The history of the VW campervan is an exciting and colorful one, much like its exterior.
Known as the Transporter or Bus, Volkswagen introduced the Type 2 campervan in 1950 and was initially based around the Type 1 (known as the Beetle). The idea was perfected by Dutch VW importer Ben Pon, his first sketches for the van appeared in 1947.
The type 2, along with 1947 Citroën H Van were some of the first ‘forward control’ vans where the driver was placed above the front wheels. This in turn started a trend throughout Europe with Bedford, Commer and Morris copying the design. VW fever spread to the US with Chevrolet making use of the Type 2’s rear-engine layout in their Corvan cargo van.
Most other Volkswagen vehicles using rear engines saw the introduction of new models over time with a slow evolution is style and design. The Type 2 vans were seen as a revolution and didn’t just evolve, but were completely revised from time to time with variations in their design named as T1 through T5. The only generations of the vans to keep their similarity to their Beetle counterpart were the T1 to T3 models of the van.
The US made the campervan its own and became a huge counterculture symbol throughout the 60’s and beyond. The fact that used campervans were incredibly cheap to buy and nothing like the American made cars of the day gave to huge popularity and customization. A factor being that it could easily carry a number of people, camping gear and cooking supplies.
Some Bus enthusiasts, especially for antiwar activists of the day would remove the VW logo and paint a custom peace symbol in its place. Since then the original ’50 – ’67 models have become highly collectable. The pre-1956 barn-door vans have become a particularly sought out vehicle.