photo credit: Allen Watkin, Flickr
Bands, sports stars, and car brands are all susceptible to the sophomore slump. Can anyone but trivia nuts name Meatloaf’s second album? When’s the last time you thought about Rick Mirer? And let’s not forget, the Fox-body Mustang was a huge gamble that fortunately paid off for enthusiasts everywhere. The Mustang II moved units in spite of its lackluster performance and bland design.
There are, as always, grand exceptions to the rule.
If the Volkswagen Beetle is the company’s most recognizable car, the Type 2 (known as a Kombi, Microbus, or Transporter depending on geography) is a close runner-up. In 1947, Dutch importer Ben Pon drew up a first draft of a spacious, economical people and stuff mover based on the brand new VW Beetle. Engineers ran with it, and the Type 2 was born. It’s a triumphant piece of design. The basic look continued from 1950 to 1979. The original Type 2 was even produced as a NEW VEHICLE until 2013 in Brazil. After a wildly successful VW ad campaign by now legendary firm Doyle Dane Bornbach, counter-culture buyers transformed these pedestrian but cute utility boxes into something of their own social movement. Thanks in part to linking with Westphalia to make camper versions, the Microbus has become synonymous with hippie culture. Ever since, Volkswagen vans of all kinds have been sought after for those seeking to grab a piece of that sweet, sweet van life for themselves. While the Vanagons of the ’80’s and the Eurovans of the ’90’s have their own cult followings, nothing quite entered the American psyche like the original Type 2 Microbus.
Now, spurred on by the success of full electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, and the entire Tesla line, Volkswagen sees an opportunity to reintroduce some of that sophomore magic with the ID Buzz, an modern electric with its feet (tires?) planted firmly in the past. Set to launch in 2022, the next generation of tradesmen, adventurers, and dreamers will have a worthy mascot once more.
Take a look at the concept in action!
Photo credit: Volkswagen
Video: Fully Charged Show
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