If you love the old rear-engined VW campervan, Kombi or Type 2, as the first 1950 version was officially known, then there is good news. Volkswagen has finally realised what a heritage asset it has in these old vans, and is now starting to support them.
There was plenty of evidence at this week’s Essen Techno Classica show in Germany - it’s one of the biggest classic car events in the world - where VW mounted a fine display of period campervans, both of the early split window variety and its ‘bay window’ successor. Also on view was a fire-engine red - because it was in the fire service - 1958 double-cab pick-up, which VW was marking the 50th anniversary of.
What does all this mean for fans of the van? That VW will support more events like this, increase its collection of heritage vehicles, hold the odd fest for it - it had its first late last year, and was surprised at the scale of the turn-out - and, best of all, investigate remanufacturing parts.
Amazing that it’s taken so long, really. It’s 40 years since hippies, peace-lovers and travellers took to the camper van, which has been a symbol of youth, peace and freedom for almost as long. All of which underlines what a tragedy it was that VW never built a production version of its magnificent 2001 Microbus Concept car.