On the 8th March 1950, the Volkswagen Type 2 – more commonly known as the ‘transporter’, the ‘bus’ or the ‘camper’ – went into production at the company’s Wolfsburg factory. The VW transporter went on to become an iconic vehicle, closely associated with 1960s counterculture movement in the United States.
Volkswagen was founded in 1937 under the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, and operated by the German Labour Front. Austrian-born engineer Ferdinand Porsche was called in to design a mass-produced “people’s car” that would be affordable to most people, although large-scale production of what we now call the Beetle didn’t begin until after the Second World War when the factory was placed under the control of British Army officer Major Ivan Hirst.
Volkswagen began to develop the Type 2 after Ben Pon, a Dutch businessman who imported Volkswagon cars into the Netherlands, produced a sketch of a proposed van. The final design was approved on the 29th May 1949 but, due to the factory already running at capacity to turn out the increasingly popular Type 1 Beetle car, production didn’t start until March the next year.
The Type 2 finally debuted on the 12th November, and by the end of its first year over nine and a half thousand vehicles had rolled off the production line. Having got over the initial concerns of its Nazi roots, the hippie movement in the United States adopted the Type 2 and made it an icon of the 1960s. The Type 2 continued to be produced until the 31st December 2013, when the last one rolled out of the Volkswagen factory in Brazil.