After 53 years of production in Brazil, the end of the road for the last of the classic VW Bus/Transporters (T2) is in sight. Since the T2 Kombi can’t meet safety regulations that come into effect beginning with the new year, here’s your last chance to buy a new one and bring it home with you, if you just really have to have one.
The curious thing about the Brazilian-built Kombi is that it was never quite exactly the same as the German one. The earliest version (above) had different passenger doors: two separate front-hinged doors instead of the usual barn-door arrangement. Presumably that gave better access to the two full row of seats in the high density eight-nine passenger version undoubtedly favored there.
And then for decades, the definitive Brazilian bus had the front end of the post-1968 German bus (T2) married to the back three-fourths of the original bus T1), with its many “Samba” windows, resulting in what is best called a T1.5.It was probably an expedient thing to do, like so many things VW in Brazil. It does go to show that the T1 and T2 bodies were of very similar basic size in order to match up like that.
Eventually, the Brazilian Kombi got the full T2 body, most likely after German production ended. Of course, the old air cooled motor is long gone, replaced by a multi-fuel (alcohol or gasoline) water-cooled 1.4 liter four. But its output is still deeply in 1968 territory: 78 hp, at a low 4800 rpm. That’s not much more than the old boxers of yore.
There it is, nestled in it little compartment, but now accessible from the top, not via the back hatch like buses I remember so well. All things must end, even the classic VW Bus.