The Split. 1949 – 1947
The first generation of VW buses with split screens were released. Affectionately called ‘splitties’ by enthusiasts; the name came from the windscreen that sported a sweeping v-line front. The rear air-cooled engine was simple and reliable despite initially only being capable of 25bhp.
The first microbus was rolled out sporting the famous ‘two-tone’ paint, better quality upholstery, and the large iconic ‘VW’ logo attached to the front.
This was the year that saw the introduction of the Westfalia, the name originating from Westfalia-Werke – the contractor that manufactured the vans based in the Westphalia region of Germany. The Westfalia saw the addition of plenty of extra features such as a longer dashboard, plus a radio and a clock. The bodywork saw smart chrome trim added.
The single cab pick-up made its first appearance, and in 1954 the engine size was increased. Around 30 different versions of the transporter were now available, including an ambulance and delivery van. Four years later the double cab pick-up was added to the mix. Production also moved from Wolfsburg to Hannover.
Wide-bed pick-up trucks were made available to buy on special order. Also beginning production was the high roof delivery van. The semaphore was replaced by flashing indicators.
Tomorrow completes our look back at the VW camper van – as we look at the era some would describe as its heyday – the swinging sixties…