November 06, 2014 @ 11:08 PM

Legends and Legacies: Volkswagen Type 2 (Camper)

Throwback to the 1950s, we revisit one of VW’s most iconic cars: the Volkswagen Type 2. By Jerrica Leong

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Throwback to the 1950s, we revisit one of VW’s most iconic cars: the Volkswagen Type 2. By Jerrica Leong
I know this van as the hippie van because the Type 2 will always make an appearance in movies about the hippie culture. Example? Forest Gump. VW still builds this Type 2 to this day in the form of the VW Transporter but the van bares very little resemblance to that iconic hippie van look, so you might have missed it on the road if you’re wondering.

VW had intended this van as a utility van when they first created it. There was a boom in new businesses after WW II bringing a huge demand for commercial vehicles and the Type 2 was to serve that demand. But it wasn’t long before VW realised that there was a demand to fit the van with back seats, and behold the Camper is born.

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Built around a modified platform of the Type 1, known to us as the Beetle, the Type 2 has an acceleration of a snail and is neither very comfortable nor economical but it did not stop this van from being the best selling of its class back then. A fun fact about the Type 2 is that the commercial van is more aerodynamically designed than its chassis donor despite its bread loaf shape.

The first version of the Type 2 was known as “Splitties” thanks to the split-window windscreen. These Splitties had various styles of interior layout and luxury to a degree. Power comes from a special low-powered air-cooled rear engine that many historians argue is the unique selling point of the van.

Regardless, this van was immediately taken in by the counter culture as the must-have fashion accessories for living out the hippie dream. Hence the definite appearance in hippie culture movies. The Camper was perfect for living in back in the hippie era thanks to the long loaf shape design. Other than the counter culture, the world’s attraction to the Type 2 is thanks to the easy drivability with excellent all around visibility and easy steering as well.

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The Type 2 has acquired so many nicknames that it is tough to list them all, to name a few would be “kombi”, “westie”. “splittie” and “hippie van/bus”. It is also commonly referred to as “microbus”.

VW's Type 2 “Splittie” took over the world with its unique design and easy drivability for close to two decades. The van is the first ever MPV the world has ever known. It was seen as a fashion icon back in its days, it still is till this day, don’t you think?

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