VW Bus T2 L: The Bulli: Bus with Funny

Hardy Mutschler
VW Bus T2 L
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A ls the little VW Bulli thought he had everything seen, it becomes a worldview. That takes the Volkswagen Type 2 by surprise. Because conceived for the German grocer's soul, it transported the economic miracle in the 50s and 60s. He only has to do with flower boxes until the flower children choose it as their preferred means of exercise for themselves and their new ideas. The 68ers could just as well have made Ludwig Erhard head of APO. Because the VW bus is not a revolutionary at all. Although the second generation only appeared after 17 years in the 1968 model year, it has to be very Type 1 under its body.

Clear development guidelines: Everything stays the same

The engineers try hard When developing the new VW Bulli, the T2a, in the then best Volkswagen mentality, to design a new car that hardly differs from its predecessor. After three years they succeeded. Then all T2 versions start: panel vans, flatbeds, double cabins and, of course, the bus. It has grown by 14 centimeters, but the wheelbase keeps the Beetle size of 2.40 meters. The new VW Bulli looks different, especially from the front. With its panoramic windshield, it no longer looks as grim as the T1, but more like a smiley monster.

From the rear, however, the T2a models are difficult to distinguish from the late T1 due to the small taillights. When it comes to technology, too, the VW boys manage to avoid drastic innovations - with the exception of the semi-trailing arm rear axle, which at the time was the most modern design in the entire group. But at least she has the decency to hide shamefully deep in the stern. The old front handlebar rear engine layout is defiantly kept alive. And of course there is an air-cooled boxer engine in the spacious motor basement apartment - we had nothing else. Initially, there was only the slightly larger by 91 cubic centimeters and thus - due to the curb weight increased by 105 to 1,265 kilos - imperceptible three horsepower 1.6-liter.

In 1972 there was a major facelift

With 47 hp, the VW Bulli accelerates so temperamentally that, on the other hand, even a Mercedes-Benz 200 D Strichacht goes off like a dragster. Probably only because Volkswagen tinkers a little on all the cars every year out of habit and the technicians in 1970 couldn't think of anything else to do with model maintenance, they treat the six-wheeler in a fit of performancethen another three horsepower. But that has to be enough - not only for the rest of the production time of the T2 Bulli, but also in the T3 until 1982. The T2 only got a second, more powerful engine in 1971 - the 1.7-liter flat boxer from the 411. It costs 675 Mark surcharge, but also brings a brake booster and radial tires as a dowry.

So that the machine fits in, the small VW Bulli has a new rear end, and then has larger taillights. VW builds the T2 in this form for just one year. As early as August 1972, the front was also ruffled up: the front turn signals were then next to the fresh air grille, the steps on the front doors were moved inwards - this marked the start of the T2b series. Our photo T2 belongs to the rare interim series. On June 14, 1972, Bernhard Winkler registered his orange and white VW Bulli in Augsburg.

Over the next 25 years, he will look after the VW Bulli a lot and drive it little - especially not in winter. In 1997 he sold the eight-seater to Klaus Sonnenberg. It keeps the VW Bulli in excellent condition and wins the prize for the most original T2 at the big VW bus meeting in Hanover.

'VW Bus Eight-Seater L' instead of 'Clipper'

Originally the successor to the T1 Samba was supposed to be called the Clipper. But PanAm objects. This is how the noblest T2 is called 'VW Bus Eight-Seater L'. Volkswagen has packed the two-tone paintwork, lots of chrome on the front, windows and sides and, on the early models, the large steel sunroof in the L package. Inside, the living room is neatly furnished with synthetic leather sofas, the sides completely and carefully papered, and superbly processed. At that time, a large ashtray hangs naturally in every row of the VW Bulli. Today the bus looks almost small from the outside. Only eight centimeters longer than a VW 1600 Type 31, it offers space for eight inside. The three on the front bench should already know each other better from the body-friendly Summer of Love or Commune 1.

The truest Volkswagen

The passengers get into the rear of the VW Bulli via the sliding side door, which is standard on the T2. Once it has picked up speed on its rails, it rolls with the force and noise of a freight train in the direction of the castle and can hardly be braked in front of obstacles in the train. In the third row there is most of the legroom, so that the super cool, who always sit right at the back, can really relax. The seats with the best views in the VW Bulli are on the two-seater bench in the middle - directly under the open sunroof.

The front of the VW Bulli is also great - thanks to the narrow roof pillars and high seating position But above all because of the large panoramic windscreen. At the beginning, bus newcomers are irritated by the fact that they are sitting directly above the axle in front and the car is right in front of their toesthin front sheet ends. Four meters further back, the starter twitches the flat boxer awake. Even when idling, the VW Bulli-Boxer has a clear Porsche accent in its sound. He is allowed to do that, after all, it drives the 914 - further developed to a two-liter. Like all VW and Porsche boxer engines, the Seventeen Hundreds looks behind its small hatch like a washing machine from behind.

A little gas, then the engine in the VW Bulli thuds off. Pull out the cane handbrake lever a little, push it a quarter turn clockwise and forwards, then the brake releases the rear wheels. Gear in. When the clutch softly engages, the little VW Bulli rears up briefly and pushes its nose with the proud VW emblem forward. It doesn't really accelerate too much. If the accelerator pedal, which is far to the right, is pressed flat, the locomotion feels energetic - but harshly interrupted by awkward gear changes. By the time the four-speed box at the rear understands what the driver is stirring up at the front using the creepy gear lever, it is usually already nibbling on the wrong gear ratio. So shift slowly and emphatically, gracefully tune the transmission with intermediate couplings.

Outside the city, the stirring quickly comes to an end. Because the boxer of the VW Bulli not only likes to turn, it also offers powerful pulling power so early that from 50 km /h, almost everything works in high gear. That's good, because as soon as the wind hits the side of the little VW Bulli, it takes all of your attention so that the Volkswagen sprints on its side of the road.

More than 40 years of production

It takes a while for course corrections to be made subtly using the large, steep steering wheel of the VW Bulli succeed enough. Directly translated, the steering reacts sharply and initially lets the VW Bulli zigzag hectically on the road. With a little practice, however, it can be driven almost quickly. A merit of the chassis, with which the T2 faces all situations courageously and well equipped. Softly tuned, the VW Bulli leans significantly to the side in curves - because of the high seating position, this looks more rocky on the inside than it looks on the outside.

On the other hand, the T2 springs empty and loaded on the level of an upscale sedan. In addition, with the excellent traction that is typical of the rear engine and the high ground clearance, it also makes progress on muddy parking lots at open-air concerts or in easy terrain. Maybe the VW Bulli is the truest Volkswagen. It drives like a bug, and with its extremely reliable technology and unshakable workmanship, it promises never to let its crew down. In addition, the VW Bulli is a really classless car. It was just as popular with communards as it was with local authorities.

For example, the police and protesters often traveled to the anti-nuclear power demonstration in the same car, freezing in winter because of the overwhelmed conditionsHeating and feared for the health of the third cylinder, which was sometimes feverish, in the hot summer. As with the Beetle, no more modern competitor can seriously jeopardize the success of the Type 2 VW Bulli for a long time. The VW Bulli only weakens briefly in the third generation - but only until it receives a water boxer in 1982. The T2 only realizes the difficult years of its successor from a distance. After his production stop in Germany, he emigrated to Brazil. Even today it plops off the assembly line in Sao Bernado de Campo. There they raised his roof and - at least not until 2006 - took away the air-cooled boxer and replaced it with a water-cooled 1.4-liter boxer.

Recently, a couple of small, air-cooled buses returned to Germany and were the old ones when they were new. In over 40 years the T2 had not given up its principles and ideals of the '68 model year - unlike some flower children, hippies and revolutionaries. Peace, dude.

Now there is a new edition. A VW dealer from the Netherlands brings the T2 from Brazil to Europe. It starts at 26,001 euros. More on this here.


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