VW vans through the years

By Elena Price

The VW Transporter is a piece of motoring history treasured by many. It has come in numerous shapes, sizes and models throughout the years and is a piece of legendary automobile history.


The VW van is a car of legendary status. The van is possibly most well known for the integral part it played in the hippy movement. However, its roots are older and more disparate than that and its buds are still prevalent in modern motoring.

The initial VW van began production in 1950 in Wolfsburg in Germany and was known as the Type 2 or Transporter, though ideas for a similar sort of vehicle had their origins in the 1920s.

The official name of the van was the Transporter; though this is the general name and the car has come in a number of variants, the T1 is the best known model of Transporter of all and an ever popular used van.

The T1 began production in March 1950 and came with an 1100cc engine and split windscreen, the exact same as the engine in the infamous VW Beetle and is known as the T1a. This engine was changed in 1955 for a larger 1200cc version, however it was considered troublesome and was discontinued in 1959; when VW recalled all models and fitted a new engine.

No parts were made for this engine afterwards though some real survivors still exist – amazing considering no new parts was made since 1959. Since the early 1990s this model has been known as the T1b. www.brinse.com

A heavy duty transporter was introduced in 1963 and had a load capacity of one tonne instead of the older version 750kg. Another new update took place the year after in 1964, this increased engine size to 1500cc.

German production of the T1 stopped in 1967, though continued in pockets of the world until1975. In Brazil a model that had a modified front end and tail lights, known as the T1.5 was produced until 1996. http://www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/company/volkswagen-heritage/

The second version of the VW Transporter, the T2 was introduced in 1967. One of the most notable things about this model was the loss of the split screen. This model is divided into two types the T2a or T2b.

The T2b was introduced by a gradual change over three years and came about around 1971. Initially manufactured in America and Europe, the car was then made in countries in South America, where it is still made to the present day. Though after numerous electrical, aesthetic and engine changes production stopped in America and Europe by 1979. http://www.limebug.net/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=432

The VW T3 was introduced in 1980, also known as the wedge it was one of the last versions of the van to include a air cooled engine. It was replaced with a liquid cooled engine by 1984. Most notably this version of the van is squarer and heavier. http://www.crowood.com/details.asp?isbn=0000000000000

The VW T4 was introduced in 1990. This front engine, front wheel drive van was the first to use the name the Transporter on its body and is far larger than previous models. It is known as the EuroVan in America. www.club80-90syncro.co.uk/…/_THE%20SYNCRO%20STORY.htm

The latest version of the Transporter the T5 was introduced in 2003, though not sold in America the van has sold over 0ne million models by 2009. Now that’s vantastic!

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