Beloved by surfers, designers and hippies alike, the VW Camper van has become an iconic design classic that looks set to run and run through future generations. From almost any angle this functional icon makes for great subject matter as wall art and stands out in the VW standard oranges, greens and baby blues of the originals or with custom chosen colours – you can have it in any colour you like and even have your own registration!
It’s utilitarian and timeless lines also belie its pensioner status – launched in 1950, it is 65 years old this year.
Officially known as the Transporter or Kombi, the Type 2 is essentially a simple panel van and was introduced in 1950 as VW’s second model based on their first – the Type 1 Beetle.
The concept for the Type 2 is credited to Dutch car importer Ben Pon. Pon first sketched the van in a doodle dated 23 April 1947 placing the driver at the very front. It was the first ‘forward control’ van in which the driver was placed above the front wheels. In the US, Chevrolet went so far as to copy the Type 2’s rear-engine layout, using a horizontally opposed, air-cooled engine for power.
The aerodynamics of the first prototypes were poor. Simple changes such as splitting the windshield and roofline into a “vee” helped the Type 2 achieve improved aerodynamics and add distinctive kerb appeal as a byproduct.
German production of the T1 stopped after 1967; however, the T1 still was made in Brazil until 1975 and even until 1996 with updates.
In late 1967, the second generation of the Type 2 (T2) was introduced. It was built in Germany until 1979.
This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split front windshield, and was slightly larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor. Its common nicknames are Breadloaf and Bay-window, or Loaf and Bay for short.
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