Air-cooled VW History

VW Type 2 Names and Nicknames

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Like the Beetle, from the beginning, the Type 2 earned many nicknames from its fans. Among the most popular, at least in Germany, are VW-Bus and Bulli (or Bully) or Hippie-van. The Type 2 was meant to be officially named the Bully, but Heinrich Lanz, producer of the Lanz Bulldog farm tractor, intervened. The model was then presented as the VW Transporter and VW Kleinbus, but the Bully nickname still caught on.

The official German-language model names Transporter and Kombi (Kombinationskraftwagen, "combined-use vehicle") have also caught on as nicknames. Kombi is not only the name of the passenger variant, but is also the Australasian and Brazilian term for the whole Type 2 family in much the same way that they are all called VW-Bus in Germany – even the pickup truck variations. In Mexico, the German "Kombi" was translated as "Combi", and became a household word thanks to the vehicle's popularity in Mexico City's public transportation system. In Peru, where the term Combi was similarly adopted, the term Combi Asesina (Murdering Combi) is often used for buses of similar size, due to the notorious recklessness and competition of Lima bus drivers to get passengers. The Portuguese people also have a particular name for it: they name it "Pão-de-Forma" (Breadloaf) because its design resembles a bread baked in a mold. Similarly, in Denmark, the Type 2 is referred to as "Rugbrød" (Rye bread). Finns dubbed it Kleinbus (mini-bus), as many taxicab companies adopted it for group transportation; the name "kleinbus" has become an appellative for all passenger vans.

In America, however, it is a VW bus, a "vee-dub," a hippie-mobile, hippie bus, or hippie van, "combie", Microbus or a Transporter to aficionados. The early versions produced before 1967 used a split front windshield (giving rise to the nickname "Splitty"), and their comparative rarity has led to their becoming sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. The next version, sold in the USA market from 1968 to 1979, is characterised by a large, curved windshield and is commonly called a "bay-window". It was replaced by the Vanagon, of which only the Westfalia camper version has a common nickname, "Westy".

It was called Volksie Bus in South Africa, notable in a series of that country's TV commercials. "Kombi" is also a generic nickname for vans and minibuses in South Africa.

In the United Kingdom, it is known as a "Campervan", "hippy van" and "vdub".


bus, kombi, bulli, hippie, microbus