The first generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 with the split windshield, informally called the Microbus, Splitscreen, or Splittie among modern fans, was produced from 8 March 1950 through the end of the 1967 model year. From 1950 to 1956, the T1 (not called that at the time) was built in Wolfsburg; from 1956, it was built at the completely new Transporter factory in Hanover. Like the Beetle, the first Transporters used the 1100 Volkswagen air-cooled engine, an 1,131 cc (69.0 cu in), DIN-rated 18 kW (24 PS; 24 bhp), air-cooled flat-four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine mounted in the rear. This was upgraded to the 1200 – an 1,192 cc (72.7 cu in) 22 kW (30 PS; 30 bhp) in 1953. A higher compression ratio became standard in 1955; while an unusual early version of the 30 kW (41 PS; 40 bhp) engine debuted exclusively on the Type 2 in 1959. This engine proved to be so uncharacteristically troublesome that Volkswagen recalled all 1959 Transporters and replaced the engines with an updated version of the 30 kW engine. Any 1959 models that retain that early engine today are true survivors. Since the engine was totally discontinued at the outset, no parts were ever made available. The early versions of the T1 until 1955 were often called the “Barndoor” (retrospectively called T1a since the 1990s), owing to the enormous rear engine cover, while the later versions with a slightly modified body (the roofline above the windshield is extended), smaller engine bay, and 15″ roadwheels instead of the original 16″ ones are nowadays called the T1b (again, only called this since the 1990s, based on VW’s retrospective T1,2,3,4 etc. naming system.). From the 1964 model year, when the rear door was made wider (same as on the bay-window or T2), the vehicle could be referred to as the T1c. 1964 also saw the introduction of an optional sliding door for the passenger/cargo area instead of the outwardly hinged doors typical of cargo vans. In 1962, a heavy-duty Transporter was introduced as a factory option. It featured a cargo capacity of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) instead of the previous 750 kg (1,653 lb), smaller but wider 14″ roadwheels, and a 1.5 Le, 31 kW (42 PS; 42 bhp) DIN engine. This was so successful that only a year later, the 750 kg, 1.2 L Transporter was discontinued. The 1963 model year introduced the 1500 engine – 1,493 cc (91.1 cu in) as standard equipment to the US market at 38 kW (52 PS; 51 bhp) DIN with an 83 mm (3.27 in) bore, 69
mm (2.72 in) stroke, and 7.8:1 compression ratio. When the Beetle received the 1.5 L engine for the 1967 model year, its power was increased to 40 kW (54 PS; 54 bhp) DIN. The Volkswagen Samba, in the United States also known as Sunroof Deluxe, was the most luxurious version of the T1. Volkswagen started producing Sambas in 1951. In the USA Volkswagen vans were informally classified according to the number of windows they had. This particular model had 23 and later 21 windows including eight panoramic windows in the roof. To distinguish it from the normal Volkswagen van the name Samba was coined. Certain models of the Volkswagen Type 2 played a role in a historic episode during the early 1960s, known as the Chicken War. France and West Germany had placed tariffs on imports of U.S.Chicken. Diplomacy failed, and in January 1964, two months after taking office, President Johnson imposed a 25% tax (almost ten times the average U.S. tariff) on potato starch, dextrin, brandy, and light trucks. Officially, the tax targeted items imported from Europe as approximating the value of lost American chicken sales to Europe. In retrospect, audio tapes from the Johnson White House, revealed a quid pro quo unrelated to chicken. In January 1964, President Johnson attempted to convince United Auto Workers’ president Walter Reuther not to initiate a strike just before the 1964 election, and to support the president’s civil rights platform. Reuther, in turn, wanted Johnson to respond to Volkswagen’s increased shipments to the United States. The Chicken Tax directly curtailed importation of German-built Type 2s in configurations that qualified them as light trucks – that is, commercial vans (panel vans) and pickups. In late 1967, the second generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 (T2) was introduced. It was built in Germany until 1979. In Mexico, the Volkswagen Kombi and Panel were produced from 1970 to 1994. Models before 1971 are often called the T2a (or “Early Bay”), while models after 1972 are called the T2b (or “Late Bay”). This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split front windshield, and was slightly larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor. Its common nicknames are Breadloaf and Bay-window, or Loaf and Bay for short. At 1.6 L and 35 kW (48 PS; 47 bhp) DIN, the engine was also slightly larger. The battery and electrical system was upgraded to 12 volts, making it incompatible with electric
accessories from the previous generation. The new model also did away with the swing axle rear suspension and transfer boxes previously used to raise ride height. Instead, half-shaft axles fitted with constant velocity joints raised ride height without the wild changes in camber of the Beetle-based swing axle suspension. The updated Bus transaxle is usually sought after by off-road racers using air-cooled Volkswagen components. The T2c, with a roof raised by about 10 cm (3.9 in) was built starting in the early 1990s for the Mexican, South American and Central American markets. Since 1991, the T2c has been built in México with the water-cooled 1.8 L inline four-cylinder 53 kW (72 PS; 71 bhp) carbureted engine—easily identified by the large, black front-mounted radiator—and since 1995 with the 1.6 L air-cooled engines for the Brazilian market Once production of the original Beetle ended in late 2003, the T2 was the only Volkswagen model with an air-cooled, rear-mounted boxer engine, but then the Brazilian model shifted to a water-cooled engine on 23 December 2005. There was a 1.6 L 50 hp (37 kW; 51 PS) water-cooled diesel engine available from 1981 to 1985, which gave fuel economy of 15 km/l to 18 km/l—but gave slow performance and its insufficient cooling system led to short engine life. The end of the Volkswagen air-cooled engine on a worldwide basis was marked by a Special Edition Kombi. The Volkswagen Type 2 (T3), also known as T25 in the UK or Vanagon in the United States, the T3 platform was introduced in 1979, and was one of the last new Volkswagen platforms to use an air-cooled engine. The Volkswagen air-cooled engine was phased out for a water-cooled boxer engine (still rear-mounted) in 1983. Compared to its predecessor the T2, the T3 was larger and heavier, with square corners replacing the rounded edges of the older models. The T3 is sometimes called “the wedge” by enthusiasts to differentiate it from earlier Kombis. .