The annual Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance is widely regarded as one of the top tier car shows on the planet, drawing in a fleet of bespoke luxury cars, vintage race cars, and other uber-rare rides.

For 2023 however, an unlikely hero emerged from the mix of high-dollar classics: the iconic Volkswagen Type II Transporter van.

…But you may know it better as the humble Hippie Bus.

In case you’re wondering, the VW “Type 1” is the instantly recognizable Beetle.

The VW Type II came in a bunch of different flavors and this year’s Amelia Island attendees got to sample plenty of them, from ambulances to fire trucks to this 1954 panel van—decked out in awesome Telefunken livery, no less. (Image/Volkswagen)

Yup, the classic VW T2 Microbus got its own judging class for the 2023 Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance, and the Transporter field was filled with pristine chalk-mark restorations, famous celebrity busses, and rare one-off modified models.

One of three known to exist, this Type 2 half-track conversion was designed as an Alpine transport vehicle and was one of the many rare Transporters in attendance. (Image/Volkswagen)

The whole special class thing isn’t anything new to the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance, and VW’s own Beetle has enjoyed the same distinction in previous years.

Still though, it must’ve been quite a sight to see the legendry Spicoli Bus roll up next to all those Duesenbergs, Ferraris, and Rolls Royces. (We hope it brought some pizza too.)

But Spicoli’s ride wasn’t the only notable celebrity attendee. Jerry Garcia’s personal VW bus was there, along with a replica of the Light Bus that attended the original Woodstock Festival.

Into Transporters? You may dig this too: Inside Ken Prather’s Mid-Engine V8-Powered 1962 VW Microbus

Fans of “Fast Times” will undoubtedly recognize that Red/Yellow Transporter. (Image/Volkswagen)

But this was a judged class after all, so there had to be a winner.

The well-deserved Best in Class honor fell to a meticulously restored 1951 Deluxe 15-Window Transporter owned by Joe Mond of Dubuque, Iowa.

Behold, the winning Microbus: a 1951 Deluxe 15-Window. (Image/Volkswagen)

Contrasted against, say a race-bred V12 from a vintage Formula 1 car, out back in the winning Transporter is a trusty 25 horsepower VW air-cooled four, derived from the earlier Type 1 Beetle. Mond’s Type 2 wears a striking Sealing Wax Red and Chestnut Brown color combo to complement its white roof. Inside, a a black interior completes the delightfully vintage aesthetic.

The trailer hitch out back is just icing on the cake here. *Chef’s Kiss*

Move aside Maseratis, back off Bentleys—there’s Best in Class VW Bus coming through! (Image/Volkswagen)

The special Transporter class was part of a publicity campaign for the heralded arrival of Volkswagen’s ID.BUZZ, the all-electric revival of the Type 2’s silhouette.

Regardless of the marketing subtext here, we’re just happy any time a familiar, obtainable classic crashes the big-buck Concours party.

row of vintage volkswagen transporter busses at 2023 Amelia Island Concours
That’s an original Type 2 fire truck in the foreground. (Image/Volkswagen)

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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in 1972 Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.