A Short History Of The VW Type 2 'Splitscreen' (cont.)
Early Type 2’s were powered by the 1131cc air cooled; flat 4 engine, mounted on a transaxle transmission. With the engine producing a heady 25hp, performance wasn’t what you’d call blistering, but the van was capable enough. VW used an ingenious method of reduction boxes on the bus to make the most out of the limited power available, these reduction boxes came on all Split screens; they effectively operated as another gearbox, and provided more torque at the expense of higher engine revs, and a slower top speed.
1953 saw VW upgrade the power plant to 1192cc 30hp unit, and then in 1955 the compression ratio was increased. In 1959 VW unveiled a new version of the 40hp engine, this however, proved to be so unreliable that all the buses equipped with the engine were all recalled and fitted with a the previous unit. A few vans did escape the recall, and if you were to find a running example of one these today, it really would be a survivor as the engine was discontinued with immediate effect, and as such has no parts support whatsoever.
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