Is this the return of the Hippie Surf Mobile?
Automologist, MAC, gets nostalgic about the VW bus, which is about to make a comeback.
Some know it as the hippie van and will forever be the epitome of a surf-mobile. For others, like me, it was the first ‘car’ they drove. It brings back memories of family camping trips to the sun-kissed south of France and, of course, rainy Scotland. However, for most, it is known as the iconic ‘VW bus’, a venerable vehicle that has found recent fame and fortune with the likes of world famous chef, Jamie Oliver, who took one around Italy in a recent TV series.
When the Hippies adopted the microbus, it was because of its low cost, versatility and easy mechanics. Of course, back then, you didn’t require a degree in auto mechanics to sort it out once it went wrong. Volkswagen’s microbus has a history that spans 63 years of production, although you would be forgiven if you didn’t know that the iconic VW bus was still in production until 2013. Of course the latest versions didn’t look much like the original and production ended with a final Special Edition model.
But just a few years after officially disappearing, Volkswagen is getting back on the (micro)bus. Our favourite microbus is being given a modern makeover, complete with an all-electric variant, as is the current trend. The all-electric model is expected to have a 250 to 300-mile driving range, so the environmentally conscious won’t be able to go on road trips without suffering range anxiety. Of course, 300 miles is a good distance, but it’s not going to get you too deep into the Baja peninsula, where the surfing and lifestyle is good but the Spartan conditions may well leave you without access to charging stations. The rumour is that other models are expected, including a turbo-charged gasoline engine version modeled after the traditional VW microbus, which carries the engine in the rear. Yippee!
This is not the first time that we have shared news on the microbus revival and once again it is getting me all teary eyed and nostalgic. Don’t hold your breath, though. VW considered reviving the bus two other times since 2000, with neither coming true. Still, the German automaker will be unveiling the new microbus at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, during which they are expected to announce that production will start in 2017.
With three kids to transport around from school to football practice, I have been tempted to buy a vehicle with slightly greater accommodation, but thus far haven’t liked the offerings available. With this level of cool, though, I may well be tempted into the ‘family-van’ market for the all new Type-2.
Bottom image: thedailybeast.com