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Hello, people! We continue telling you about legendary automobiles. The previous time it was the VW Beetle and today it will be its successor. This time we’d like to about the Volkswagen Transporter.
The very first and the latest models of the Transporter
The VW Transporter van must be one of the world’s most recognizable vehicles and has gone on to claim a unique position in motoring history, loved by millions and taking the form of everything from a pick-up to an all singing all dancing Campervan.
The concept for the Type 2 is credited to Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon. Pon visited Wolfsburg in 1946, intending to purchase Type 1s for import to Holland, where he saw an improvised parts-mover constructed by factory workers and realized something better was possible using the stock Type 1 pan. Pon first sketched the van in a doodle, proposing a flat payload area with the engine in the rear and placing the driver at the very front.
Ben Pon’s sketch
After the Second World War there was a large demand for cheap commercial vehicles. Pon’s idea offered both a van for work and as a people carrier. Volkswagen’s chief executive officer Heinz Nordhoff approved the van for production and the first model rolled off the assembly line to debut November 12, 1949. With the introduction of the Volkswagen Bus it was the start of a new era.
The Transporter was known logically as the Type 2 as it was Volkswagen’s second vehicle following the Type 1 better known as the Beetle. Sharing many components with the VW Beetle, the first Transporters were powered by a 25Hp 1100cc Volkswagen air-cooled engine mounted in the rear. It had distinctive V shape on the front panel with a huge VW logotype and split windscreen nicknamed the Splitty.
The early versions of the T1 until 1955 were also called the Barndoor owing to the enormous rear engine cover.
Producing up to 60 vehicles every day Volkswagen soon developed itself as the leader in this segment. During the fifties the Type 2 had no competition. Under the name Type 2 they brought 5 variations on the market, from the T1 to T5. From 1950 to 1956, the first generation was produced in Wolfsburg; from 1956 it was built at the completely new Volkswagen Transporter T1 factory in Hanover. In late 1967, the second generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 (T2) was introduced. It was built in Germany until 1979. In Mexico, the Volkswagen Kombi and Panel were produced from 1970 to 1994 and to 2012 in Brazil making it the longest-running Volkswagen model.
This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split windscreen but gained the advantage of a sliding side load door instead of the outwardly hinged doors typical of cargo vans. This change arguably makes the 1963 VW the first true minivan. The year 1971 also saw exterior revisions including relocated front indicators, above the headlights, — 1972 saw square-profiled bumpers, which became standard until the end of the T2 in 1979. The ‘VW’ emblem on the front valance became slightly smaller. The most prominent change was a bigger engine compartment to fit the larger 1.7 to 2.0 litre engines from the VW Type 4 car and a redesigned rear end.
The Volkswagen Type 2 (T2)
The Volkswagen Type 2 (T3) was introduced in 1980, and was one of the last new Volkswagen platforms to use an air-cooled engine. The Volkswagen air cooled engine was phased out for a water-cooled boxer engine (still rear mounted) in 1984. It is affectionately nicknamed the Wedge due to its angular 80s styling!
The Volkswagen Type 2 (T3)
In 1990 the Volkswagen T4 was introduced to replace the T3, VW’s first front engined, front wheel drive commercial vehicle and the first Volkswagen van to officially use the ‘Transporter’ title.
The Volkswagen Type 2 (T4)
The T5 replaced the T4 in 2003 and was itself superseded by the T5.5 in 2010.
The Volkswagen Type 2 (T5)
Volkswagen offered a huge range of models and variants of the VW Transporter during its long history. Here are some of the factory combinations:
Panel van, a delivery van without side windows or rear seats. It belongs to “walk-through” models that had single passenger and driver seat, allowing you to ‘walk through’ to the rear.
Kombi, with side windows and removable rear seats, both a passenger and a cargo vehicle combined. Seats were easy to remove and the rubber floor mat made it very practical for work use.
Bus, was a windowed van with more comfortable interior reminiscent of a car. Normally 3 rows of seats, headlining all the way through, heating vents front, middle and rear.
Samba, officially called the sunroof Deluxe, was the ‘up market’ version of the Bus, offering roof windows, sliding sun roof, 2 tone paint, dash board clock upgraded interior trim.
Single Cab Pickup, seated 3 in the front. Rear flat bed load area with storage lockers underneath. Was also available with wider load bed and extended mirrors.
Crew cab pick-up, normally a 6-seat version of the pickup. Known in Germany as a Doppelkabine. Again had under bed storage.
Westfalia, also known as “Westy”, designed specially for family tourism. These came in a variety of finishes, with the option of an elevating roof. The interiors varied dependant on the year and if the vehicle was produced for European or USA / Canadian export. Most VW fans see the Westfalia camper as the ultimate conversion.
Because of the style of the Transporter VW could convert them to alternative uses, they became a variety of specialist vehicles such as, refrigerated vans, hearses, ambulances, police vans, fire engines and ladder trucks.
As well as the Beetle VW Type 2 became popular all over the world. Everybody liked it, from surfers to hippies giving rise to special bus culture. In many countries, VW vans and pick-ups are lovingly restored to their original state, and in such a way that a Car Show easily can be won with it. The restoration of a Volkswagen Microbus is not the cheapest hobby a man can choose, but it is economically justified in compare to the price of a new commercial vehicle. Many people experience a joyous feeling of nostalgia when seated in a classic Volkswagen Mini Van that’s because of its friendly character. The VW Bus became part of the family and relatives, how worn, boring or recalcitrant, this car should be cherished.
And we traditionally call your attention to our legendary car 3D models. First three generations of the Volkswagen Type 2: T1, T2, T3; the fifth generation VW Transporter and also the Brazilian VW Kombi.
Enjoy automobiles, enjoy our models…
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