'Van comes in a minute'. The VW vans

Auto Motor Klassiek » Special » 'Van comes in a minute'. The VW vans

'Van comes in a minute'. That was in 1995 when the Salland duo 'Hӧllenboer' had a hit with 'Het van comes soon'. The text is satirical about two addicts waiting for the methadone bus. At the time, the singer Gerard was a nurse in addiction care and wrote the text to present the heavy subject of addiction in a playful way at a study day. The one-liner “Busje will come” became world famous in the Netherlands. Rightly so. Because what would the Netherlands be without vans?

The primeval father of the vans?

That was the VW bus. And everyone now knows that the idea for that wonder of the world was outlined in his agenda by Ben Pon senior. And the rest is history. The utility free-range animals came in countless shapes and designs for all professions and functions up to ambulances, tow trucks and fire engines.

Originally, the T1 was only available from the factory in blue. Deviating color requirements were provided locally by the Volkswagen dealer. The nickname 'Bulli' originates from the dual character of the T1. It is a combination of Bu (s) and Li (eferwagen), with an extra 'l' because it tasted better.

In the time after the reconstruction after WWII, the VW bus was a winner

And no matter how proud many small entrepreneurs were of their VW, many vans were treated like Greek donkeys: They had to work hard, received a lot of beating and little eating. The local dairy farmers, delivering door to door, were masters in reloading their four-wheeled staff.

It is only due to the laws of large numbers that unrestored VW vans can still be found. But if so, it often takes a lot of work. And that amount of work and the ever-growing demand for these brave little cars has its consequences for the price. The early split buses are an example of this and the more 'windows' they have, the higher the prices are.

When something seems too good to be true ...

People who buy a 'restored' copy directly from South America digitally and in good faith often want to be faced with very nasty surprises. Because if a restoration is 'technically improvised' it can be a winner according to the local tradition, but it can become your financial ruin here. Because where the stuff here is affordable, the necessary expensive hours of a Dutch craftsman are often the final blow to what could have been a dream.

The later vans, such as the 'Clipper' in the pictures, are even more humanely priced

But good copies now also have their price. Tradition has it that the vans with a fire service history were sought, because they usually drove few kilometers and because they are often maintained for a long time. On the negative side: an engine that has only driven short distances can show more wear and tear than a 'Cross-country skier'. And a lot of residual water from wet firefighter stuff can cause serious rust. So Ral3000 is not a quality guarantee.

Honesty is key

On the other hand: For the VW vans there is still the whole world of technical parts and sheet metal for sale. And technically, a Bulli is certainly not 'rocket science'. A good VW bus is still a vehicle that can be used seriously. Our fashion model is from 1975 and comes from Michel Roels, a harp specialist and proves that there is still music in the classic vans.

It is a textbook example of a deadly honest, thoroughly original Typ2. And look how satisfied and proud he looks out of his headlights! The bus is for sale and can of course also be converted into a camper, so that when the lockdown is a thing of the past, the rest of Europe can be viewed in an old-fashioned and environmentally friendly way. More information about this nice bus, the price or an appointment for viewing via Wilbers Appraisals or 06-14.815.214.


That is why original copies have become scarce


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  1. It is indeed the law of large numbers that means that there is still so much to see. Funnily enough, I heard that comment somewhere in the 90s from a garage owner / sheet metal worker, who I asked for advice when I had my eye on a T2 that was equipped as a camper.
    He did not advise me against it, but indicated that there was some work to be done because of - indeed - the rust ghost.
    I decided against it, had also just bought a fairly neat B-Kadett of just over twenty years old and from the first owner. (through the mediation of the same tinkerer)
    Just like the bus, there is something to be said about the road holding about that car.

    By the way, what surprises me the most is that there are people who have a stronger engine in their possession and often lower things, both with the T1 and the T2.
    It's not a pan, if you ask me, but judging by the quality of the crumple zone, would the owners prefer to take things a bit bigger? (read: more painful in terms of the outcome when it comes to an unpleasant encounter)

    Everyone has their own experience when it comes to a classic, but originality is preferable to adapting to the current time, whether it concerns a heavier engine or conversion to a plug-in car. Brrr.

  2. Dear Olav, I do not feel that you have such a van yourself. We have had a 21 T1 with the original engine for 1965 years. Use the van for vacation. Have already been to Hungary 2x, 2x to the Czech Republic,
    2x in Denmark. Have also driven over the GroszGlockner 2x, including the Edelweiszspitze and his
    also toured through the Dolomites, including the corresponding passes. No problem.
    Just keep going and know what you are doing. We usually drive Bundesstraszen
    but if we want to hurry up then the Autobahn. For hours at 95 to 100 km / h.

  3. It's all great, but these vans are never intended to drive a thousand kilometers of Autobahn or to brave the Alps and the Pyrenees. The motor is just too weak for that and if you overload it it will break. The infamous third and fourth cylinders that get the heat of the first and second. Owned by the local painter, baker and milkman, they were great. But if you go far with it, there will be no second holiday with a Bulli.

  4. About that T1. An acquaintance of my mate had / has one in camper form. Nice and romantic on the road and camping? Well only the latter. The T1 was / will be shipped by trailer (verautoot) to Mediterranean regions.
    It comes to mind that the PTT also had T1s and a neighbor of ours worked for this club. He regularly came home for a sandwich at lunchtime, then jumped into the deep gray T1 and pulled so hard down the street that the boxer was allowed to digest the lunch beyond its barrier.

    • A realistic view is always bad for dreamers. And nowadays there are plenty of motorcyclists who pick up the bike from the trailer 30 km before the North Cape…. Let's enjoy our limitations and those of that old technique. Then we will be happy

  5. Nice because it is so recognizable. That was the advantage for VW, while manufacturers in other countries initially had to produce for their own market after WWII, VW was allowed to make cars for export right away. That was a smart move by the English who ran the factory at the time.
    From an objective point of view, the VW bus is not exactly high quality. It is certainly not the first van, the Citroën H Series was before (and a much better car in almost every way). Other makes already had bus-shaped cars, such as Chenard et Walker (later Peugeot) and Renault among others. Then the engine in the back, not really helpful for the size and accessibility of the cargo area. Then the handling, it has not just as little as enough power. Safety is also not its strongest point. A thicker jacket increased all your chances of survival in a collision. Unladen braking was also an experience in itself, if that went a little too abruptly, it could just roll over. The thing evokes nostalgic feelings and that is its main asset.

  6. bought a used T1976 in A'dam in 1 and converted it as a Camper with adjustments to T2, for extra luggage space and air insulation, a raised roof was put on it from Renault Estafette, engine was the weak point to also pull a caravan with it because there went along: our 3 children mostly with friends, 2 dogs, bikes, mini motor and surfboard, so first a Ford V4 1,7 ltr. engine put in with radiator and electric blower in front, ran well but was also too weak, so Ford V6 2,3 ltr. Granada engine in it, that was it all, in the Alps with a 13% gradient and on the motorway 120 km / h no problem, at the border to NL with a blower on they asked with passport control, “you certainly turned on the air conditioning”! Ahead a Porsche from the National Police came driving next to me, the co-driver was symbolically threatening with his index finger, but they just kept driving! Being around half of Europe before he became a prey to rust was the best time of all of us.

  7. Not only are they Way too expensive, just like the early Beetles, but those vans are also very dangerous. A collision with a concrete post or Amsterdammertje can cause serious injuries! Motor is in the back and the nose is missing!

    • Then a t3 offers less charm, but more safety due to the serious reinforcement bars in the front. The boxer sound is comparable… they also have more power in the petrol version, especially in the 2.1 injection version… even a 4 × 4 syncro is one of the options that have reasonably good off-road capability with a lock at the front and rear.

  8. Everything that you publish is fantastic and of course different per person interesting, an amazing hobby of yours apparently. More than compliments. !!!

  9. If you compare the VW vans with the early FORD transit MK1 vans or Renault Estafette vans from the same period, then the VW vans are definitely over priced.
    I sold my MK1 Ford transit Fire engine van with barely 17.000 km, in new condition, sold at a fair in Rosmalen. I received 1.800 euros for it with a lot of effort. A VW van in the same condition would have earned me at least 10X this amount. It's just that I unfortunately needed the money then.

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