Yep, this is sad news indeed – after a staggering 56 years the iconic VW bus will stop production in Brazil at the end of this year – making it the longest production model in automotive history. Tears are already being wiped and epitaphs written in anticipation as bus fans, surfers, and just about everybody who’s ever owned one will now begin a collective mourning process to mark what will no doubt be seen as the end of an era for Dub enthusiasts the world over…
It’s reported that health and safety has put the kibosh on things, insisting that the older style bus should really have anti-lock brakes and airbags to make it safe and because this will involve too much expense, it is to be finally shelved.
The only slight chink of light in an otherwise pitch-black year end premonition is the fact that VW Brazil has announced a special limited edition to mark the bus’s final demise. Fittingly called the Kombi Last Edition, the numbered collection of the last 600 vans to roll off the line will feature two tone blue and white paintwork with whitewall tyres, white hubcaps and distinctive ’56 anos – Kombi Last Edition’ logos. The theme will be echoed inside with blue fabric curtains, cool ‘50s looking two-tone vinyl seats and tinted windows.
The internal side, door and cargo panels are also upholstered in Atlanta Blue vinyl and are finished with decorative stitching. The cabin and luggage area floors are fitted with carpet and dilour Basalto inserts, the same material that covers the spare tyre. The instrument cluster boasts a special serigraph treatment and keeps the traditional Kombi design of speedometer at the centre and fuel gauge on the right. The MP3 sound system has red LEDs and features auxiliary and USB ports so it can easily to wired up to blast out your favourite toonz as you cruise along.
It will also sport the same 78bhp 1.4-litre water-cooled petrol engine as the existing van line up – so we imagine it will feel broadly as flaccid as earlier vans with all of its nine seats occupied. Not that going stupidly fast was ever a bus thing anyway; the whole experience was far too good to rush.
Given the bad news, we expect demand for the Kombi Last Edition to be virtually fever pitch. If the Última Edición (the last Beetle) is anything to go by, we reckon most will fall into the hands of collectors keen to keep alive or at least mothball the spirit of adventure that it totally epitomises which, given the huge continued interest in buses, is unlikely to die or even diminish anytime soon.
Pass the Kleenex.