment. As such, early models were often run into the ground in the line of the duty. Today, though, marks the 70th anniversary of the oldest-know Type 2 in the world.

Known as Sofie, the Dove Blue panel van spent 23 years delivering sundries in the picaresque city of Hildesheim—just a few miles from Wolfsburg.

After retiring in ’73, the van spent years changing hands and growing older until, in 1992, a Danish collector bought sight-unseen after seeing the chassis code and understanding its age.

In 2000, a restoration began that would end up taking three years. Knowing the age of the van, the restoration was made with an eye to originality. It is, therefore, still powered by an air-cooled 1.2-liter, 25 hp flat-four that can take it up to 60 mph.

Clearly proud of the work, the owner decided to take the van touring around Europe, earning prizes at car shows along the way.

As age crept up on the owner, though, he started driving it less. He felt guilty that he could only take Sofie out a few times a year and started looking for the next caretaker. Unsatisfied with potential buyers, he ended up selling the van to Volkswagen in 2014.

Volkswagen keeps it in its collection in Wolfsburg showing it in its museums when it isn’t on the road, touring classic car shows and automotive events.

We suspect that we’ll get to see it again when the ID.Buzz is revealed, bookending the story of the transporter.