Archive for the ‘Brazilian Kombis’ category

La Combi Celeste – Soccer Fan Van

June 19, 2014

A group of five Uruguayan soccer fans has taken to the road in a vintage Combi to cheer on their team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Named “La Combi Celeste” this is one cool fan van. They had the bus renovated with a blue and white combination in tribute to Uruguay’s flag. This is one of those wonderfully odd South American Volkswagen vans that features a real mix of bus styling from many different incarnations. From the front it looks like a late bay, from the rear mostly a slpitty. I’d  love to have one of these! Here’s an article on the bus and its occupants put through Google translate. Follow them on Twitter! (The video is in Spanish, el vídeo está en Spanis)

lacombiceleste

Kombi Tribute Video – Volkswagen Brazil

April 6, 2014

I don’t think there has ever been so much fanfare for a vehicle ending production, not even the Beetle which deserves its accolades too. I believe this video was produced by Volkswagen Brasil as a tip of the hat to one of the most successful vehicles of all time. So I guess we must accept that the Volkswagen van will not be coming back any time soon, but far from being gone many are still being driven worldwide. Add to that an abundance of affordable parts and I think we’ll be seeing a lot of bullis, buses, and kombis for a long time.

The Last Kombi – Things are quiet

January 27, 2014

Haven’t heard anything new about the faint possibility for the continuation of Kombi production. However, I did see a story that mentions slow sales for the Last Edition Kombi in Brazil, the run of 600 was doubled to 1200 to meet apparent demand. The high price tag for what is an economy vehicle means dealers still have some of the vans on their lots. If you want to work a deal with a salesman reports say you could get one for a little as USD $33,000, still that’s a lot more than the standard models sold for. In other news, Danbury Motor Caravans in England just sent out an email saying that they have received their final shipment of 99 Type 2 vans and that, “There is still a chance to buy one of these!!” Many are already sold. Today’s video was posted by Youtube user Ednéia Silva. Watch the first 12 minutes of this Brazilian TV program hosted by Joana Calmon, it features a very interesting retrospective on the Kombi. It’s in Portuguese, but you can try the caption setting for English subtitles which are not perfect but they get the point across.

99 Type 2 Volkswagen vans at dockside await camper treatment.

99 Type 2 Volkswagen vans at dockside await camper treatment.

Glimmer Of Hope For Kombi

January 11, 2014

After reading through news sites around the world I’m still seeing mention of a possible return for Brazil’s Volkswagen Kombi into production after shutdown in December 2013. Perhaps they are simply aftershocks following Guido Mantega’s hopeful efforts to save the legendary vehicle. One interesting comment I’ve noticed a few times is: “The Kombi’s fate will be decided in the next few weeks” That would be now in the first few weeks of 2014, let’s keep our fingers crossed. Today’s video is from Youtube user rebuli marco and features a 54th anniversary Brazilian Kombi celebration from 2011.

Fate of the Kombi – Update 2014-01-09

January 9, 2014

I’ve been quiet for the past week or so, “Wishin’ And Hopin’”  as Dusty Springfield sang in 1964, waiting for some conclusive news on the fate of the iconic Kombi. Here’s what I’ve found, everything including:

- The final Kombi was produced on December 20th
– The final Kombi was produced on January 3rd
– Finance minister Guido Mantega says he would try to save the Kombi
– Finance minister Guido Mantega makes a case to the save the bus and is denied (Brazilian press)
– Last shipment of 99 Kombis on their way to Danbury Motor Caravans in Britain

There seems to be some variation of the facts, and to be honest the Guido Mantega story appears to be losing steam if it hasn’t fizzled already. In reality we haven’t seen new bay window buses in North America since 1979, I remember my disappointment when I heard the news that the Vanagon would replace the bread loaf. It’s amazing I didn’t realize, until about 10 years ago, that the Type 2 was still being produced in other parts of the world. According to Wikipedia the bay window bus was produced in the following countries between these dates:

Aug 1967–Jul 1979 (Europe and US)
1971–1996 (Mexico)
1976–Dec 2013 (Brazil)[9]
1981–1986 (Argentina)

According to that list some would have been produced in the U.S. though I’m not sure about that. So a holiday through any one of those Latin American countries would certainly be interesting for the VW van enthusiast. Today’s video from a happier day, posted by Youtube user Sidney Gubitoso, is a news story from Brazilian TV celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Kombi in 2007. Some great historical footage.

Brazil Kombi Factory Floor Walk Through

January 3, 2014

In this piece, which was filed back early December 2013, the BBC’s Wyre Davies laments the supposed end of Kombi production. Some of the best shots I’ve seen of the factory floor where most of the work is done by hand. Since Volkswagen Brazil has nothing to replace it with they should simply keep making our favourite vehicle.

Hope For The Kombi – Headline Snapshots

January 3, 2014

kombi-keep-truckin

Here are a few headlines from the English press which provide a glimmer of hope. Most if not all of these lead back to comments made by Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega who said the iconic VW bus could be made exempt to new auto safety regulations that begin in 2014. I believe there is a slight error in that last headline it should read, “continuous production in Brazil since 1957,” not 1969. The Kombi is a unique vehicle that should be kept in production. In South America it’s a work horse, beloved by the masses. Viva Kombi! Viva Westfalia!

Will Kombi Live On? – The Latest

December 24, 2013

I’ve been unable to find conclusive evidence that the Volkswagen Kombi will continue to be produced in Brazil in 2014. However, there are some tantalizing bits and pieces in the Brazilian press that make it seem like the bus could be left in production for 3 more years which would bring it up to 2016. Here’s a Google translation from a Brazilian news site, the referred to Tuesday being December 17th, 2013:

“Government keeps requirement for airbag and ABS, but can save the Kombi”  2013-12-17

“BRASILIA – The finance minister, Guido Mantega, said on Tuesday that the government will stick to the schedule that provides for compulsory manufacture 100% of domestic vehicles, from 2014, with airbag and ABS brakes as mandatory items. He said, however, that an exceptionality to the van, which would give two or three years of life for the vehicle can be created.”  Translated from Economia Estadao

Apparently 1000 workers will be affected by the layoffs, and perhaps saving the jobs is a key motivation to prolong production. Maybe they could produce them for export only, Britain has no problem letting them in, the same goes for  some other European countries. Today’s video comes from Youtube user Programa Vrum and features some great historical shots of the factory floor in Brazil.

Kombi Factory Floor – Brazil

December 23, 2013

Some years ago I made the incredible discovery that Type 2 Volkswagen vans were still being manufactured in Brazil. After I stopped jumping and cheering I calmed down enough to begin looking for more information. Of course there is the Volkswagen Brasil website, but I wanted a look at the factory assembly line in São Paulo, didn’t find anything, until now. Here’s a short TV news story with a great look at the factory floor where, unlike their more modern siblings, the buses are assembled for the most part by hand. Meanwhile, we wait for tomorrow’s announcement, will the Kombi continue? Stay tuned…

The Last Kombi? – “Keep hope alive!”

December 21, 2013

kombi-last-edition-manual01

The final “Kombi Last Edition” has rolled off the assembly line in Brazil, but the venerable Transporter could be back soon. While the Brazilian government is looking at the possibility of exempting the VW van from new safety requirements, Volkswagen Brasil has made this statement: “If any official change in the law is upheld, Volkswagen will evaluate the possibility of continuing the production of Kombi” There should be a government announcement on Monday December 23rd, 2013. There are so many of these vehicles in the world today and they are just as popular as ever. I took a couple I know on a camping trip this summer in our ‘74 Westfalia, they loved it, are still talking about the journey, and are even going to put a picture of the bus on their wall. There is nothing quite like the view from the bay window or the aircraft like roar of the engine as you wind through old roads and new sights. I found this Jesse Jackson quote which would make a great Volkswagen bus bumper sticker, “Respect me! Protect me! Never neglect me!” Eye candy for today, a Brazilian video in Portuguese from 2006 comparing the old air-cooled Kombi with its then new water-cooled replacement. Brazilian government officials! How can you not save this vehicle?


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