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60's Air Cooled VW Bus Nomenclature

I’ve always like the look of those 60’s VW air cooled busses that have the sort of curvy “V” pattern on the front, the “V” dividing two shades of paint usually. There’s some other air cooled VW bus styles, one is called a “Bay” I think, but for me the one with “V” pattern on the front is what I think of when I think of a VW Bus. What is that style called? I think I heard it called a “Microbus”, a “Split Window” (or just the number of windows, like “a 12 window”), a “Camper”, etc. Anyone know the proper nomenclature to refer to a VW bus with the “V” pattern on the front?

The Type 2 vw bus made from 1950 to 1967 all had that “v” on the front, no matter the model. Now some were painted two tone which really highlighted the “v” though they all had it.

The bay window bus refers to the 1968 to 1979 bus.

Emissions regulations made the aircooled engines obsolete and obsoleted that model. I tend to think of it as the true original “minivan”. I just read recently that VW is going to stop making the VW busses entirely. The world moves forward.

I wonder: when the bus bodies rot away, do the plastic flowers remain?

@ the same mountainbike

They say


I rode in one of them one time. From a hilltop on the peninsula to a SF Giants baseball game. Downhill was ok. Uphill, coming back, very slow. Right hand lane all the way, couldn’t keep up with traffic. But that is part of the charm of owning one of these busses, go slow and smell the roses. And that if you sit up front it feels like you are about to fall out onto the road, you sit very close to the front surface of the bus.

I don’t think any of them had more than 50 hp.
I miss the good old days.

Waaay back ( mid 60s ? ) I had a book called ‘‘the jokeswagen book’’…’‘a grabbag of volks jokes for volks folks and normal people.’’. a small 6 3/4 x 7 1/4 , 100 page ( or so ) book of hand drawn cartoons around the smallness and the slowness of VWs back then.
Those of us who remember the old beetles can relate.
The humor is lost on my yung’uns.

I have not tried to net-search that book yet but maybe youall can.

“Rolling Death Trap” comes to mind…

Jeremy, the teenage boy in the comic strip “Zits” drives a VW bus. In the strip, there are always problems with the bus. I like the strip, but I wonder if readers from a younger generation can relate to this vehicle.

Here’s a lot of info:

Yeah, DrRocket beat me to it. Those were death traps. On the freeway, I’d just keep my bug floored all the time. Slowed on the hills and gained again. Most of the time you could hit 65 or so with it.

In the '60s, when I had my '61 Beetle, we just thought of them as cheap transportation. Only in later years did we begin to realize they were death traps.

My '61 was blue with white racing stripes and the old bumpers with the tubular pieces. It looked like a football helmet. And yes, it was barely able to get out of its own way. But hey, I was a HS kid and it was the '60s! I didn’t care!

I owned a couple of those buses way back when but mine were the ordinary versions; not the 21 window or Westfalia, etc.
The last was a '59 model that I had converted to a '67 engine for more power; or at least more than it was born with.

I turned that one into my hippie bus with a gold metalflake daashboard and lime green shag carpet from one end to the other. It really went well with the white over red exterior. :slight_smile:

The biggest fear while piloting a VW Bus is having to make a panic stop… :frowning:

Here in Mexico, the VW buses are still in use on certain routes, but not in Mexico City. However, they also are mostly using much newer models. Something called the Euro, which I think is like a 12 passenger van, probably also a VW, but modern.

And, yes, they will make the last one any day now, in South America.

I also owned a VW bus back in the early 70’s. It was a blue 1963 model with mostly white interior. When the engine finally gave out…I gave the bus to my father-in-law. He removed the engine and rebuilt it for his Beetle and used the bus body as a chicken coop.

Tom McCahill tested one in the 50s and it was called the VW Microbus. It went on to becom the ultimate hippy wagon and many Californians were conceived in this contraption.

Thanks to all for the great info. The wikipedia link provided by @Texases is especially informative about the commonly used naming nomenclature of the various versions. From what I can tell if I say “Type 2/T1” that will always refer to some version of the VW bus with the curvy “V” front side.

In the Uk you can buy a new one imported from Brazil (under a loophole) but at roughly the same price as a modern version of what was sold in the US as the Eurovan. A slightly modernized version of the 70’s design with a water-cooled engine.

The term split window refers to the windshield. Older ones had two piece windshields, some even popped out for ventilation.
Some models had a row of windows set into the roof edge, above the side windows. That’s the 12 window model. Expen$ive and collectable.

Sometimes I go to this small jazz club to listen to live tunes, and one of the bands has a VW bus of this vintage for hauling their instruments, etc, and this early 60’s two toned air cooled VW Microbus is a thing of beauty. It’s in like new condition, the inside furnished and appointed to the nines. There’s simply nothing new on the road as attractively styled today.