In 1947, a Dutch car dealer called Ben Pon famously sketched out a simple, box-shaped delivery vehicle that was based on the Beetle’s chassis. He persuaded the VW factory in Wolfsburg to put the van into production and the first VW Transporter was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in November 1949.
It was an innovative design that maximised the load-carrying capacity of the vehicle, with the cab positioned over the front wheels and the engine mounted over the rear wheels. The Plattenwagen soon became popular as a low-cost, adaptable and flexible utility vehicle. But the addition of removable bench seats, windows, a sliding canvas roof, skylights and higher level trim during the early 1950s meant that the basic panel van was transformed into a multipurpose vehicle. The campervan was born.
This great infographic from WessexVans charts the evolution of the VW campervan over the last 70 years. From a humble panel van equipped with a weekend camping box through to today’s high-spec dedicated camper, the VW campervan has reflected changing cultures across the world. Whether you’re an ageing hippy, a weekend tinkerer, an adventure sports enthusiast, a roadtripper or the proud owner of a gleaming, show-quality van I’m sure you’ll relate to this.
To read more about the history of the VW campervan, including TV adverts from years gone by, visit some of my previous posts: