A bit of good news from VW is the Van is returning in 2017. While we wait here’s a collection of unusual photos of the classic bus from across the years.
Whatever you prefer to call it, the Type 2, VW Bus, Kombi, Microbus or whatever, its history doesn’t begin in Germany, but in The Netherlands. The Dutch Volkswagen distributor wanted another product to sell and thought a small van that could be configured as a light-duty cargo hauler to a people carrier would do the trick.
So he sketched out his idea and handed it off to Volkswagen who saw the value in his concept. Backlogs of orders for the Type 1 kept the Type 2 from production for a few years, but then VW moved quickly.
The very first production Type 2 was completed at the Wolfsburg plant on November 12, 1949. The final Type 2 was built in Brazil in December 31, 2013! That’s a run of over 64 years. Only a vehicle so loved by owners and fans could possibly have last so long, despite its shortcomings.
Dutch VW importer Ben Pon’s concept sketch of what would become the Type 2
Type 2 unibodies on the assembly line
Engines and transmission installtion at the Wolfsburg factory
A brochure cutaway of a Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus
Just about every version of VW Type 2 seems to be parked in this lot
Detail shots of a Type 2 ambulance
Type 2 pulling a trailered Porsche 906 (also called the Carrera 6) from a British sports car dealership
Camping, 1960 style, in a VW Type 2
A Type 2 police van from Switzerland with all its contents on display
Early traffic radar mounted in a Type 2 van
Porsche Type 2 support van from the 1960s – if only it could talk!
In 1970 American racer Pete Lovely bought a year-old Lotus 49 from the factory and entered it in 4 European Grands Prix, carrying it from race to race on his Type 2.
VW Type 2 shuttle van as used by Disneyland (check out the old school phone number on the driver’s door)
An nicely restored Type 2 Westy would put anyone in the mood for camping
The Type 2 was adopted by the Hippy Generation in the 1960s. You can’t get much more Flower Power than this one.
Unless, of course, it’s the original Woodstock Type 2
Talk about being brand loyal – a Type 1 race car hauled by a Type 2
It seems that even vintage Type 2s are immune from the food truck trend
If the owner of this Volkswagen Rat Rodded Type 2 goes much further, he might find his ride has been towed away for being abandoned
Not the kind of behavior you’d expect from an Englishman, but this one stuffed a Viper V10 into the bed of his Type 2. Nail the Gas and Carry On.
One of the last 600 VW Type 2s built. With new safety laws that came into effect in 2014, Volkswagen halted production at the end of 2013, it being cost-prohibitive to update the Type 2. 99 of the final Type 2s were outfitted as campers and shipped to a tour company in England.
Finally, here’s a brief video created by Volkswagen as a fond farewell to the Type 2 or “Kombi” as it’s called here: