Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
The Type 2 Volkswagen, or "bus" was
born in 1950. It was designed as a spartan vehicle
for new businesses starting up after the second world
war. The earliest buses didn't even have a rear window
Originally, the bus was to be built on the Beetle chassis,
but it proved too weak for the larger bus. A new chassis was designed specifically for it.
buses built before 1956 are called "barndoors" because
of their large rear engine lid. Soon after its introduction,
there seemed to be a market for a more luxurious, passenger-friendly
Type 2, and so the variations began.
The base-model, no frills bus was the panel van, made
for businesses. It had no windows down the sides of
it, and no upholstery was available for the cargo area.
The next bus on the hierarchy was the "Kombi."
This was a bus with three windows down each side. It was
designed to carry people and/or cargo, hence the name.
Removable, crude rear seats were optional for the back.
The next bus was the Microbus. It usually had the same
window configuration as the Kombi, but was a step higher
It was not designed for cargo transport; nicely upholstered
seats throughout the vehicle and matching interior panels
and a cloth or vinyl headliner were standard. It also
came from the factory with chromed hubcaps and two-tone
Top of the range was the Deluxe Microbus. Here, the number
of windows and the variations available were immense.
You could get the three windows down each side, four windows
down each side, or even five with a curved plexiglass
Four "skylight" windows on each side above the regular
ones were a popular option. The Deluxes usually had
sunroofs; infact, it is extremely rare to find one
without one. These automobiles also had a fancy chrome
strip between the upper and lower sections. The Type 2, or Transporter line was not limited to these
busses. A single cab and double cab pickup were made.
A special highroof panel van was made for cumbersome loads.
There were many ambulance and firetruck conversions as
well. There was a double door bus, with dual loading doors
on both sides. All of these variations, plus the differences
in window configurations makes for a seemingly infinite
number of different busses.
It should be noted that a company called Binz began making
double cab Type 2s in 1953, a few years before VW did.
Apparently, a single cab didn't fit a certain customer's
needs, so he took it to this coachbuilding company to
convert it for him.
They thought this was a good idea to market, and thus
Binz began producing them. They would do the conversion,
upholster their own rear seat, and paint the car (as they
got them from VW primed) and sell it for about US$1800,
$300 more than a standard single cab.