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Old October 10th, 2013, 12:17 PM
rijosho's Avatar
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1995 Black ST - Rhinolined edition
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Wow It's True! Production Is Actually Ending?!!

Oh wait, you thought this was another thread about Defenders? No, this is not another "they're actually stopping Defender production?" article. It's about the VW Bus/Type 2/T2/Kombi/Transporter/Bulli/Micro Bus/Samba Minibus/Vanagon/Caravelle/Clipper L - production is finally ending for this iconic vehicle this year, after 63 years!

Did/does anyone here own one? I had a friend in highschool who owned one, and when we'd leave swim practice we'd have to drive up this EPIC mountain on Rt. 280 West that is 1-2 miles in length that (to this day the Defender needs to be in 3rd or 4th gear to get up) he'd have to drive up on the shoulder in 2nd gear, still only reaching about 30mph MAX. He'd only make it all the way up about 60% of the time.

Long, Strange Trip Ends for a Symbol of the ’60s

For many Americans, they prompt images of hippies and surfers, or perhaps memories of wholesome camping holidays. Europeans may associate them more with the police or parcel delivery. As for their name, take your pick: Type 2, T2, Kombi, Transporter, Bulli, Micro Bus, Samba Minibus, Vanagon, Caravelle, Clipper L.

The warm feelings will no doubt be chilled by Volkswagen’s announcement that production of the much-adored rear-engine vans will shut down at the end of 2013, after 63 years.

Long gone from European and North American showrooms, the vans that were admired for their simplicity and durability, if not their reliability or speed, have continued production in Brazil, where they are called Kombis. But new safety standards in Brazil are finally forcing the end of assembly of second-generation — or as VW prefers, T2 — models.

When the assembly line shuts down, the production of rear-engine vans will total about 1.6 million units in Brazil over 56 years, on top of roughly 7.9 million built at plants in Austria, Germany, Mexico and South Africa. A special Last Edition model of 1,200 Brazilian T2s, with retro hubcaps and interior features, will see out the model.
“It’s the exclamation point, the end of an era,” said S. Lucas Valdes, the owner of GoWesty, an online parts retailer for camper vans in Los Osos, Calif.

The idea of a van based on the Beetle came from Ben Pon, whose family imported VWs to the Netherlands. On a visit to the factory in 1947, he saw a flatbed truck fashioned from a Beetle chassis being used for in-plant deliveries. His sketch of a box on wheels strongly resembled what became the T1.

The early models were inexpensive to buy and economical to run, and their squareness offered remarkable interior space relative to their overall size. The shortcomings, notably a lack of horsepower, were just as obvious.
With their large windshields and front seats positioned above and ahead of the front axle, the vans offered a somewhat unsettling driving experience.
“You feel like you’re being catapulted in front of the vehicle,” said Mr. Valdes, who owns a 1979 T2. “There’s just a little piece of sheet metal in front of you.”
Over time, variations proliferated. VW offered pickups and raised-roof models; aftermarket companies offered conversions that included hearses and roving airport traffic control towers for the Australian air force.

The era of rear-engine vans for the United States ended in 1991 when VW stopped importing the T3. While larger and more sophisticated than the first two models, even a change to a water-cooled engine did not reverse the view that the T3 was antiquated and overpriced. North Americans received the T4, or Eurovan, with a water-cooled engine up front in 1993. In 2006, the Brazilian T2s lost their air-cooled power plant, replaced by a 1.4-liter engine that required the addition of a prominent black radiator to the van’s front.

In 2001, VW displayed a Microbus design study at the Detroit auto show that combined the styling of the T2 and T1 with modern mechanical and safety features. But in the end, VW introduced the Routan, a restyled Chrysler minivan that evoked suburban driveways more than peace signs.
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Originally Posted by bjf View Post
I am talking purely from an aesthetics standpoint.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Wow I didnt even know they still made them..

I had one.. Bought it straight out of college and drove cross country to california... Well almost. It died trying to climb the mountains into Durango, CO. Still there. I think. I loved that thing even when you were getting passed by 18 wheelers going up hill like you were standing still.

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Old October 10th, 2013, 12:54 PM
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1997 D90 LE 255/300
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The original Bang Bus!
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Old October 10th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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Keith Armstrong
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We had a camper bus when I was a little tyke.

It was red / white and looked just like the one that's in the Henry Ford museum.

I must have been 3 or 4 and was pretty excited that I got a new red wagon...

Only later did I discover that Dad needed the wagon to roll the VW engine out to replace it with a Corvair engine

For the longest time Dad liked to say, "that bus is the fastest thing in town...from zero to 15mph"

It was sold sometime before we moved from Anaheim to Riverside....1963.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Wow, that is a blast from the past that brings back of fun memories. I purchased a 73 automatic in college to "flip" but quickly burned my budget not knowing the Type 4 engine of that year shared many parts with the Porsche 914. Thinking the heads and jugs were 3x more expensive than the prior iterations (but felt like 10x more when a student). Needed to stop and adjust the valve lash on the side of the highway many times too. Great party bus that was slow as a dog. Needed a running start to go up any semblance of a hill.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 02:08 PM
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97 D90 ST / 1957 S1 109/ 1983 LS110
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anyone that complains about the lack of power in a series 2.25l hasnt been behind ( or should i say hunched over) the wheel of one these things.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 03:50 PM
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Abraham Bell
1985 Defender 110 Tithonus
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I sold a 1986 Vanagon synchro for $8500 last year. Sold it so I could keep my Rover. Only about 15000 of them made.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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Jeff Payne
'83 110 3 Door
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I got passed by one in my 2.25 110
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Old October 10th, 2013, 06:40 PM
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Eric Lindstrom
1994 d-90 #1444
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I had a 1965 in the late 80's and then a 75 camper in the early 90's. I do miss em.
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Old October 10th, 2013, 09:10 PM
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Jafir Elkurd
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Originally Posted by Jpayne View Post
I got passed by one in my 2.25 110
I have yet to find anything that can't pass my 2.5NA

My sister used to have a bug with an automatic stick shift, that MIGHT be one car that was slower.

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