Thursday, October 9, 2008

History of the Vanagon

In April 1947, the Dutch VW broker, Ben Pon, drew a sketch of a transporter bus based on a VW beetle chassis.

Actual drawing, still inexistence, of Ben Pon'soriginal concept of the transporter bus.

The public got a first glimpse of the "Vanagon" in an article in a popular German car magazine, November 1978.The article heralded the introduction of the vanagon: The VW bus, built for over 25 years, and affectionately called ”Bulli“, (German for little bull) by the public, will be replaced this year by a modern successor. The modified and stylized mini-transporter will receive a newlydesigned body with stronger lines and more interior space. VW continues the proven concept of the rear-engine bus. Air-cooled and water-cooled engines will be offered, andmany different versions will be available.

The first vanagon left the Hannover factory in the spring of 1979. The new design included much improved passive safety.Crash tests helped with the design of crumple zones, which in thecase of a front or side impact, absorb energy. The driver and passenger are protected by an impact protection beam at knee height inside the front passenger compartment. Integrated in the doors are side impact beams.

Body reinforcements. Hidden from view, additional impact beam inside passenger compartment.
Handling has been much improved, and the vanagon is less side wind sensitive than its predecessor. The first engines: 1.6 liter 50 Hp, and a 2.0 liter 70 Hp, air-cooled.In the U.S., VW sold the mini-bus, multi-van, and campers. 1981, introduction of the 1.6 liter diesel, 50 hp.1982, introduction of the water boxer motor, with 60 and 78 hp.1985, VW considerably modifies the engines. Newly introduced, the 70 hp turbo-diesel and a 2.1 liter fuel-injected version 95 hp water boxer.

1 comment:

dan said...

good article! I had no idea where the idea of the vw camper came from... I think the new volkwagen campers are going to be sooooo cool!