The Volkswagen Transporter nameplate is now 70 years old, which the Wolfsburg-based firm says equates to the world's longest production run for a commercial vehicle.
Production of the Transporter, which is also known as the Bulli, Kombi or Microbus, started in Wolfsburg on 8 March 1950. VW claims 13 million examples have since been sold.
So, what came before the latest T6.1 model? Well, the T1 was produced from 1950 to 1967 after being revealed as a hand-built panel van prototype in 1949. Eventually, the T1 launched as a rear-engined panel van, passenger van and eight-seater bus. The engine and gearbox came from the Beetle and it offered a maximum payload of 750 kg.
In 1951, the iconic "Samba" model was revealed with all-round windows and folding sunroof, before a pick-up version was unveiled a year later. Production moved from Wolfsburg to Hannover in 1956 while some were even produced in Brazil. By 1967, around 1,9 million people had purchased the T1 with its "splittie" windscreen.
The T2 was built from 1967 to 1979, featuring a new front end and air intake grille. A sliding door was now standard, and the pop-up roof camper version made its debut. Some 2,14 million units were built at the Hannover plant, although production continued until 2013 at the Volkswagen plant in Sao Paulo, breaking the record for longest production period.
From 1979 to 1992, VW built the T3, which featured a wider body offering, more passenger and cargo space, and improved safety. A flat engine, available in diesel, was introduced while a new chassis offered improved handling. In 1985, a raft of innovations were added: catalytic converters, turbochargers and all-wheel drive, while the California and Caravelle became popular. In total, 1,3 million T3s were made in Hannover.
The T4’s production run started in 1990 and ended in 2003, switching to a front-engined and front-wheel drive configuration. Following a 1996 refresh, the T4 was phased out in 2003 with 1,9 million units sold.
VW built the T5 from 2003 to 2015, offering a variety of petrol and diesel engines and an all-wheel drive system. The California was built in Hannover for the first time, while Caravelle and Multivan continued to be popular choices alongside a number of limited-edition models. In total, 1,65 million T5s were produced.
The T6 was produced from 2015 to 2019, with the T6.1 arriving in 2019.