Oldest-known Volkswagen van marked 70th birthday this year

The restored Transporter now resides in a Hanover, Germany, car collection

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The transporter rolled out of the Wolfsburg factory in August 1950 | Volkswagen photos

Volkswagen is gearing up to launch a new generation of its Transporter series of vans, the modern successor to the Type 2 van that most readers will recognize as the iconic Microbus.

The first Type 2 (Type 1 was the official name of the original Volkswagen Beetle) van, code-named the T1, entered production in 1950, making the example shown here the oldest known Type 2 in existence, as far as street-legal examples are concerned.

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It’s a 1950 example currently in Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ classic car collection in Hanover, Germany. It was brought out last week to celebrate its 70th birthday. This very van, chassis number 20-1880, rolled out of VW’s plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, on August 5, 1950. Production of the Type 2 started on March 8, 1950, and just under 10,000 examples were made that year.

Chassis no. 20-1880 was originally delivered to a customer in Hildesheim, Germany, after which it served as a delivery van. It then traded hands a number of times until 1992, when Danish Type 2 fan Tonny L. spotted an ad for it and, realizing its significance, bought it sight unseen.

He then set about restoring the vehicle, after which he took it on numerous drives across Europe, which isn’t bad considering its air-cooled 1.1-liter flat-4 engine only has about 25 horsepower. Later, after knocking back numerous offers to purchase the vehicle from other collectors, Tonny finally sold the van back to VW in 2014, knowing that many other fans will get to enjoy the vehicle in the ownership of Volkswagen.

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Volkswagen is now about to launch a T7-generation Transporter. While we won’t see this vehicle in the United States, the automaker is also working on a spiritual successor to the T1-generation Type 2 van. It’s due in local showrooms in 2022, and is coming with battery-electric power. A preview was given in 2017 with the unveiling of the ID Buzz concept.

This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. As a teenager I drove a 1959 version of this van, delivering lumber samples to stores in, and around, Toronto. Fun to drive, very practical for my purposes, but an absolute leg crippler if you, even gracefully, rear ended another vehicle.😎

  2. My Dad had 3 of these for his feed store in the early 60s and used to deliver hay and feed in them. He also taught me how to shift when I was just 10 years old. Hard vehicle to learn to shift, when your just 10! Good memories!

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