The Volkswagen Transporter is a van that has evolved over six decades and forged an impressive legacy, becoming an international hit in the process.
It began life in 1950 as the VW Type 2, using the Type 1 as the grounding. While the first prototypes lacked aerodynamic designs, it was eventually perfected so that the VW Transporter was actually more efficient in this area than the Beetle.
The first generation of the Transporter remained in production for 17 years and it managed to catch the imagination of the flower power generation during the 1960s, eventually becoming a symbol of counter culture living in the US and further afield.
In 1967 the second generation of the Transporter made its debut. Aesthetically there were a number of differences, such as the removal of the split windscreen design at the front to be replaced with a single panel setup.
Engineers chose to endow the new Transporter with a 47bhp 1.6 litre engine, giving it a little more poke than its predecessor.
The popularity of the first VW van meant that it was gradually phased out rather than immediately replaced by the second generation. However, production in factories outside of Germany continued for considerably longer.
The third generation of the van was made available in 1979 and would last for a further 13 years. Unlike its precursors, this new iteration was built to be bigger and more practical, which made it heavier as a result.
The curves and bulges of the initial offerings were also out of the window, replaced instead with a more angular design which fitted in with the style of the time.
At first air cooled engines were used, but from 1983 VW began to use water cooled units in all of its vehicles.
The first time the Transporter was actually referred to as such was in 1990 when the fourth generation was unveiled and it represented the most significant update to the series so far.
The engine was moved from the rear to the front and VW made everything official, taking the 'transporter' name which had been used colloquially to refer to past generations and making it the van's signifier outright.
The most recent iteration of the Transporter was released in 2003 and remains in production to this day. While you might argue that the shift to a front engine design means that this range has lost some of its charm and become more anonymous in the process, it is difficult to question its long term influence over the motoring market.
People still maintain and even produce VW vans, with the personality of this platform being allowed to shine through thanks to enthusiasts who customise their own examples.
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