(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)
- Published: Thursday, 30 May 2013 09:26
VW Bus, van, splitty
The Volkswagen Camper idea
This german vehicle is as common today as it was when it was launched at the end of World War II, with today many versions of the VW camper being restored back to original spec.
During WW2 the Wolfsberg factory was taken over by the British, to ensure the German engineers could no longer manufacture weapons and vehicles for their armed forces. The Volkswagen factory ran extremely well before and after the conflict, however it had a glitch which meant production suffered in the early years. The German car plant needed to transport parts from one side of the factory to the other anightmare for engineers and mechanics,however this was solved by stripping down a couple of Beetle cars and loading them and ferrying the parts from one side to the other, essentially turning them into transporters.
In 1947 an importer from the Netherlands Ben Pon an importer sketched a picture bearing a striking resemblance to the Beetle based van from Wolfsberg. Two years later a similar vehicle to the sketch was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, people were amazed and in essence were seeing an early version of the camper, they immediately drew the conclusion it was a horse and cart with mechanics.
The first VW camper van was born from this concept. This idea started life as a box on wheels, a170 cubic ft box built over a four wheeled chassis. Over the coming five years 90 versions were released everything from delivery to ice cream vans, around 50 were purely for delivery purposes ranging from mobile milking machines to milk floats & mobile veterinaries.
The emergency services even jumped on the band wagon Police, fire, ambulances all camper based.
When these unique vehicles were released in the USA around the mid 1950's, they flew. The camper was a real home from home it came with a sink & large living space. By 1963 US citizens had bought well over 150,000 campers.
Spilt window (Splitty), Samba and Bay
The splitty shortened from Split window was the first camper released. This van is one of the most desired vehicles today in the vintage volkswagen market and sells from anything upto £25,000 restored. The Split ceased production in 1967 and was replaced by the Bay, this van was quite different to its predecessor, many refinements were added however the characteristic split windows disappeared to make room for winders, on the plus side the top speed was increased to 80 mph.
VW Bay camper ad
The Bay bus made the simple camper van a 1975 icon, The Hanover factory in Germany manufactured over 4,000,000 models, this spurred a range of engine sizes from the 1600 and 2000 cc all air cooled like the supercar manufacturer Porsche.
VW believed in the Bus Camper with such conviction that they offered a Gold watch to any driver who managed to get their bay campers over 100,000 miles, this turned out to be a bad idea, as over 160,000 watches were given to drivers due to it' s proven continual reliability. In 1979 production ceased and the T25 replaced it, even now it is still manufactured in South America along with the Citi Golf.
Over 5 000 000 VW were campers made and still are seen cruising all over the world, owners vary from surfers to enthusiasts even tradesmen.pa friends -
Latest VW news
Dutch tuning and styling
(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)
- Published: Thursday, 30 May 2013 09:24
The Volkswagen Golf Mk2
A2 / Typ 19E / 1G, 1983–1992 - As good as the Mk1
The VW Mk2 Golf was introduced in 1983 in Europe (In the US 1985 as the Rabbit) as a direct replacement for the infamous Mk1. The second mark has a larger body, a more modern interior including a bigger dashboard and the addition of MFA and electric windows to mention a few. The new model came with new styling including arches and sill covers in addition there was a wide range of different body and engine options, ranging from a 5 door 1.4 model to the flaired arched Rallye with a 16V 1.8 supercharged engine.
The Mk2 came in a range of models from the 1.2 GL to the G60, the GTI was by far the most popular, even this model was available with either a DOHC 1.8 litre 16-valve or an 8V 1.8 engine. This car runs a Bosch fuel injection system the same as many other modern cars of that time e.g. Escort XR3i. As with all performance cars there is always a 'warm hatch' the Golf Driver. This was released 1988, it came with the GTI styling inside and out, which was basicallyt a twin headlamp grille, wheelarchs, the main difference was the 1.6 engine. The final years of production for the Driver meant it was treated to a carburetted 1781 cc engine.
16V Mk2 Golf GTI 1991 | H Plate
However it seemed the GTi wasn't fast enough for all, therefore Volkswagen decided to produce a flagship Golf, The Rallye and G60 both basically the same, supercharged with either 2wd or 4wd options. The Rallye was a racing variant, it came with a racing interior, cloth or leather sports buckets, fabricated wide arches at the front and rear, rectangular headlamps with a smaller grille, streamlined bumpers with a unique style. Only 5000 were ever manufactured all left hand drive and hand built in Belgium between 1989 and 1990 to a preset rally specification. These cars were £20,000 when they were released, but for 20 grand you got All wheel drive, a supercharged 1800 double overhead cam engine with ABS braking discs all round and on 205 rubber.
The G60 was subtler version still same setup but much more tame looking it had a few tell tale signs it came with a wider version of the plastic GTI arch. The two cars also came with specialist wheels. There was also a handful of handmade limited edition each one these autos was engineered and tuned by an elite team at the Volkswagen Motorsport division. The car ran a supercharged 16V GTI DOHC engine combined with a sports gearbox and all wheel drive Synchro.
71 Limited edition Black Golf G60's exist all with four doors except two extremely rare three door models, these were fitted with a slimmer rectangle headlight grille & a blue surround (red symbolised a GTI) with motorsport logos, these two G60 autos were air conditioned, and came witha unique number and plaque.
One of these motors would have cost you £25,000, these Golfs were mainly sold to Volkswagen & Audi executives and other VAG management, these cars were capable of producing 212 bhp, the most powerful until the MKV Golf R32 was unleashed in 2003.
Diesel & GTD
The new Mk2 Golf was even available in a diesel and turbo diesel engine options. The one that shot to fame was the Golf GTD, basically a diesel powered GTI.
VW had all bases covered they released a model called the Golf Country, an off-road variant ideal for farmers. The Country cam with, four wheel drive , lengthened suspension travel, bullbars, skidplate with external spare wheel. In the EU the Golf Country came with either a 75 BHP 1.6 GTD engine or a 114 bhp 1.8 8v petrol. It was a common site in many Alpine regions around Europe.
Styling over time
The Mk2 Golf had facelift after facelift . The first major one was the addition "Big Bumpers" in 1989 onwards in European markets. A deeper and larger bumper, colour coded on the bottom and black at the top. The quarter panel window was also disposed of, making the glass one piece. The grill slats were also made larger and lessened after 1987. Other extras included power steering, electric windows, pop out rear windows, smoked indicators & lenses and Jetta lights were used in the US on the Rabbit.
The Golf GTI won Motor Trend's car of the year 1985, and was awarded VW Vortex's "Best Golf of all time".
However overall Mk2 failed to achieve its goal, this was to imitate the same presence of the Mk1, it had already lost its audience to the French Peugeot 205. However this hard should have never been made to attempt to replace the Mark1 , its a real car in its own right.
"Changes" Volkswagen advertising campaign
The 1987 British advertisement "Changes" starring Paula Hamilton, who happened to bear a striking resemblance to the late Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. It was supposed to strategise the shock tactic, it worked like a dream this combined with " If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen". This make the Mk2 Golf and overnight success.
The ad by Volkswagen shows a lady looking similar to Di leaving her house posting her wedding ring through her letter box ,ripping off her pearl necklace and throwing a mink coat then throwing her keys to at her cat awww, then she hovers over a drain with her Golf Mk2 keys, then decides no and gets in and drives off, then the slogan appears.pa friends -
Latest VW news
Dutch tuning & styling