VW Transporter Marks Worlds Longest Production Run
by Becky Harrison |
posted 02 April 2020
Having first rolled off the production line in March 1950, Volkswagen’s Transporter is celebrating its 70th anniversary. For six generations, globetrotters have travelled the world in it, businesses have relied on it and families have driven it every single day. In all, 13 million have been sold.
Revealed as a hand-built panel van prototype in 1949, the T1 eventually launched as a rear-engined panel van, passenger van and eight-seat bus. The engine and gearbox came from the Volkswagen Beetle and it offered a maximum payload of 750kg. By 1967, around 1.9 million people had purchased the T1 with its "splittie" windscreen, making it a global success.
In 1967 the T2 took the utility of the van one step further with a new front end and air intake grille. A sliding door was now standard, and the pop-up roof camper version became an instant hit with globetrotters. In 1972, the T2 went electric with a zero-emission version available to buy.
The T3, introduced in 1979 took the famous vehicle into the modern era with a wider body offering, more passenger and cargo space and improved safety. A flat engine, available in diesel, was introduced adding to the spaciousness while a new chassis offered car-like handling. In 1985, a raft of innovations were added: catalytic converters, turbochargers and all-wheel drive.
The T4 arrived in 1990 giving drivers front-engined and front-wheel drive for the first time. It was phased out in 2003 having sold 1.9 million models across the range, with the arriving T5 being an evolution of exterior design with greater focus placed on the interior and the driver's workplace.
The T6 that has been with us since 2015 came with new engines, intelligent driver assistance systems, new infotainment and a front-end redesign that have defined the modern T6 era. The future is bright for the icon, with the latest iteration, T6.1, launched in 2019, showcasing a new dashboard and greater connectivity.