Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Brief History of the Iconic VW Volkswagen Type II Bus turned Campervan

Believe it or not the roots of the VW Volkswagen Type II can be traced all the way back to World War II. After the german defeat the british found themselves as the custodians to the VW factory in Wolfsburg. In this factory a dutch VW importer called Ben Pon noticed that the motorised trollies built and used to ferry equipment around the factory had been inventively made from a stripped down VW Beetle chassis. The cobbled together trolley looked rather like a Beetle van with wheels. This early vision inspired Pon to push the new chief executive of Volkswagen to officially design a van. Like all great inventions the campervans routes came from chance rather than strategy.

Official production of ten vehicles a day began in 1950, with the basics of the design staying the same for around 40 years. In all close to 5 million vehicles were produced as they catered for an area of the market that matched peoples requirements after the second world war. Motorists needed a simple inexpensive vehicle for transporation of goods and people at a low cost.
The retro designs so craved after today sported the iconic 'splitscreen' or 'splitties', these distinctive looking VW's were sold between 1949 and 1967. A Splitscreen front window was housed by a sweepeing front v line and a very large Volkswagen logo. This vehicle had the axles of the VW beetle but had a rigid unitary construction supported by a ladder frame rather then a central plinth. This ladder frame was pariculary good at spreading the load and shifting up the engine , suspension transmission etc. The trade off is handling, these little buses were and are beasts to steer!


Generally the spiltscreens could carry up to eight people and the seats could be removed to carry large single loads. Its this flexibiltiy that really set up the vehicles place in peoples hearts both in the past and now. Anyone with a certain amount of mechanical know how could take the basic design and adapt it. Hence ambulances, ice cream vans, coal trucks, fire engines, pick ups, delivery vans, beer wagons and then.... wait for it.... the very familiar and incredicbly cool campervan design.


50 years after its first creation the popularity of the splitscreen v dub grows and grows. It got a boost by its obvious adoption by the surfing community worldwide. Surf board, VW camper, gasoline... that all thats required in life ? Its this obvious growing link to freedom thats enhanced its demand over the past ten years. Own a vw campervan and your making a statement about what you stand for! Thats why the image of a campervan has become so popular over the last few years.
Even if your names not Jamie Oliver (and you dont have £25,000 to spare) then you can still buy a slice of the VW freedom dream with a suitable canvas art pictures on your house wall.

Have a look in our store and witness the love that Art By People have for the timeless VW campervan.







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