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The Volkswagen Kombi emerged after WWII when the British were running the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany after the war. The original design was based on the popular Beetle model of car that the factory produced to create a small transport vehicle that was easily adaptable at an affordable price. The flexibility of the Kombi's basic design saw them become almost as popular as the Beetle.
The Origins of the Volkswagen Kombi
The first Kombis were manufactured in 1949 and the design was refined over the next decade to improve the aerodynamic qualities and the handling. Because of the simple construction, Volkswagen was able to produce over 5 million over the next four decades. Apart from a few cosmetic alterations it remained unchanged throughout its long history. The original split screen Kombi was updated in 1967 to the familiar loaf shaped body with its wide windscreen and this configuration continued to be manufactured without significant alterations until 1979 when Volkswagen replaced it with the Transporter.
The affordability of the Kombi made it a very popular vehicle for busy lifestyles and it became a particular favourite of the surf culture that emerged in the 1960s. Kombis with the larger 1600 cc engine and 12 volt electrical supply that emerged during the 1960s proved to be a popular evolution of the model and the original split screen design continues to be the most desirable configuration among collectors and enthusiasts. The flexibility of the design has also made the Kombi a popular and practical commercial vehicle throughout its production history, allowing it to be adapted for dozens of different applications.
Commercial Models and Customisations
There have been over 90 different body designs for the Kombi that have been produced by Volkswagen, with alternative door configurations like the barn door, panel door and the kombi doors that gives the model its name. The Kombi has been configured for several specific applications including the open back Kombi pick up, ambulances and fire trucks as well as refrigerated delivery vans and the ever popular VW camper van. The wide availability has also seen many third party customised Kombi vans with pop tops and the iconic custom paint job.
The huge number that were manufactured means that there are many great quality used Kombi vans for sale. The easy availability of used Kombi spare parts makes them an affordable choice for restoration as well as a cheap second car for the family.