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Kombi celebrates 60 years

Volkswagen's iconic Kombi van turns 60 this year and the German carmaker is preparing a fitting celebration.

A three-day event in Germany in October is expected to attract thousands of Kombi enthusiasts and their vehicles.

The first Kombi was built by VW staff to transport heavy panels around the Hamburg factory, but became a full production model after it was seen by a Dutch dealer.

In the 60 years since its introduction the Kombi, now in its fifth generation, has been the vehicle of choice for the flower-power generation and holiday campers, a people mover and a humble goods carrier.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is behind the international VW Camper event, from October 5-7 in Hanover. Thousands of unusual Kombis are expected to make the journey.

“Scarcely any other vehicle evokes as many emotions as the VW Kombi,” Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brand management spokesman Stephen Schaller says. “Back then it stood for new departures, economic success, independence, fun and travel.

“It is pleasant, reliable and a real cult vehicle. We want to establish the unrivalled legacy of our brand with the international VW Camper event.”

At the event, visitors will be able to see lovingly restored models such as the T1, T2, T3 and T4 and talk to their owners. They will also be able to see which model was on the road in which decade, and browse through the latest products.


Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist
With a passion for cars dating back to his childhood and having a qualification in mechanical engineering, Graham couldn’t believe his good fortune when he was offered a job in the Engineering Department at General Motors-Holden’s in the late-1960s when the Kingswood was king and Toyota was an upstart newcomer. It was a dream come true. Over the next 20 years Graham worked in a range of test and development roles within GMH’s Experimental Engineering Department, at the Lang Lang Proving Ground, and the Engine Development Group where he predominantly worked on the six-cylinder and V8 engines. If working for Holden wasn’t exciting enough he also spent two years studying General Motors Institute in America, with work stints with the Chassis Engineering section at Pontiac, and later took up the post of Holden’s liaison engineer at Opel in Germany. But the lure of working in the media saw him become a fulltime motorsport reporter and photographer in the late-1980s following the Grand Prix trail around the world and covering major world motor racing events from bases first in Germany and then London. After returning home to Australia in the late-1980s Graham worked on numerous motoring magazines and newspapers writing about new and used cars, and issues concerning car owners. These days, Graham is CarsGuide's longest standing contributor.
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