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Driven

Volkswagen ID. Buzz

1 month ago

Writer:

Andrew English | Journalist

Date:

6 September 2022

VW’s legendary Transporter/Microbus/Camper was first sketched by Dutch importer, Ben Pon, in April 1947. Confusingly it was known as the Type 2, the Beetle having been the Type 1. He was inspired by a Wolfsburg factory runabout known as Plattenwagen, developed under the direction of Major Ivan Hirst of the Royal Engineers who had done so much to save VW after the war and Heinz Nordhoff, VW’s first chief executive.

Vehicle development was a speedy old game in those postwar days, and the Type 2 went on sale 1950, providing the nascent VW with a much-needed additional income stream. A historical footnote to this is that Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the famed Mercedes-Benz competitions manager, might have been in charge of development of the Type 2 had he not been so confident of the phoenix-like post-war rise of his old company.

Wow, what a 73-year story that veedub van has had. Through at least three generations it provided transport for the Beach Boys, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and the Flower-Power generation. It was the bus in which we all tripped off to San José, or even Newquay, and the camper in which we didn’t inhale and met that girl or boy, before it broke down on the way to Scarborough, or was that Seattle, or Sydney? You can still see much-loved originals bravely panting their way down to sea-side resorts in the summer. The Mk2 Bay Window version, with a water-cooled Polo engine, was still in production up to 2014 in Brazil.

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