MANY A MOTORHOME lover will surely feel some sadness that time has been called on Volkswagen’s legendary T2. With the final ’vans rolling off the Brazilian production line, it’s the end of an era – so join us in a quick trip down memory lane to bid farewell to this motoring icon.
[tl:gallery index=0 size=460×308]
VW’s camper has been used by many to get out there and see the world
A panel van introduced in 1950 by Volkswagen, it was called the Type 2 because it was the second model produced by the German manufacturer. And what was the Type 1? Another legend – VW’s Beetle. Indeed early T2s derived from the Beetle.
But the T2 shared more than mere mechanicals with its sibling. Like the Beetle, it grew to become a cultural icon, a ’van that seduced many and dared them to sample the thrills and joys of a life on the road, which for some kick-started a lifelong passion.
[tl:gallery index=1 size=460×345]
The Brazilian workers bid farewell to a motoring and cultural icon
Here in the UK we know them as campers, while our friends in the US call them buses, but such is the appeal of the T2 that, like the Beetle, it’s collected many nicknames over the years. It is a measure of the affection felt for this model that ‘minibus’, ‘microbus’ and ‘combi’ are just three of the names used to describe the T2 – and many owners went one step further and named their own ’van, putting their personal stamp on it. Well, as you all know, a beloved motorhome really is another member of the family.
After over six decades touring the roads of the world, T2 production is being halted as the ’vans no longer comply with safety regulations. Inevitable? Well, maybe, yes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be sorry to see it go. I mean, who doesn’t feel a wave of nostalgia wash over them when you spot one out and about?
Furthermore, few vehicles are as inextricably linked to a specific moment in history as VW’s camper. Dubbed (pun intended) the Hippie van, it became synonymous with the counterculture of the 1960s and 70s, the gift of free travel that it gave (and still gives) its owners taken into a whole new realm.
[tl:gallery index=2 size=425×319]
One of the last carries images of workers from the Brazilian factory
Of course, there have been lots of variants and conversions, many by motorhome fans keen to make their ’vans their own and get out there and live life. All of which means that although one chapter in this model’s life is over, its story is far from told.
To mark this big moment in this campervan’s history, the workers at the Brazilian factory where the model was being built signed one ’van, while another carried images of the workers that built it. It’s clearly an emotional time for all involved, but we are quite certain that owners and enthusiasts the world over will be working hard to keep the VW camper spirit alive and well for many, many years to come.
[tl:gallery index=3 size=319×425]
The empty production line is a sad sight
Indeed, here at Practical Motorhome we’ll not stop flying the flag for this iconic ‘van. Our love for it only grew when we ran a Danbury Diamond Classic for six months a couple of years ago. Few test ‘vans have had the endearing charm and everlasting appeal of that classic, pink camper.
[tl:gallery index=4 size=460×307]
We loved running this pink Danbury Diamond Classic
And there’s still time for you to join the party and become part of history! The last batch of T2s will be arriving at Bristol based Danbury Motorcaravans after Christmas. Of these 99 ‘vans, some have already been snapped up so you’ll have to be quick.
Need to feed your nostalgia a little more? Check out our quick guide to the T2 and also get the low-down on common VW campervan problems. We’ve also got a VW T2 ‘Bay Window’ buying guide, or you can sit back, relax and enjoy this lovely video.
[tl:gallery index=5 size=460×308]
We have great memories of our time with this classic VW campervan
And don’t forget to share your stories and memories on Facebook, Twitter and our forum.
Lizzie Pope, Practical Motorhome, 23 December 2013