Hippies of the world, light a joint incense stick and offer up a moment of silence -- the air-cooled Kombi is no more. The final example of VW's venerable counter-culture icon rolled off the line at Volkswagen's San Paulo, Brazil factory on Friday. The original mass-production minivan has continued to sell respectably in commercial applications in South America and beyond, but new emissions laws slated to take effect in 2006 means that all future Kombis will be water-cooled, and will thus lose its distinctive beatnik thrum.

The basic design of the powerplant stems from Ferdinand Porsche's 1930's handiwork, and its ease of assembly and maintenance along with its modest consumption have ensured it a place in developing economies long after Europe and North America relegated the design to the scrapheap.

A final commemorative run of 200 ‘Silver Edition’ air-cooled busses have been made, with about 30 of them earmarked for bleary-eyed nostalgics and Luddites in Britain at a hefty premium.

[Source: Motoring South Africa]

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