VW Bus Bonanza or Final Friday? Both names are incredibly accurate, since I’m ending this series with the final run of the VW Kombi, a limited edition of just 1200 cars.
We never got the T3 or “higher” VW Buses here, but the T2 changed so much from its introduction that I’m dubbing this version the T2.5. After being introduced in ‘76, just two years after that it got another carburettor, and got a little extra juice of that 1,600cc engine. The next big technology improvement, however, came only in 1983.
Due to stricter safety regulations, it got disk brakes on the front, head rests and three point seat belts for the front seats. And that’s it, lol. Since Kombis sold like hot cakes (or popsicles in the summer, as we say here), VW had little reason to change a very lucrative product. It remained in production without any change for 9 years, when in 1992 it got a catalytic converter due to emissions regulations.
But it didn’t take long, only 5 years, for the biggest change. In 1997 VW changed the project, introducing the higher roof, a sliding door and those high air intakes, that many people dubbed as its “ears”. Next year, yet more changes due to emissions: It got electronic fuel injection.
It was a very well received innovation. The Kombi now had more power, drank less fuel and was more pleasant to drive on overall. In 1998 a special version, named Carat was also introduced, being very luxurious. It had 7 velour clad seats, and it was the only VW Kombi in Brazil to not have a bench seat on the front! So swag!
In 2000, the production of the pickup version ended, and in 2005, due to even stricter emissions regulations, the air cooled engine had to give its farewell. To celerate, VW produced the Kombi Série Prata (Kombi Silver Series), limited to 200 units with every single option that a Kombi could have, and some more they made just for the Pratas.
So, for the next year, VW managed to put the 1.4l flexifuel engine from the VW Fox on it. Being watercooled, they had to cool the engine somehow, so they put this radiator on the front. With the high roof, sliding door, radiator, etc, I think this deserves to be dubbed the T2.5. Finally, in 2007, VW was celebrating the 50th production anniversary of the Kombi, and produced the Kombi 50 Anos, a very limited run of just 50 VW Kombis, painted in a two tone burgundy and white.
Each one had a every possible option, and a little metal plaque with the number on the dash. VW also included a diecast model of the very first VW Kombi produced in Brazil, but I couldn’t find a photo of it. This is amazingly rare, and some guy on my university has one!! I see it almost every day, is so cool :D
But it only got 6 more years of life... In 2013, due to safety regulations, VW realized it would be impossible to adapt the project to put the newly mandatory double air bags and ABS on it. Plus, being a car where the bumper is your forehead, it was obviously unsafe at any speed. So they announced they would make 600 units of this special Last Edition series. But, they thought everybody would love to buy a almost R$90k Kombi, so they pumped the production to 1200 units!
Sadly, some of them become “dealerwarmers” (like pegwarmers), due to the high price. But most of them were sold. It came with everything: Matching colors window curtains and upholstery, white wall tires, AM/FM stereo with CD player, USB and bluetooth (no Kombi came with it). This was also the very last model of DeAgostini’s Brazilian car collection.
For comparison, here’s the real deal:
And that’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new! I really enjoyed doing this special, and due to the very positive reception it got, I may do it again :D
Thanks for the audience!