The Volkswagen Transporter was first produced in March 1950, making this month its 60th anniversary. The popular van has subsequently sold over 10 million units worldwide and gone through five generations of evolution. The latest T5 facelift was launched in the fourth quarter of 2009 and comes in styles such as the people-carrying Caravelle as well as the campervan California.
That first model, the T1, featured a four-cylinder, air-cooled, 1.1-litre petrol engine typically fitted at the rear end. It made 18 kW (25 PS / 25 bhp) and could muster a top speed of 97 km/h (60 mph) when really pushed.
In comparison the latest T5 model is powered by a 2.0-litre common rail turbo diesel unit pushing out between 62 kW (83 bhp / 84 PS) and 132 kW (178 bhp / 180 PS), and can run up to 192 km/h (119 mph).
Over the years the Transporter became an icon for both business and leisure use. From rock bands to fleet managers, to families of seven, people bought it for its generous interior space and comfort.
HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY TO THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR VAN
Production of the Volkswagen Transporter van officially started in March
1950 and during the 60 years since then it has become one of Volkswagen
Commercial Vehicles' best-selling models globally, the number one imported
van in the UK as well as one of the most iconic and popular vans in the
With over 10 million produced, the Volkswagen Transporter has evolved
through five generations of functional and practical bodystyles, each
representing the ultimate multi-purpose vehicle of its time and loved by
business and private users alike for transporting goods or people for work
or leisure. This unique heritage is the focus of the current ‘Evolution of
Van' advertising campaign for the new Transporter which was launched in the
UK in January.
The first T1 ‘split-screen' model was powered by a four-cylinder,
air-cooled, 1.1-litre petrol engine mounted at the back of the vehicle. It
produced 25 PS of power and had a top speed of about 60 mph. By comparison,
the new Transporter enjoys the refinement of Volkswagen's latest 2.0-litre,
common rail, turbocharged diesel engine, available with power outputs
ranging from 84 PS to 180 PS and a top speed of up to 119 mph, plus the
latest stability control systems and braking technology that would have
sounded like something from a science fiction novel 60 years ago.
Although the design has evolved over the years, the first and the latest
Transporter share the same badge on the front and the same design principles
of a generous loadspace and an enviable reputation for quality and
Similarly, comparing the latest Volkswagen California with a T1 campervan
shows that both make efficient use of the space available to create a
vehicle equally suitable for daily trips to work or the shops, as for
weekend escapes or continental capers.
Over the years, Volkswagen Transporters have endured challenging round
the world trips by enthusiastic travellers, been used as the preferred
choice of travel for rock bands since the 1960s to the present day, and been
relied upon by many businesses needing a fleet of delivery or passenger
The first Transporter was imported into the UK in 1955, and the latest
version of the van as well as today's people-carrying and campervan
versions, the Caravelle and California, arrived in the UK this January, 55