KOMBI’S LONG HAUL

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Classifieds -

MARCH, 1950: Volk­swa­gen started build­ing its sec­ond ever ve­hi­cle, known in the fac­tory as the Type 2 or the “Bulli” but later to be called the Kombi.

VW has re­leased some stunning images of its iconic van that has be­come so loved in Australia that one re­cently sold for a whop­ping $202,000 at a Mel­bourne auc­tion.

Pho­tos from the Wolfs­burg plant in Ger­many show scores of just-built Kom­bis lined up.

The Kombi was sold as a pas­sen­ger van as well as a load hauler, just like the mod­ern day Trans­porter. The last ex­am­ple was built in Mex­ico on De­cem­ber 31, 2013.

Volk­swa­gen says the tally for Kombi, and the Trans­porter it mor­phed into, has now ticked over to 11 mil­lion.

Volk­swa­gen also as­sem­bled the Kombi at its Aus­tralian fac­tory in the Mel­bourne sub­urb of Clay­ton from 1964 to 1977, on a site that was later used to make Nis­sans and now hosts Holden Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles.

Most of th­ese were from CKD (com­pletely knocked down) kits although VW also made Kom­bis from mostly lo­cal parts be­tween 1959 and 1968.

The orig­i­nal de­sign came from Dutch car im­porter Ben Pon, in 1947, shortly af­ter Bee­tle pro­duc­tion started.

His idea was to cre­ate a prac­ti­cal van, tak­ing some vis­ual cues from the Bug.

It had the same sim­ple me­chan­i­cals as the Bee­tle, in­clud­ing a rear-mounted air­cooled boxer en­gine with its unique “dak-dak” sound. The orig­i­nal 1.1-litre four-cylin­der pro­duced just 18kW. Eight peo­ple could be trans­ported but if three pas­sen­ger seats were re­moved up to 750kg of gear could be hauled.

Volk­swa­gen is pre­par­ing to launch a new gen­er­a­tion of Trans­porter later this year. It will be pro­duced in Poland at VW’s Poz­nan plant as well as the Hanover fac­tory.

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