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April 1, 2020

Happy 70th Anniversary, Volkswagen Kombi

Known as the Volkswagen Bulli, Kombi, Type 2, or even simply the “hippy van,” the famous people carrier is celebrating its 70th anniversary. Since it rolled off the Wolfsburg production line, there have been six generations and over 13 million sold.

Revealed as a hand-built panel van prototype in 1949, the T1 eventually launched as a rear-engined panel van, passenger van, and eight-seat bus with the engine and gearbox shared with the Volkswagen Beetle. In 1951, the iconic “Samba” model was revealed with all-round windows and folding sunroof. Production moved from Wolfsburg to Hannover in 1956 while some were even produced in Brazil. By 1967, around 1.9 million people had purchased the T1 with its “splittie” windscreen, making it a global success.

With the T1 forging its name as something of a cultural icon in the “flower power” era, the successor had a lot to live up to. The T2 took the utility of the van on a step further with a new front end and air intake grille. A sliding door was now standard, and the pop-up roof camper version became an instant hit with globetrotters. During its run, 2.14 million vehicles were built at the Hannover plant although production continued until 2013 at the Volkswagen plant in Sao Paulo, breaking the record for longest production period.

In the modern era, Volkswagen also offered the T4 under its then distributor in the 1990s. Known as the Caravelle, this generation marked a technical revolution wherein it switched to a front-engine, front-wheel drive design for the first time. This enabled it to offer more engine choices and even better handling.

Now, coinciding with its anniversary, Volkswagen announced that a zero emissions version of the MPV will be launched very soon. Shown as the ID BUZZ CARGO concept, it’s said to arrive in the next few years and will join alongside the ID.3 electric hatchback and ID.4 SUV. For now, eClassics in cooperation with the German automaker, has come up with an EV conversion for the T1 and T2 generation vans. With this, it swaps its original motor for a near-silent electric motor shared with the ID.3 with double the horsepower and torque than the original. Moreover, plans are underway for VW

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