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VW Kombi turns 60

Now the venerable VW is settling into its senior years. The famous vehicle is celebrating its 60th birthday this month, having become one of VW's best selling commercial models globally.

When production of the van started in March, 1950, the German carmaker had no idea it would become a world-wide hit. With more than 10 million built, the purpose-built load carrier has evolved through five-generations to become today's Transporter, Multivan and Caravelle.

However, many of the original Microbuses are still on the road and craved by collectors. The first T1 split-screen model was powered by a rear mounted four-cylinder, air-cooled, 1.1-litre petrol engine that developed just 19kW and had a top speed of 100km/h.

The newest Transporter gets a range of turbo-diesel engines from 2.0-litres to 2.5-litres with outputs ranging from 62kW up to 128kW and top speeds of more than 160km/h. Although the design has evolved, the oldest and newest Transporter share the same badge at the front and a generous load area.

VW has toyed with the idea of a 21st century Microbus and whetted appetites in 2001 when it launched the Microbus concept. Unfortunately it has never gone into production.

Neil McDonald
Contributing Journalist
Neil McDonald is an automotive expert who formerly contributed to CarsGuide from News Limited. McDonald is now a senior automotive PR operative.
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