The VW Transporter 6: The Return of the Microbus

The Volkswagen Microbus—also known as the Volkswagen Type-2 Transporter—was a staple of the 1960s hippie counter-culture movement. Since that time, the German-crafted van has already seen five generations of overhauls on its design. Now, students in mechanic colleges excitedly await the return of the VW classic with the upcoming release of the sixth-generation Transporter.

Read on to find out a little bit more about the history of the VW Microbus, and get the details on the new sixth-generation model.

The Original Microbus

The original Type 2 Microbus was designed by Dutch businessman Ben Pon, and manufactured by German engineers at Volkswagen. Among some of the memorable features of this original design were split windshields, 15” road wheels, and “forward control”—where the driver’s seat is placed above the front wheels. Of course, there’d be many variations on this design as time went on. The Type-2 was released also as an ambulance, a delivery van with no seats, and in a “Samba” design with a sunlight and cloth roof—meant to serve as transportation for adventurers in the Alps. With all its different possible uses, it’s easy to say that the Type-2 was very popular indeed.

Although production of the T2 ended in Germany in 1967, the vehicle continued to be produced through factories in other countries. Mexico picked up production of the T2 in the 1970s, as did Brazil. Auto technicians and Volkswagen enthusiasts may know that Brazil only recently halted production of the T2 in 2013, closing the doors of the last remaining factory and saying goodbye to decades of T2 production. New vehicle safety legislation in Brazil called for new cars to have airbags and anti-lock braking systems, which weren’t included in the original T2 design.

Models Succeeding the T2

While the T2 was still in production in other parts of the world, Volkswagen began putting their efforts towards creating a better, more efficient van. The Third generation VW bus (T3) had an air-cooled engine, which was further replaced by a water-cooled engine in the 1984 model. The T4, which began production in 1990, was labelled under the term “Transporter”, and was a popular base for camper vans. 2003 saw the production of the T5—a van meant for commercial purposes and, like the T2, comes in several configurations such as a delivery van with no seats, a shuttlebus, an ambulance and more.

The All New T6 Transporter

While the T6 keeps the same boxy shape as the T5 model, there are a few new modern additions. The new Transporter will have LED headlights and rear lights, along with features such as adaptive cruise control, a heated windscreen, and a 6.6 inch infotainment system for the interior. As per usual, Volkswagen will offer several different versions of the T6, including those without back seats, designed for commercial use.

Get a sneak peek at the new T6 here:

While there’s nothing quite like the original Microbus, the T6 makes for an excellent reprisal of an old classic. And who knows, students entering an automotive career today might eventually see the re-birth of that classic T2 design. Concept cars such as the Volkswagen Bulli have already hinted that the automaker may bring an updated Microbus back to production lines sometime soon.

Do you like the look of the Transporter 6, or do you think Volkswagen should go back to the more classic-looking design?

Categories: ATC News, Cambridge
Tags: Auto technicians, automotive career, Mechanic colleges

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