An American Icon: The VW Bus

The VW Bus is the epitome of classic camper vans. Small enough to be very maneuverable, the camper conversions were extremely popular with surfers, camping enthusiasts and families on the go. Since VW no longer produces a bus or van, finding the right VW conversion takes a bit of time and effort to locate. In this article we’ll take a look at a few of the varieties you may find as well as a few things to consider as you shop around.

Varieties of VW’s
VW produced a huge variety of the VW bus. Even with in particular catagories there were lots of customization options possible. It’s very likely that when you shop for a VW bus you won’t see two that are identical. Here are a few of the varieties of the VW bus that you may encounter as you shop.

  • Volkswagen Bus Vanagon – Also known as the Type 2 (T3), the Vanagon was produced between 1979 until 1992. Westfalia camper versions of the T3 included a pop-up roof, refrigerator, stove and sink. Some Vanagons were 4-wheel drive and are referred to as “syncros”. They were made in limited quantities from 1985 to 1992 and are now difficult to find.
  • VW Bus Westfalia – Westfalia is actually the name of a company in Germany that was endorsed by VW as the official camping van conversion company. They performed conversions for VW as well as other automakers. It’s important to note that Westfalia is a separate company from VW. Some people also refer to all VW buses as Westfalia’s since the companies are so tightly linked, but keep in mind that VW actually produced several models.

Buying a VW Bus
Before you buy it might be a good idea to consider renting a VW bus for a trip or two. Find out which variety of VW bus you prefer and also which features are most important to you. If you do decide to buy, do some research on the availability of parts. Since most VW bus models are extremely popular and they’re no longer in production, finding parts for some models is becoming increasingly difficult.

New VW Bus Coming Soon?
In January 2001 a VW Bus Concept van was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show that had everyone talking. Then rumor had it that the new VW Microbus would be released in 2008. However, so far the newly designed VW bus has yet to make an appearance. If VW does introduce a new VW bus, expect it to look like an updated version of the original bus but with updated conveniences. Keep your fingers crossed and keep an eye out for upcoming announcements from VW.

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