BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
The rare ‘Love Wagon’ campervan from TV hit That ‘70s Show could break the WORLD RECORD for most expensive Volkswagen ever sold.
This 1967 Samba bus that boats a 21-window ride will be going under the hammer with Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction in Florida, USA, on April 14.
Known as Ashton Kutcher’s “Love Wagon” on the sitcom from 2001 to 2004, the green and white van features three rows of brown leather seats, old-fashioned curtains and fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror.
Volkswagen produced just over 100,000 Sambas in the 50s and 60s of popular model that’s a must-have for auto collectors.
Barret-Jackson are confident the ‘Love Wagon’ will break the world record after similar models without the showbiz history claiming the title in previously.
Last year, a ’65 Deluxe Bus became the world’s most expensive Volkswagen at the auction house when it was sold for a whopping $302,500 (£214,000).
Another more expensive model, the ’67 Samba, was also won for $143,000 (£101,000).
Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett-Jackson Auction House, said: “Sambas are the first-generation buses from Volkswagen and there is tremendous nostalgic appeal with people who grew up driving and riding in them.
“This bus is obviously special because it brings a celebrity connection to ‘That ‘70s Show.’ We’ve sold a number of TV and movie vehicles over the years and they are often very popular.
“We’re adding more VW buses to our Palm Beach docket, well above the number we had in Palm Beach last year, so the market for them continues to be strong.
The minibus is equipped with brand new tires and an engine and brake system that were both recently serviced.
It also comes with a handbag signed by cast members of the show including Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Laura Prepon, as well as the vehicle title under the name of the show’s creator Mark Brazill.
Craig said: “This bus does bring a celebrity appeal from a popular TV show, which has the potential to increase the value, but you never really know until it’s on the block and the hammer drops.”
“We’ve seen some really big numbers for these buses in the past few years.
“We sold a 1961 23-window bus at the 2014 Scottsdale Auction for $148,500 (£105,000) and since then we’ve been seeing a steady increase in value.”
The auction house has mainly sold these buses to the baby boomer generation, but expects some younger bidders considering the fanbase of the sitcom.
Craig said: “They have been popular with baby boomers, but the show is also popular among the younger generations who also like the retro concept, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a Gen X or millennial bidders jumped in.”
To view the vehicle’s listing, visit www.barrett-jackson.com.