Volkswagen’s Classic Kombi Van Ownership – A Cult Following
Volkswagen’s classic Type 2 Van, also known as Kombi, Transporter, Bus or Camper found its way into the mainstream in 1950s and carved its own fame after the success of Volkswagen’s Type 1 Beetle.
Like its brother, the infamous Beetle, the Kombi is popular for getting dressed up and pimped up in imaginative ways. It is great in single solid colors with its emblems in contrasting hue, but it gets perkier in various hippie shades of orange, red, green, blue and yellow.
Early in 2015 in Australia, a 1960 Kombi in white and paprika red raised up to $202,000. This was of course a van full of colorful history. It was first sold abroad in 1949 before it came to Australia in 1953. It had millions other sisters delivered to the market until production halted in 2013. Stricter safety rules were the foremost reason for the ceased production.
After all, that is what many vintage cars lack – modern safety features, which are usually in digital formats or software systems. Perhaps fitting antique cars with futuristic technologies would naturally contradict their antiquity.
Although it would not hurt if the Transporter would have the basic safety features required by law such as anti-lock brakes and dual front airbags, some motorists are perhaps becoming too apprehensive about the van’s reliability and safety, especially since it is designed as a multi-passenger vehicle.
For Volkswagen, it is a losing battle. In order to meet modern safety criteria, they would have to make the Kombi “a new car” and this can only mean one thing – giving the Camper a whole new look to the point of making it unrecognizable, a surefire way to infuriate Kombi enthusiasts.
A “new look” for Kombi does not guarantee sales from converts, either. With the many van choices out there, Volkswagen cannot expect car buyers to patronize the van when there are rival brands with a hodgepodge of exciting features the Kombi does not and will not have.
Owners of remaining Kombis are sure to create a cult out of these hippie campers, and much like the rest of vintage cars, the remaining vans are sure to exchange hands within the small society of enthusiasts, and perhaps including a chosen few converts.