What A Short, Strange Truck It Was - Air-Cooled VW Pickups

It’s funny how it sometimes takes a while to recognize something familiar. In the mid-1980s, when my daily driver was a slightly hi-po’d 1972 VW Type 2, I was driving a work vehicle from the Detroit area to Toledo to pick up a part. As I drove down I-75 and got closer to Ohio, I noticed one Volkswagen Bus traveling north in the opposite direction — and then another. “That’s unusual,” I thought. By then air-cooled Vee Dubs weren’t terribly common, and *Transporters were less common than Beetles. Then a Vanagon passed by, but, as I said, this was the 1980s and Vanagons were still being sold new and didn’t think much about it until I saw a few more Type 2s, including some older split-windows. Was there a VW club convention going on? I once drove to Cincinnati and I passed a large group of MG enthusiasts on their way to a meet.

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65 Years Later VW, Beetle, & Bus Enthusiasts Should Thank Ben Pon

Ben Pon (left) and the first VW Beetle imported to the United States

In one of those weird coincidences, Volkswagen of America is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Beetle in the United States just as the last VW Type 2 (aka the Volkswagen bus) ever made, which was assembled in Brazil on December 20, 2013, arrived at the vintage vehicle museum in VW Commercial Vehicles’ headquarters in Hanover, Germany. The coincidence is that importing VW Beetles to America and building the VW bus were both ideas that originated in the mind of one man, someone who didn’t even work for Volkswagen, Dutch car dealer Ben Pon.

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The Birth Of The VW Bus: From First Sketch To Production

Here’s the very sketch that gave birth to the VW Bus. Dutch Ben Pon was visiting the VW factory in 1947, which was then controlled by the British Occupational Forces. Interested in buying some early Beetles to import to the Netherlands, Pon saw an improvised boxy parts mover on the factory grounds, and the light bulb went off.

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  • Funky D "Some men are Baptists, others Catholics. My father was an Oldsmobile man."— Ralphie Parker
  • Funky D EV performance is fantastic. Their range and battery replacement costs not so much. Killing off the V8-power models is a big mistake as they are still solid sellers.
  • Funky D Soooooooooo ...[list][*]Locally sourced parts are going to be more expensive than their Chinese counterparts (not a knock, just a fact)[/*][*]Prices of EVs are already up sharply[/*][*]So let's cut subsidies and make them even more expensive.[/*][/list]What a way to "reduce" inflation, which is just one of the major fails in this Charlie Foxtrot of a bill.
  • Kcflyer Guess we know who didn't give enough bribe money (aka campaign contributions) during the latest cycle. Got to pay to play boys and girls.
  • Ima65688420 I'll consider an EV when it can do what my ZR2 diesel can do with similar range and refuel times.