Memories of driving around in a VW Kombi 1



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Is there a more enduring symbol of the free-lovin’ 60s than the Kombi van? The vehicle was an icon of the 1970s with its roomy interior perfect for a nomadic, hippy lifestyle. It has been used by hippies, surfers and backpackers for decades and is symbol of fun, freedom and the open road.

Since the iconic Kombi first came out in the 70s, it has become a relic of the hippy era gone by, and even to this day we can see the van on album covers, in movies and even on our streets.

The concept for the Type 2 came from Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon. He first sketched the van in a doodle dated April 23, 1947, and the rest they say is history!

Did you know in the German Language, Kombi is actually short for “Kombinationskraftwagen”? Most of us knew them as Kombis but other names you may have used were ‘Hippyvan’ and ‘Vee Dub’.

Production in Germany stopped in 1979 because it no longer met European safety requirements. The VW plant in Mexico stopped producing the classic version of the van in 1995, leaving only the last remaining factory on Sao Paulo’s outskirts which closed in December 2013.

Kombi lovers should not fear, because the vans are well known for their durability! They’ll be around for many more decades to come…

What memories do you have of Kombi vans? Did you ever own one?

Some have colourful designs painted on them…

A photo posted by Rafael (@highraff) on

While others are used as a wedding car!

They were always amazing at the beach

A photo posted by Kellie Mcpherson (@kelmac91) on

The colours were always eye-catching

A photo posted by Vantigosf (@vantigosf) on

This one’s been converted into a food truck.

Do you remember the interior?

A photo posted by BOBBERHNH (@hnh1982) on

Look at those seats!

A photo posted by BOBBERHNH (@hnh1982) on

A beautiful white Kombi

A photo posted by Hire Love (@hirelovevintage) on

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  1. My dad’s Kombi for his TV/white goods repair business was also our family transport while he was starting out in about 1965. I learnt to drive in it…. and later, working for him, drove it out on service trips… so I got to know their good points…. and bad…. Later when I got itchy feet at 20 (1971) a mate of mine and myself purchased a Kombi (1963+/_) and at my parents we ‘fixed’ it up… bunks, found a old 6V valve radio for it and I painted it up with artwork that probably scared every teenage daughter parent in Australia… We replaced the main oil seal in the engine…. which I think led to the ‘fun’ on our trip to Sydney. We had to replace the crankshaft pulley that drives the engines fan just before leaving Victoria after smoke came out of the heating ducts….Then a few kilometres up the Princess Highway in NSW after I changed gears on a hill I couldn’t get drive back…. starter motor spun, but no engine turn over…. We had no money, so begged a service station to store the Kombi while we hitched to Sydney… We got jobs… got a suss old VW motor and got it and us back down the coast…. When we pulled the original motor out the flamin’ flywheel feel out on the ground…. I’m not sure if our torque was right when tightening up the flywheel bolt when we replaced the main seal, but I think the overheating didn’t help either…!!!!! It got what was called back then a Repco reconditioned motor and it got us up to Darwin… I left the trip then and returned to civilisation…. but the guys returned to Victoria months later, one of them rolled the Kombi… the engine and my traveling mate ended up in the same shared house in Melbourne (still hippies…) He put the engine in a VW bug and months later he asked me to check things…. couldn’t gap a tappet…. I said that was bad…. it dropped a valve soon after…..

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