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VW Camper - The Story Behind The Classic Kombi Van

Posted by Gareth Dunne on

The VW Camper Van - A True Classic

Named the 'T2' by VW, the kombi camper van was volkswagen's second vehicle.  The first, the T1 was of course the Beetle.  The T2 was first introduced to the world at the Geneva Motor Show in 1949, and when it began production a year later.  At this time a mere 10 vehicles were rolling off the manufacturing line per day.  Over the next four decades VW would go on to sell over 5 million units and the basic design would remain unchanged over that time.

the story of the vw camper van- the vw camper has been a firm favourite for decades

The Summer of Love

In 1967 as the summer of love meandered through the peoples' psyche, the beloved T2 was given a make over.  With the new 'Bay' window design replacing the 'Splitty' - the camper was reborn as a more comfortable, more powerful and all round better ride.  It was about to become a cultural icon and claim a firm place in the hearts of many remaining a firm favourite for decades.

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Woodstock, California & the Cornish Coast

It played a central role in many cultural movements over the decades - wheeling hippies into Woodstock in the summer of 1969, carrying surfers and their boards up and down the Californian and Cornish coasts - bringing a touch of style, convenience and nostalgia to eager road trippers across the globe.  It's enduring appeal is demonstrated by the fact it was in continuous production in one form or another for over sixty years.

vw original split screen design- original split screen design


Style, Charm & Character

The undeniable charm and character of the much loved Volkswagen Kombi has touched many and has a special place in the hearts of thousands of VW fans.  The Camper has long been the pinnacle of VW’s offbeat motoring chic.  Today second hand models, especially with the original split windscreen design with their swooping V-shaped fronts command jaw dropping price tags.  As we move towards the 2020's it is clear the VW kombi van remains as fashionable as ever.

vw camper van design
- elegant, clever, functional design


German Engineering

The van was built with with an air-cooled engine hidden under the floor at the back.  The driver was perched over the front wheels in a commanding position and with a clear unobstructed view of the road ahead.  The large bus style steering wheel gave a functional and utilitarian appeal.  The VW kombi topped out at 97 kph, could pull a 1 ton carry load and with a rear mounted engine delivered impressive traction in even snow or sand.


VW Camper Van Evolution

In 1975 the so called "T1.5" model was introduced with a T2 style front end and big 1972 vintage taillights.  It had many of the same features of its predecessor but was given a new bay window layout.  It proved to be particularly popular with camper van and mobile home enthusiasts due to its improved camping capabilities.  In 1979 volkswagen stopped manufacturing the bay window bus and replaced it with the the ever popular T25 and the lesser endeared T4 and T5 models.  2014 marked the end of the VW Camper production run after almost 70 years.


vw kombi camper van- vw camper van by the sea


The All New Electric VW Van

The big news for VW Camper vans is that VW have announced that they are planning on bringing back the ever popular kombi as an electric version following positive feedback to its concept vehicle.  Originally unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show - the VW "I.D. Buzz" is a supercharged and version of the van.  It is a fully electrically powered and modern take of the old classic vehicle.  Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess has confirmed that the retro microbus will begin production in 2022.

the new vw camper van- the all new, all electric VW Camper van, concept model


The VW Dream Lives On

The new microbus will hit the roads in 2022 but as yet there there are no plans to create a camper version.  As reported by the BBC - VW have said that the new will be designed for and targeted at customers in Europe, North America and China. There are also plans to create a cargo version.  The door of the new microbus will open with the wave of a hand and it will have electric motors at both ends of the vehicle.  It will host generous interior space making it ideal for bespoke conversions into a camper van.  It will come complete with seats for eight and162 cubic feet of inside space when the seats are removed or folded flat.  Like the original, it will have a front boot too.  The spirit of the 60s is alive and well after all.

vw id buzz microbus- VW id Buzz by the Beach, a new generation of vans


The VW Camper Love Affair Continues

The much loved volkswagen camper van has been with us for a very long time - since the end of the second world war.  This iconic vehicle has been evolved many times over the decades in new models - but the basic concept and design has remained the same over the decades.  It's success was founded on its clever, elegant design and functionality - but also on its charm, character and unique appeal that found its way into our hearts.  Although the original is no longer in production - the vw camperclassics will soon be joined by the new id buzz micro bus.  Side by side these vans will be with us and bringing smiles to our faces for many years to come.

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5 comments

  • The new design is nice. They were brave to try some new lines and it looks great.

    verona on
  • How can I win one its on my bucket list as I have a new beetle cyber green and I love it.me and my old friend Maurice would love to road test one around Scotland.

    Eddie Connell on
  • I want a VW Camper!! :D :)

    alicia on
  • An Electric Camper Van. It sounds like something I just can’t imagine. But it will be exciting to see it if and when it arrives.

    Phillip on
  • “2014 marked the end of the VW Camper production run after almost 70 years”??? Untrue: Volkswagen still converts Transporters (T6 already) into campervans.

    Willem on

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