Volkswagen Transporter Magna UT

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Volkswagen Southtowne
(801) 676-6401
11100 S Frontage Rd
South Jordan, UT
 
V & W Volkswagen Service & Repair
(801) 262-5981
150 W 4800 S
Salt Lake City, UT
 
V & W Volkswagen Service & Repair
(801) 262-5981
150 W 4800 S
Salt Lake City, UT
 
John Mecham Chrysler-Plymouth-Jeep
(435) 940-9999
2700 Rasmussen Rd
Park City, UT
 
Hansen Motor Company
(435) 723-5255
1175 S Commerce Way
Brigham City, UT
 
A-1 Volkswagen Inc
(801) 484-5943
258 Lucy Ave
Salt Lake City, UT
 
A-1 Volkswagen Inc
(801) 484-5943
258 Lucy Ave
Salt Lake City, UT
 
Volkswagen Southtowne
(801) 676-6401
11100 S Frontage Rd
South Jordan, UT
 
Ken Garff Ogden
(801) 523-5460
10835 Auto Mall Dr
Sandy, UT
 
Inti Auto Sales
(801) 521-0746
1225 Beck St
Salt Lake City, UT
 

Volkswagen Transporter

Bill Siuru, PhD, PE   

VW designed the Type II to carry the greatest amount of people and/or goods in the smallest packageVW designed the Type II to carry the greatest amount of people and/or goods in the smallest package VW Chameleon - enlarge

The minivan was "invented" 60 years ago with the first drawings of the Volkswagen Transporter. The first eight Transporters rolled off the assembly line in 1949 and were shown to the public in early 1950. Looking at the Type II, as designated by VW, it is hard to believe it is based on the VW Beetle that appeared in the 1930s as the KdF-Wagen (Kraft durch Freude - "Strength through Joy"). The Beetle was designated the Type I.

VW designed the Type II to carry the greatest amount of people and/or goods in the smallest package, and with the greatest economy. The Type II would be offered in a variety of variants. The basic Transporter van did not have side windows in the rear compartment, but had double-opening side doors. There was a rear door that was hinged at the top, but loading was not easy because of the rear engine location.

There were a couple of pickups. One had a cab with a front seat for two. Another was a "crew cab" with four doors and front and rear seats. The pickups had a rather high bed because of rear engine location and the pickup had a flat floor. Not only did the tailgate fold down, but also the side rails. The design allowed several enclosed compartments under the bed.

The pickups had a rather high bed because of rear engine locationThe pickups had a rather high bed because of rear engine location VW Pickup - enlarge

The Microbus version came with a number of different varieties of window combinations starting with the base Kombi for carrying both passengers and cargo. The Type II Microbus had more windows and a more deluxe interior. The ultimate Type II was the Deluxe Microbus with skylight windows and canvas sunroof. Though small in size, the Microbus could carry up to nine in comfort. Often several more were crammed in. The seats could be giving the same cargo carrying capacity as the Transporter van.

Several aftermarket companies modified the Transporter into very compact campers, the most popular being the Westfalia campers. These modifications included adding sinks, stoves, iceboxes, seats that converted into beds, and "pop-up" roofs to give more headroom.

Like the Beetle, the Transporter was well made and its quality was excellent. The box-like aerodynamics did make the Transporters very susceptible to cross-, tail- and head-winds. Indeed, the Type II earned the nickname "Barndoor." Considering the type of vehicle it was, road handling really wasn't that bad. You could count the tar strips as you traveled down the highway.

Because of several hundred pounds of additional weight even before loading and its poorer aerodynamics it was slower than the Beetle. Sixty mph was tops unless going downhill, but with the rugged four-cylinder, air-cooled engine, you can cruise at all day long without damaging the engine.

Several aftermarket companies modified the Transporter into compact campers.Several aftermarket companies modified the Transporter into compact cam...

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