The last known Volkswagen Type 2 Schulwagen, a version used to train dealership staff, has resurfaced after 43 years.
Owned by collector Lind Bjornsen, the restored Schulwagen made its public debut last month in Huntington Beach, California, on International VW Bus Day. The event celebrated the Type 2, also known as the Microbus, and marked the U.S. debut of the iconic van's spiritual (and electric) successor—the Volkswagen ID.Buzz.
The Schulwagen, German for "school vehicle," came about after VW terminated its contract with U.S. importer Max Hoffman and set up its own U.S. division, Volkswagen of America (now part of Volkswagen Group of America).
Taking over U.S. sales operations meant setting up a dealer network, which VW representatives Will Van De Camp and Geoffrey Lange started doing in 1954. The following year they had VW send over three service tech trainers and a pair of Type 2 vans to travel to dealerships and train staff to work on Beetles and Microbuses. Based on the Type 2 Kombi model, the Schulwagen fleet eventually totaled 14 vehicles costing more than $5,000 each—making them the most expensive VW models at the time.
Volkswagen Type 2 Schulwagen
This Schulwagen sat in an Ohio barn for 43 years, according to VW. It was purchased by Bjornsen, who removed 10 layers of paint to find the original Volkswagen of America lettering which, along with some unique equipment like a rear workbench, proved the van's provenance. The factory subsequently confirmed that the barn find was delivered to VW of America in January 1955. The van was then restored to original condition over the course of five months.
Americans will have to wait a bit longer for a new VW Bus. The ID.Buzz is scheduled to arrive here next year as a 2025 model. It will bring with it three rows of seats, a larger battery pack, and a more powerful electric motor than the versions already on sale in other markets. This high-end version of the electric VW Bus probably won't be used for dealer training, but it will have something in common with the Schulwagen. With an expected price of about $65,000, it will also be among the most expensive Volkswagens currently on sale.