Tuesday, December 31, 2013


VW camper vans: old VW camper van parked near harbour
VW Kombi Type 2: Mersea Island, Essex (Credit)

There is hardly anyone in my generation or any other before that who does not have a story - or at least a memory - of the VW Kombi Type 2.

If you pay attention to such things you will know that the last Kombi Type 2 to roll off an assembly line did so this year in Brazil: sixty-three years after it appeared at the Geneva show as a new model.

Here in the land of the delusional production or importation stopped somewhere in the early to mid 80s is my guess but from time to time you will still see one on the streets.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a restored split screen Kombi driving in the dust bowl and it brought a big 'ol smile to my grill.

If you have forgotten what one looks like it looks so:


I have fond memories from my early teenage years when my parents took my sister and I on a vacation to Lesotho in a bright red Kombi.  They were slow and noisy but for some reason it felt comfortable with big bench seats and room to move about and stretch your legs.

Driving a Kombi was no pleasure with its big steering wheel.  My dad remained weary of them for most of the time that he ran his used car business.

"They don't take much to roll over," he would warn anyone considering buying one for family duty.

And yet like the VW Beetle the Kombi is a motoring icon and symbol of an earlier time of innocence and for some freedom - hippies included of course.

For me they just a cool reminder of when automobiles had character and unique style.

Who could confuse a Kombi for anything but a VW?

Today autos all look alike to me for the most part.  Though I just recently read that the 2015 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 will make its way to the delusional as a right wheel drive for the first time in its 50 year history.

 2015 Ford Mustang (Credit)

Sweet huh if even a little too Euro looking in style.  I guess now that Ford is re-making Mustang into a global brand there was a little worry that it must appeal to drivers in Europe.

I find that somewhat strange because folks who are drawn to Mustangs are drawn exactly because it is brash and brutish in an American sort of way.  That is why enthusiasts and collectors will pay BMW money for a car that often does duty in college students' parking lots in the US.

But who wants to be driving a V8 in these times of ecological collapse?  It would be irresponsible, no?

Maybe I will just go around the block once or twice if I ever get close to one here in the delusional.

AnyHowze see this little trip down memory lane that brought on this post: "VW camper van: farewell to the symbol of 60s freedom" (Guardian: December 30).

Also see more Kombi pictures here.

I guess this post is also a way of saying farewell to 2013 and hello to 2014.

Geez I hope 2014 brings a whole lot more excitement - I am about done watching paint flake in the dust bowl.

But mostly I am holding out for peace on earth.



cosmicyoruba said...

Happy new year Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Happy New Year to you too Cosmicyoruba.

May 2014 bring you good health and happiness.


Anonymous said...

Peace Ridwan,

This Post brought a smile to my face.

The ultimate People's Car.

We 'handed down' our 1975 1300cc German assembled VW Beetle to our son. It still runs and has the original engine in it. However requires a bit of TLC now.

Regards, Bash

Ridwan said...

WSLM Bash.

I am sure your son will enjoy that vehicle for as long as he holds onto it.

It is a collector's piece for sure.

Luckily there are quite a few aftermarket folks who can help with what needs fixing :0)

I had a sweet and original 1974 Bug but it was assembled here in SA.

Unfortunately when I left for the US in 1981 my dad sold it to a dude who turned it into a beach buggy.

From time to time I troll Gumtree looking for a vintage Beetle. And to my surprise there are a few cherries out there waiting to be picked.

Trust you are well Bash. Thanks kindly for your comment.