The VW Bus

December 1, 2012 | By Ted Kade

MENTION THE VW Bus and the first thought that comes to many people is an image of a boxy vehicle coated with bright psychedelic paint noisily hauling a group of bearded, bead-wearing hippies to a nearby rock concert.

And while there is some truth to that take on the venerable VW hauler, this vehicle has done much more over the years than just serve as a transport of choice for wandering flower children.

And just how useful has the VW Transporter been over the decades? Well, if you’re not that familiar with the bus, this book will serve as a good introduction to the years that would no doubt be of the most interest to restorers, including the times of the T1 (1950-67) and T2 (1967- 79). If you’re already a part of the VW microbus cult, you’ll find information of value here as well. And both veterans and newcomers will want to spend hours going over the numerous photos, many of them from the Volkswagen Auto Museum Foundation, that illustrate the vehicle’s evolution starting with the early post-war days when VW officials saw the need for a multi-use transporter and drew inspiration from the Beetle and the wartime Kubelwagen (similar to an Army jeep).

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To give you an idea of just some of the ways the T1 has been put to work, consider the photos on this page. Starting with the top right of the four vehicle images and moving clockwise, the bus is seen as a family-size hauler. Next, it’s in a very familiar setting as a camper. After that, a bus has been fitted with special wheels for railroad duty. And lastly, this“ Samba” version has an air of luxury with its special black-and-red paint job and its numerous windows that wrap around the body and even line both sides of the roof.

Once you’ve gone through the photos and text, if you find yourself ready to take on a bus project, you’ll appreciate the “Buying Advice” toward the rear of the book that will give you numerous helpful hints on what to look for—and what to avoid— when sizing up a potential purchase. —Ted Kade

Schiffer Publishing Ltd.—schifferbooks.com; ($29.99)