VOLKSWAGEN TYPE 2 HISTORY

Posted By : Irfa Hudaya Sasmita
The concept for the Type 2 is credited to Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon. (It has similarities in concept to the 1920s Rumpler Tropfenwagen and 1930s Dymaxion car by Buckminster Fuller, neither of which reached production.) Pon visited Wolfsburg in 1946, intending to purchase Type 1s for import to Holland, where he saw an improvised parts-mover and realized something better was possible using the stock Type 1 pan.[2] He first sketched the van in a doodle dated April 23, 1947,[3] proposing a payload of 690 kg (1,500 lb) and placing the driver at the very front.[4] Production would have to wait, however, as the factory was at capacity producing the Type 1.[4]

When capacity freed up a prototype known internally as the Type 29 was produced in a short three months.[3] The stock Type 1 pan proved to be too weak so the prototype used a ladder chassis with unit body construction.[4] Coincidentally the wheelbase was the same as the Type 1's.[4] Engineers reused the reduction gear from the Type 81, enabling the 1.5 ton van to use a 25 hp (19 kW) flat four engine.[4]

Although the aerodynamics of the first prototypes were poor (with an initial drag coefficient of 0.75),[4] engineers used the wind tunnel at the Technical University of Braunschweig to optimize the design. Simple changes such as splitting the windshield and roofline into a "vee" helped the production Type 2 achieve a drag coefficient of 0.44, exceeding the Type 1's 0.48.[5] Volkswagen's new chief executive officer Heinz Nordhoff (appointed January 1, 1948)[6] approved the van for production on May 19, 1949[4] and the first production model, now designated Type 2,[5] rolled off the assembly line to debut November 12.[4] Only two models were offered: the Kombi (with two side windows and middle and rear seats that were easily removable by one person),[5] and the Commercial.[4] The Microbus was added in May 1950,[4] joined by the Deluxe Microbus in June 1951.[4] In all 9,541 Type 2s were produced in their first year of production.[5]

An ambulance model was added in December of 1951 which repositioned the fuel tank in front of the transaxle, put the spare tire behind the front seat,[5] and added a "tailgate"-style rear door.[5] These features became standard on the Type 2 from 1955 to 1967.[5] 11,805 Type 2s were built in the 1951 model year.[7] These were joined by a single-cab pickup in August 1952, and it changed the least of the Type 2s until all were heavily modified in 1968.[7]

Unlike other rear engine Volkswagens, which evolved constantly over time but never saw the introduction of all-new models, the Transporter not only evolved, but was completely revised periodically with variations referred to as versions "T1" to "T5." However only generations T1 to T3 (or T25 as it is called in Ireland and Great Britain) can be seen as directly related to the Beetle (see below for details).

The Type 2, along with the 1947 Citro├źn H Van, are among the first 'forward control' vans in which the driver was placed above the front roadwheels. They started a trend in Europe, where the 1952 GM Bedford CA, 1960 BMC Morris J4, and 1960 Commer FC copied the concept. In the United States, the Corvair-based Chevrolet Corvan cargo van and Greenbrier passenger van went so far as to copy the Type 2's rear-engine layout, using the Corvair's horizontally-opposed, air-cooled engine for power. Except for the Greenbrier and various 1950s-70s Fiat minivans, the Type 2 remained unique in being rear-engined. This was a disadvantage for the early "barndoor" Panel Vans, which couldn't easily be loaded from the rear due to the engine cover intruding on interior space, but generally advantageous in traction and interior noise.

(source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Type_2)

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