It’s impossible to feel sad when you’re in a VW bus.
There are a few things that I wholeheartedly love in this world: The Arctic Monkeys, tiramisu and the Volkswagen bus in all its forms. Whether it’s a people-carrying bus, a converted camper or even a retro pickup, the VW Transporter is perfect in every way. Just like The Arctic Monkeys.
So imagine my excitement when I heard that the German automaker was celebrating all things Transporter with a new class at the super-fancy Amelia Concours d’Elegance car show. The event, which is usually filled with million-dollar motors from the likes of Ferrari, Bugatti and Lamborghini this year cornered off a whole area for these humble buses, and some of the vans that showed up were truly exquisite.
This year’s celebration, which coincided with the 2023 launch of the new ID. Buzz, showcased some of the best first-generation Volkswagen Type 2 Transporters that you can find in America. From flower-power-inspired buses and immaculate pickups, to a restored Type 2 that had its rear wheels replaced with tank tracks, there were some wonderful machines on show.
So, sit back, relax and throw on some Grateful Dead while we enjoy some wonderful chunks of 1950s automotive history.
What Happened to Woodstock?
Let’s kick off this VW Type 2 celebration with this, a faithful recreation of The Light Bus that went on display at the famed Woodstock music festival. As with the original, this replica bus was painted by artist Dr Bob Hieronimus.
You might think this was just a celebration of all things VW, but it was in fact a competition. And, as is always the case, competitions must have a winner. At the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, this 1951 Volkswagen Deluxe 15-Window bus won top marks.
View from the Afternoon
Sure, it’s fun seeing an immaculate Morgan, a pristine Corvette or even a Ford GT in the flesh. But, nothing sparks joy like a well-kept VW bus. Just look how happy all those people seem.
Beige Can Be Cool Too
I’m of the belief that you can paint a VW bus any color and it will still look awesome. Sure, I’d opt for a white over orange combo for my dream Type 2 bus, but this beige example with its polished chrome details is still lovely.
Look into the Tie-Dye and Tell Me What You See
This psychedelic bus dates back to 1959 and is one of VW’s 13-windowed models. With the Type 2, VW offered all manner of layouts for the bus, including a four-door van, five-door minibus, two-door pickup and even a crew cab truck.
What a Wonderful Sight
As well as fire truck VWs and a replica of the iconic Woodstock bus, the Amelia Concours d’Elegance also featured a replica of the VW bus from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which you can just see peaking out in this lineup.
The Only Acceptable Pickup
The VW Type 2 pickup is the only truck that should be allowed on the road, in my opinion. It looks cute as heck, has space for all my hopes and dreams in the back, and never goes quick enough to cause much damage. Perfect truck.
One of the stars of the show, for me at least, is the Half-Track Fox that you see above. This 1962 example came straight from VW’s own commercial vehicles collection.
What’s BetterTthan One VW Bus?
In total, nine historic VW buses were on display at the Amelia Concours d’Elegance, each ranging in age from 1951 to 1967. The vehicles on show included one converted into a fire truck, as well as other meticulously-restored buses.
What Killed the Radio Star?
This panel delivery iteration of the Type 2 was painted blue and finished with the logo of Telefunken, a German radio company. When it was built in 1954, the Type 2 used a modified version of the Beetle’s floorpan and the same 30-hp flat-four engine.
The Concours was Buzzing
The ID Buzz will launch in the U.S. later this year, bringing with it the next generation of VW’s iconic bus. Here in America, we’ll be treated to the long-wheelbase model of the all-electric bus, which will go on sale some time in 2024.
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