The Volkswagen combi
In 1947, a Dutch vehicle importer, Ben Pon, saw a vehicle that caught his attention during a visit to the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. It was a motorised trolley made from stripped down Beetle chassis built by VW workers to transport parts around the factory. A new idea then sprang up in his mind that he materialized by sketching a new type of car on his notebook. A vehicle which did not yet exist, with a wheel at the front, a rear engine and a structure in the form of a crate.
In 1949, entranced by Ben Pon’s idea, Heinrich Nordoff, the CEO of Volkswagen, built a first prototype that was unveiled in 1950, at the Geneva Motor Show. In 1951, the first version of the Volkswagen combi (called Samba) attracted an extraordinary amount of interest from the public at its introduction. It created a general infatuation and very quickly turned into a real success. That is how the legend of the Volkswagen combi began.
This success was due, in major part, to the « camping car » laying out integrated into the combi T1 by Westfalia. Over the years, it became more comprehensive. We then referred to a camping box including a sofa bed, a flip-over table, storage places and squared textiles. But in 2003, the partnership between Volkswagen and Westfalia ended. Volkswagen had decided to take charge of the layout of its vehicles itself.
However, the combi offers more than only one advatage. It also attracts by its low cost and its reduced size. As the first genuine mini van, it was aimed at families in need of escape and wishing to make the most of their paid holidays. It provides modern comfort while meeting a nomadic purpose.
Over time, the T1 model came in many variations, all extensively commercialized.
Thus, in 1954, the 100,000th "type 2" left the Wolfsburg chains.
In 1962, 1,800,000 copies of the first Transporter were produced on the assembly lines.
In 1985, 5 million Transporter sold.