No, the picture above is not that of a fully restored 2012 Volkswagen Kombi that is still in production in Brazil... for now. Due to tougher safety regulations, the Kombi's days are numbered as Brazil's government is requiring all new cars to come with dual front airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard equipment. No word on a replacement for the long-lived Kombi, but it won't be the VW Bulli.

Originally known as the Type 2, the iconic Volkswagen van first debuted back in 1950. Matching its classic styling, Car and Driver points out that the Kombi replaced the original air-cooled engine with a liquid-cooled mill only within the last decade.

Volkswagen has quite a history of squeezing every last year out of its designs between the original Beetle that was produced from 1938 through 2003 in Mexico and the MkI Golf that was introduced in 1974 and ended production in South Africa in 2009.


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  • 128 Comments
      GR
      • 2 Years Ago
      My dad's got a 1976 VW Westfalia Camper with the air-cooled 2.0 liter boxer. It's got a two-burner range, sink, refrigerator, pop-top tent, etc. These VW buses are really something else. He's owned 4 in my life time so I practically grew up in them. We still take it camping occasionally and it's great for that. VW doesn't make cars like these anymore. I really don't think their current products hold much against the competition. These old VWs were the products of their heyday when they cared to define themselves. Now the market defines VW. I plan to keep the VW camper and keep it running, one day for my own kids to go camping in.
        Teleny411
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GR
        As a kid, the guy next door had one completely pimped out. I thought he was so cool for driving that.., :). You are right VW of that era had a personality.
      mr.vw
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wish VW made the bus line transporter, panel, and westfalia again like the micro bus concept.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Love the timeless,simple looks of these vans.
      Street King
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love VW vans and had no idea they were still making them, so I drudged my way around the Brazlian site to find a price. They sell for the equivalent of $23,753 Umm...that a lot for what you're getting.
        wilkegm
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Street King
        If you look at what the rest of VW's cost down there, it's not a bad value- it costs less than a Polo, and a lot less than a Golf (which is a Mk4 Golf!) Its just a lot compared to what cars cost here- like getting a Dodge Caravan for that money. http://www.vw.com.br/pt/carros.html
      Jacob Geiser
      • 2 Years Ago
      I. WANT. THAT. NOW!
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      62 years with the same design? It's like a shark or a coelacanth or something -- right the first time, no need to change. Brilliant job, departed German engineers.
      Leon J. Ramos
      • 2 Years Ago
      In Mexico, we got our Type 2 combis with water cooled engines and a front radiator, since 1988. The engine is the 1800cc from the 4 cylinder Quatum/passat/corsar. It was carburated. We got Fuel Injected combis since 1994. They went out of production in Mexico for 1998. It is legal only for mexican citizens to drive one across the US border. If US citizen is caught driving one, he or she is fined and the vehicle impounded.
        GR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Leon J. Ramos
        Did they look like the one in the article picture with the front radiator? The old air-cooled buses look a lot like them minus the front radiator.
          Leon J. Ramos
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          yes... they were the same... at first didn't had the raised roof, in the early nineties they got that raised roof. the instrument cluster was borrowed from the MK II Golf. The front is a new stamping, for making room for the radiator, wich sits flush with the front of the van. The radiator is mounted in front of it. So it is projected forward. Since the new stamping has an indentation for the radiator and its airflow, you just cant grab a golf engine and radiator and bolt it to a type 2 van. It wont work.
          mojonaut
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          That rules out the idea I had, so!
      delsolo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like the retro look.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bring back the original "Karmann Ghia".
      rockyglen70
      • 2 Years Ago
      The USA should have let VW continue selling the original Beetle here after 1979...but No! It was good enough to be made for another 20+ years............but not for the USA to enjoy. The Kombi is also a nice looking vehicle........... too bad it never seen the light of day here either.
        dugandob
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rockyglen70
        They still make VW Bugs in Mexico. They can't sell them in the states because of the emission control.
        Rock Ranger
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rockyglen70
        My family had a '59 Bug with a sunroof and a 40 horsepower engine replacing the 36 hp mill and a new '69 with a 56 hp engine. Loved them both. Learned a lot about how to pass by managing momentum. It is the limits imposed by an aircooled engine on tolerances that made the bug no longer viable in ever tightening requirements for cleaner exhaust [CARB] (like dugandbob says) and better fuel mileage CAFE]. I am actually surprised a water-cooled version of the Boxer engine wasn't tried before retiring the US bug. Subaru has made theirs succeed. I can imagine the radiator location would have given engineers pause. Plumbing coolant to a front mounted radiator would have meant considerable distance and many points of potential leaks. Still have fond memories of those VWs. Having grown up in So Cal, saw many get a second lease on life as dune buggy conversions. Then, there were those bore kits, Weber carbs, tuned exhaust, larger valved heads. . . Ah, nostalgia.
        Synthono
        • 2 Years Ago
        @rockyglen70
        VW itself didn't want to sell the original Beetle in America in 1979. More modern options for compacts - including VW's own Rabbit - killed the market for the Beetle, and it left due to a lack of consumer interest, NOT because the US didn't allow Beetle sales. One can tell because the fixed roof model left years earlier than the convertible, which left the market immediately after the Rabbit convertible was introduced.
      Hank's Mom
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bring back the Karmann Ghia
        Woodstock
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hank's Mom
        A case of beer would fit underneath of each side of the back seat.......another ton of storage behind the back seat, too.
        BIG Bill
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hank's Mom
        It's called the Audi TT.
      rjackson2a
      • 2 Years Ago
      I always likes the bus. Owned two of them. I don't think air bags would do you much good though when you are always the first one at the scene of the accident.
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