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1988 Volkswagen (T25) Caravelle GL 112 Minibus ex-Professor Stephen Hawking CBE

Lot Number: 521

1988 Volkswagen (T25) Caravelle GL 112 Minibus ex-Professor Stephen Hawking CBE

Bought new by Professor Hawking as his personal transportation for 10 years, being used at his 1995 wedding, and now offered for sale by his relative.


LIVE AUCTION: This lot was auctioned on Saturday 27th August, 2022 at 10.30am BST at The Wing, Silverstone Circuit, NN12 8TN

  • Drive


  • Registration Number

    E861 EBM


Bought new by Professor Hawking as his personal transportation for 10 years, being used at his 1995 wedding, and now offered for sale by his relative.


The vehicle presented here, on the face-of-it, is an unremarkable (if now quite a rare ‘bus’ and hard to find in original specification/condition) 1988 Volkswagen T25 Caravelle GL 112 Minibus, albeit the most powerful model with a water-cooled, 2.1-litre petrol engine giving 112bhp. What elevates this particular Caravelle is that it was owned new and very much enjoyed for 10 years by a remarkable man – Professor Stephen Hawking (CH CBE FRS FRSA).

The most recognisable scientist of our age, Hawking holds an iconic status. His genre-defining book, ‘A Brief History of Time’, has sold more than 10 million copies, and has been translated into more than 35 languages. Hawking conducted ground-breaking research into black holes and the origins of the universe and gained global fame as a populariser and communicator of science.

His discovery of what might prove to be the key clue to the theory of everything advanced our understanding of space and time, helped shape the course of physics for the last four decades and that insight continues to drive progress in fundamental physics today. He was routinely consulted on everything from time travel and alien life to Middle Eastern politics and nefarious robots. He had an endearing sense of humour and a daredevil attitude - relatable human traits that, combined with his seemingly superhuman mind, made Hawking eminently fascinating and so admired around the world. Sadly, after an amazing life, Hawking died in 2018, with his ashes buried in a corner of Westminster Abbey that honours some of Britain's greatest scientists, between the graves of Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton.

This VW Caravelle was used as Hawking’s personal transportation; it has an automatic gearbox and has covered some 90,000 miles, with a thorough servicing/maintenance history and full ownership continuity. It is accompanied by its VW bookpack, plus Cambridge-based servicing records and MOT certificates up until 1998, the last at 76,931 miles, having survived in excellent original condition, with a current MOT until May 2023.

It was purchased new in June 1988 by Hawking and subsequently used as a wedding car for his 1995 marriage to Elaine Mason (see press photo). By 1999, Hawking's condition had deteriorated, meaning a change in wheelchair was required, which was no longer compatible with the fixings in this VW. Silverstone Auctions are very privileged in being offered this vehicle directly from Hawking’s nephew (the son of Edward Hawking, Professor Hawking’s adopted brother) who inherited it from his late father in 2003. When owned by Hawking's brother, it was equally well looked after and stored in an underground carpark, only being seldom used. During the nephew’s ownership it has been regularly serviced, has covered a few thousand miles, and was professionally repainted a few years ago. For our vendor; " It has been a real dilemma as to what to do with my uncle's VW, as it's not being used and  is taking up room in a much-needed garage; the family would like a science or Professor Hawking enthusiast to be the next custodian of it, rightly appreciating it for its special connection to such an enigmatic and important British figure."

This vehicle was a very significant element to the later life of Hawking; it has a full continuity of Hawking-family ownership (having never been owned by anyone other than his close relatives), with ‘Professor Stephen Hawking’ documented on the original V5C, his disabled parking permit still in the glovebox, the Pioneer CD-player he had installed remains in situ, whilst also being such a well-known vehicle in and around Cambridge for that decade he owned it (locals knew it well and would regularly wave), plus film footage of Hawking actually in the Caravelle (which features in a recent Sky documentary ‘Can you hear me?’), making this humble VW all the more special, unique and important to collectors of items that have been owned by important figures.


Lot Number
Registration Number
E861 EBM
Chassis Number



For further information regarding this lot please contact Joseph.





Vehicles can be collected from The Wing, Silverstone Circuit, NN12 8TN, on Monday 29th August between 9am and 2pm.

Our transport partners, EM Rogers, can assist with collection and delivery. Please contact them on 01604 755511 or for a quote.

Any vehicles not collected by 2pm on Monday 29th August will be taken to EM Rogers storage facility in Northampton for a fee of £175 plus VAT. Storage will be charged at £10 plus VAT per day from Monday 29th onwards.

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