The VW Bus is easily one of the top 5 most iconic cars in the world, if not the most recognizable car on Earth. Some know it as the VW Camper while some know it as the Type 2. Its fame stretches all across the world and it has been around longer than most people’s grandparents.
With over six and a half decades of production up until 2014, the vehicle has seen a number of changes, yet still remains loved by enthusiasts everywhere. Just what makes the VW Bus so incredibly iconic?
The History of the VW Bus
The VW Bus went into production during 1947 in a massive VW factory smack-dab in the center of Berlin, Germany. At the time, the company had been using stripped-down Beetles to move parts. Ben Pon, a VW employee of the time, came up with the Bus as an ideal alternative to move higher quantities of parts more efficiently. The very first prototype of the van was known as the “Type 29”, though it wasn’t until 1949 that the first iteration came to be.
Technology and Innovations of the VW Bus – The World’s Most Iconic Box
The T6, or sixth generation VW Bus, was released in 2015 and is currently in production. It utilizes a Euro 6 diesel engine with AdBlue power plants. The tailgate and nose have been updated from previous iterations to give the VW Bus a more modern-look. The ride has been refined for smoother drives, better handling, and quieter operation.
Beyond the current model, there is an electric model that is set to release in 2022, known as the Microbus. It has an anticipated 369 hp, fully electric motor, as well as a vintage look that is very similar to the ‘60s models.
A Timeline of the VW Bus
- VW Bus – First Generation T1 (1950-1967)
The first generation VW Bus came with a split-screen window and was available in a number of configurations from 4-5 door panel vans to 3-door crew cab pickups. It was built on a Group T1 platform and utilized a 1.1L B4 petrol engine. During this time, many other models were released, including the Sunroof Deluxe (Samba) and the US Chicken War.
- VW Bus – Second Generation T2 (1967-1979)
The second generation VW Bus lost the split-screen windshield and grew a bit in size, making it heavier than the first iteration. It came in an array of configurations from a 4-door panel van to a 2-door pickup and utilized a base 1.6L B4 petrol engine. Some upgrades included the iconic bay window, dual intake ports in 1971, the pancake engine in 1972, and square-profiled bumpers up until the end of ‘79.
- VW Bus – Third Generation T3 (1979-1992)
The third generation was the last to use an air-cooled engine, as the VW Bus eventually use water-cooled boxer engines. It was similar to the early Kombi models in terms of design, though was much heavier than the T2.
- VW Bus – Fourth Generation T4 (1990-2003)
The fourth generation VW Bus saw an entirely different marketing scheme, as they were then known as Eurovans in the US and Transporters in Europe. The cars were now front-engined and water-cooled, like most current cars on the market at the time.
- VW Bus – Fifth Generation T5 (2003-2015)
The fifth generation VW Bus was marketed as a “lightweight commercial vehicle”, made to move larger groups of people. It was made with a more aerodynamic body design, including the angled windshield. The T5 GP introduced a 180 bi-turbo range topper for cleaner engine use in 2010.
- VW Bus – Sixth Generation T6 (2015-Present)
The sixth generation VW Buys utilize non-AdBlue power-plants, as well as a Euro 6 diesel engine with AdBlue. The design is pretty reminiscent of the T5 with a few cosmetic upgrades, as well as upgrades in handling and noise.
The VW Bus In the News
Volkswagen have just released concept versions of the new electric VW Bus that is set to release in 2022. What we know so far is that it is set to include a number of high-tech features, including biometric identification and a holographic infotainment system.
Celebrity Endorsements of the VW Bus
The list of celebrities that are VW bus owners seems to go on and on. One famous recent story is from Daniel Norris, the famed Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, who says he just bought a VW Bus and intends to live out of it.
Other famous celebrities that are VW bus owners include Robert Daltry of the Who, stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias, and Hugh Jackman.
Best VW Bus Groups
There are a wide variety of VW clubs around the world, from local meet ups to online clubs. One of our favorites is The Samba, which hosts thousands of VW Bus members. VW Camper Family is a great family-oriented club for VW Bus owners.
If you’re looking for VW clubs and groups in your area, we recommend checking out Camper Van Crazy. They have links and information for regional VW Bus groups around the world.
The VW Bus – The Ever-Lasting Vehicle
It seems as though it’s been almost a century since the first inception of the VW Bus. To be honest, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was around for a century more, especially considering the fact that the new electric vehicle is just around the corner.
While it was never meant to be fast like the huge lot of supercars out there, it provided peace and tranquility for many people. It provided a way to travel along coastlines, camp in large forests, and take trips with large groups of friends or family. Not only is it an iconic piece of American history, but it is also an iconic piece of world history. It will be a long time before the VW Bus goes out of style, if it ever does.