By Erik Meltzer <email@example.com>
Pictures: [ 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 ]
Model Year 1968. Succeeding the Splitty, the T2 Transporter, nicknamed Baywindow or Breadloaf, is being presented. It is equipped with a 1600cc single port engine that delivers 47hp, and still has its predecessor's drum brakes. It's quite loud inside, because VW are still experimenting with the drive rubber mounts and the insulation of the doors and such. But at least we have an independant rear suspension and a single-piece windscreen. Only breakdowns are what we shouldn't have - there's no hazard warning blinker circuit yet.
Model Year 1969. The pushbutton style door handles, a leftover from the Splitty, are discontinued, as are the door locking pins. The thief has a little more hassle in getting into the van now - the locking buttons are now incorporated into the inner front door handles. Pity about the chromed inside rearview mirror - it's now finished in plastic, but it can be had tilting now. And now our bus may break down once in a while - the hazard warning circuit is now standard equipment.
Model Year 1970. No (well, less) need to be afraid of the big bang: the front end is strengthened with two additional frame members. An additional frame member is also the reason for the less tinny sound of the front doors closing. The front beam mounting bolts are now 14 centimetres apart instead of previously 10. The rear wheel bearings, brake drums and brake mounting plates are altered. The inside rearview mirror is now located two centimetres farther up, allowing a better view. The gearbox lever is lengthened a bit so that the driver needs not bow quite as far to switch gears.
Model Year 1971. If you're still afraid, calm down: disc brakes are introduced, and a brake booster offered as an option. Just having altered the rear brakes and wheel bearings, VW do it over again. The rear wheel arcs are a bit wider now to accommodate the wider wheels, which have ventilation holes and flatter hubcaps. Having redone the brakes this extensively, VW can now risk it to offer more power too - tremendous three horsepower are added with dual port heads and a bigger carburettor, bringing the total to a mind-boggling 50.
Model Year 1972. A whole new rear end. The unnerved sports car driver behind us can rest his view on our larger taillights and air intake louvres. Maybe he also notices that our engine lid is a little narrower, and that the rear apron cannot be unbolted anymore - that's for safety, in case he rear-ends us. But we can hear him blowing his horn now: a different transmission mounting (with additional mounting points in the clutch area) and altered rubber silent blocks for the engine mounting bar take the inner noise level below 100 decibels. We also can make overtaking a little harder for him, if we decided to opt for the 66hp 'pancake' engine. The "computer" (i.e. punching card) diagnosis is introduced - a socket in the engine bay accepts the connection to the apparatus. The front wheel arcs are widened sportively to enhance our sexy looks, but practicability isn't forgotten: the relocated tank flap allows us to fill the tank with the sliding door open.
Model Year 1973. Those who always disliked the box-shaped bumpers on the Bug will now cry with pain, because now the Bus too features them. But we can now think about a head-on collision without too much fear, as the front bumper hides a small but effective crumple element. Safety first - the brakes too are enhanced yet again. The front turnblinkers are relocated above the headlights, next to the slightly reshaped front air intake grille. The front VW roundel is a bit smaller now. So shall be our biceps, because the steering is changed to minimize the force needed. We're finally shown what those red and blue levers on the dash are for - symbols tell us now: Red is for switching the heating between cold and semi-warm (left lever) and for directing what little warm air we get onto our feet or to the windscreen (right lever). This lever could only be operated with the right foot before without the eyes leaving the road. There's just one blue lever left, which now for both sides switches the fresh air flow from on to not quite off. But there's a new switch on the steering column - Volkswagen decided that the windscreen wipers are to be operated like that now.
Model Year 1974. The 50 hp engine now is coded AS - it's not become faster, but its case is strengthened, and it's said to produce less poison. The performance orgy that began with the Type 4 engine reaches a new climax: 68 hp from 1800cc now. The tank flap is discontinued - we can't forget closing it anymore.
Model Year 1975. We aren't as cruel as it seems - car thiefs are welcome again, the door locking pins are back. And the clock shows the passing of seconds now - time is getting scarcer, or so it seems. Starting the van isn't as easy though - the key is inserted from above now. The outer sliding door handle looks totally different now, and works worse - but it's cheaper, beng the same one as in the new VW LT van. Another horror of today's tasteful bus owners is introduced: the brown interior. It's bought enthusiastically, more often than not with such confusing paint colours as Nile Green or Bright Orange. And, last but not least, the deluxe chrome trim is moved down from the beltline to the height of the door handles.
Model Year 1976. To avoid blinding the driver with the lately found colorfulness of the interior, the instruments now are coloured black. Type-4-powered buses give ecstasy to their drivers now, delivering full 70 horsepower from 2 litres complacement. This also led to a strengthened gearbox. Due to more rigid smog laws, VW modify the carburettors on all models: the idle revs rise, the exhaust CO content is said to have fallen. Now, did anybody ever notice?
Model Year 1977. The gap continues to grow: the 50 hp engine gets smaller intake valves. With single front seats, there are no more walls behind them. And to help cope with the brutal power of the 50 hp engine, its clutch is enlarged from 200 to 215 millimetres of diameter.
Model Year 1978. The age of computers is over - at least with Volkswagen: the diagnosis socket in the engine bay is discontinued. Instead there's a heavier padded steering wheel now, which won't cost so much drivers' teeth anymore. And the big sliding windows are introduced as an option, which today are a sought-after item with bus people.
Model Year 1979. The end is getting near. Everyone now gets three-point safety belts as a standard, and the "Silberfisch" (silver fish, as we call it in Germany) is introduced. Sunroof, 70 hp engine, lots of chrome, silver metallic paint, tinted glass, and an interior done in dark blue vinyl help us cope with the farewell that comes with the new model year.
Model Year 1980. It's over. The T3 is introduced, with edges and corners all over - but at least the engine still is where it belongs: in the rear! Through its first years the T3 even sports aircooled engines. And the T2, sturdy one that it is, is far from dead - it continues to be produced in Brazil... to this day!
Front Door Handle.
The old style is the same as in the Splitty from 1963 on and similar to the Bug's one in Model Year 1967.
Interior Rearview Mirror.
Chrome instead of plastic, but tiltable as an option.
Back to Description Model Year 1969
Interior Rearview Mirror .
Two centimetres further up, with apertures in the sunvisors.
Back to Description Model Year 1970
Rear Wheel, Hubcap and Wheel Arc.
The wheel is wider and farther out, the hubcap is flattened to compensate.
Back to Description Model Year 1971
Taillights and Engine Lid.
The single most distinctive change in the T2's history. Oh, we do also have complete pictures of both the old style with and without reversing lights, and of the new one.
Air Intake Louvres.
Is it the Type 4 engine needing more airflow for cooling, or is it about the looks? Anyway, this isn't necessarily a change to the worse - which unfortunately can't be said for everything here.
Front Wheel Arc.
Only one year after the introduction of disc brakes and the wider wheels coming with it, they noticed that now the sides got dirty...
Finally we can fill the tank with the sliding door open - which makes us accept the more modern shape easily.
Back to Description Model Year 1972
Front Blinker and Bumper.
Rear end last year, front end now - the changes are almost done with. Again note the change in the front wheel arcs, which occurred in '72.
Fresh Air Intake.
The new model has a reshaped and slightly wider grille. Also the VW roundel was reduced in size, here with a Westfalia spare wheel mount.
Back to Description Model Year 1973
Another hole less for corrosion to breed in - but honestly, doesn't the new one look cheap? Originally it was in black coloured plastic by the way, and not painted in body colour like here.
Back to Description Model Year 1974
Sliding Door Handle.
When pulled up, the old style pulls the door's rear edge closed - with the new style it can only be closed with momentum. But to compensate, you can now unlock a door from the outside that was locked from the inside, and vice versa.
Back to Description Model Year 1975
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Last edited on May 9th, 2004