It’s 2017 and I’m delirious with envy, who will end up buying these beauties? My buses keep me busy and I don’t have a spare forty-one thousand pounds lying around, but this would make a great get around vehicle, or maybe a wine tour bus…dreaming. Nice to look at the site and imagine. My Last Kombi thread is here.
Archive for the ‘Danbury Motor Caravans’ category
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)
1976–Dec 2013 (Brazil)
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.
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.
This is a fun video review of a 2007 Danbury conversion Brazilian bay campervan. Interestingly it’s air-cooled, one of the last to roll off the assembly line. Matt Nichols of ClassicCarsDriven.com is behind the wheel for this ride through the country, a great little summer escape behind the keyboard of your computer. You can find the complete review here.
An automotive program in Brazil called Meucarango na TV spotlighted the new Volkswagen Type II van in 2010. This is a nice tour of the whole vehicle with a good narrative, albeit in Portuguese. These classic style VW vans are still being made in Brazil equipped with water cooled engines since 2006. Some are shipped to Danbury Motor Caravans in the U.K. where they’re magically transformed into campers that make you feel like you’re in an alternate universe where Volkswagen Germany never stopped making them as they did in this time continuum in 1979.
In this video the popular BBC TV series Fifth Gear pits a new Volkswagen California against a new Danbury classic style T2 bus, both kitted out for adventure. I was wondering if they would ever get around to featuring an old Type II van, I think they could have done a better job with the comparison, but it’s still a fun segment.
Here’s another video from Danbury Motorcaravans in the UK. They take new Brazilian made baywindow buses and fit them out like the old days. Watching this makes me feel happy that new T2s still exist, and sad that we still can’t get them in North America. I like how Sue and Andy from Worthing say they’re nervous, after all this is a really big deal. “A typical afternoon at the Danbury showroom near Bristol, including a happy couple collecting their brand-new Type 2 campervan!”