The legendary VW Kombi is with no doubt the most famous van in the world. This versatile box on wheels still serves as a business workhorse for a lot of people around the world and carries families, hippies, surfers and many travelers around our beloved planet on their epic journey in their VW camper vans. In fact, the first camper van travel from Germany down to South Africa was done by Erna and Helmut Blenck with the first Westfalia camper van conversion back in the 1950's.
The last of these nostalgic vans were produced in Brazil and in 2013 Volkswagen pulled the plug after more than 60 years of production, due to new safety regulations. It would be too
expensive and time consuming adding the anti-lock brakes, air-bags and emissions modifications on a van that old. So they say.
A "limited edition" with a paint job from the 1960's was proposed for the end of production collectors item. You're lucky if you grabbed one yourself But a legend that cool and original, will be kept alive for a long time in the future for sure.
This van has many other "nick-names" beside the "Kombi". It's also known as the VW bus, hippie van, Volkswagen camper and the Westy just to name a few. I guess it kind of depends on the version and the conversion of the van itself.
However, I wouldn't jump to a conclusion that the VW Kombi ceased to exist. The name Kombi is still used for the latest and modern version of the van in South Africa and probably in some other countries as well. In Slovenia, the country that I come from, the phrase kombi is used for all types of vans in general. It's simply an abbreviation for the phrase combined-vehicle.
At the time writing, the Kombi's successor drives the roads in it's 5th edition. This is a modern and state of the art vehicle praised by many. It's the best selling mid-size van in Europe and around the world. I own a 2002 T4 or the Eurovan and the latest T5 version and to say the truth, both merit all the fame they have.
Ben Pon was a Dutch Volkswagen importer back in the 1940's. Visiting the German factory in Wolfsburg, he saw the improvised factory part carrier, moving around vital parts for the assembly of the type 1, or the early VW beetle.
To make the story short, Ben drew a couple of sketches based on the platform, a few prototypes were made to get things right and a few years later the Kombi was finally in full production and on the road. The first van in our history, to say so.
Little did he know that a legend was being born at the time. This van not only served as a small cargo carrier, but it also made a great passenger van and later on, a legendary camper. The versatility of this three-in-one concept has never been surpassed by any other vehicle.
The epic Westfalia camper was born soon after the official introduction of the van. Two different stories exist about who first wanted the van with a bed, storage room and a kitchen unit. It doesn't really matter which one is authentic, as both of them involve individuals that had foreseen the potential for a brand new adventure.
And so it was and still is even today. The Volkswagen Westfalia pop top roof concept has been copied and praised by many over the years. It's simply the most adventurous and versatile camper on the road.
The Kombi based vans and campers are with no doubt, living legends. No vehicle on earth has so many dedicated enthusiasts keeping them alive. May that be you as an individual, or one of the many garages and shops fixing and selling spare parts.
The American Go Westy and the British Just Campers are taking care of them on a global scale. And the German Reimo started their business converting this vans decades ago.
If you're looking for a brand new Baywindow camper with a modern water-cooled engine that runs on bio-fuel or unleaded gasoline, Danbury camper vans has new and used models available on stock. What they do is convert Brazilian made Volkswagen vans in cool looking
campers with a pop top roof. Not cheap, but here's where you get the best of the old style and modern machinery.
I have every reason to believe at the above title. The VW kombi is the most versatile van ever made. No matter which edition you praise for. A vintage classic or state of the art technology. Down the line it's all about what fits you best. Both of them? Sure, why not?
While the later models, such as the "Splity" and the Bay" rise the attention to you and the public as affectionate images of the past and the "the now", the newer vans are here and present. They're the legitimate successors of the VW Kombi, and in some countries, they proudly carry on the same name.
It's not as cheap as it used to be, and it might not have the nostalgic looks, but all generations of the kombi always have been and still are, more than ever, a sturdy workhorse for millions of people that drive it on daily bases around the world.
The numbers say it all, family vehicle, business or camper vans. Just recently, Volkswagen has sold 50,000 California campers based on the T5 platform! That's hard to beat. The versatility stays, while state of the art quality improves on a large and lasting scale.
To finish off this story, a loving farewell from Camper Van Fun to the greatest and most amazing vehicle on the road that has been around for more than 60 years. You sure know how to put a smile on a face and fill our hearts with pure love and joy VW Kombi! Thank you so much for making this world a happier place to be...Best wishes dear old friend...