Steve reviews the worlds most iconic van on its 70th anniversary..... The Volkswagen Transporter.
Just like the Volkswagen Beetle, the Transporter is just as famous worldwide and a true symbol of Volkswagen and recognised as a cult vehicle thanks to its involvement in the hippy movement and memories created over numerous generations for its use in holidays. Currently on is 6th version and 7th on the way, Steve takes a look at all generations of Transporter.
The first generation Transporter made its debut in 1950 and was a revolution being flat fronted and rear engined. Available in van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper they all were fitted with aircooled 4 cylinder engines and 4 speed manual gearboxes. Affectionately known as the splitty due to the split windscreen, they were manufactured in Europe between 1950-1967 but lived on in South American/African markets into the 1970s. They are now a true motoring icon and prices are rising.
Released in 1968 as a direct replacement to the T1 the second generation built on the reputation of its predecessor and was to become known as the bay window, again thanks to its windscreen design. Just like the T1 the T2 was also fitted with aircooled engines and 4 speed gearboxes and were also available as van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper. Despite production ending in 1979, the design lived on in South America up to 2015.
The T25 was the last rear ended Transporter but compared to the previous generations the windscreen was raked but was also available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus) and camper. Initially offered with a 1.6 or 2.0 litre aircooled engine, the world had moved on and the Transporter need to as well. As such the T25 was the first Transporter to be fitted with watercooled engines both in petrol and diesel form known as wasserboxers as they were watercooled flatfour configuration. Despite production ending in 1992, the design lived on in South Africa for another decade and ceasing production in 2002.
Released in 1990 the T4 was a revelation and a shock to Transporter fans, thanks to it being the first generation to be front engined. This helped boost space and flexibility for the Transporter which just like all previous versions came as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and as a chassis cab. It was also the first Transporter to be available in two wheelbases, either short wheel base or long wheel base. The T4 was available with a multitude of petrol and diesel engines which became renowned for their reliability and built between 1990-2004.
The second front engined version, the T5 again grew in size over its predecessor and was available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and chassis cab which allowed it to be used as tipper, recovery truck of flatbed. It is also available as a short wheel base, long wheel base and short or high roof. The T4 was available with a multitude of petrol and diesel engines which ranged from 1.9 to 3.2 litres and built between 2003-2016.
This is the current generation, released in 2016 and follows on from its T5 predecessor in terms of appearance and chassis design but benefits from new engines and major interior improvements/redesign. Just like the T5 the current model is also available as a van, pickup, crewcab, minibus (microbus), camper and chassis cab which allowed it to be used as tipper, recovery truck of flatbed. It is also available as a short wheel base, long wheel base and short or high roof.
T7 - The Future
Volkswagen have announced the T7 Transporter, also known as the ID Buzz will hark back to its routes by being flat fronted and is achieved thanks to being the first Transporter to be powered only by electricity. It will be available as a van and minibus but I suspect other body variants will be offered. It will also come with the next generation autonomous driving technology.
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