The Volkswagen Kombi started life at the Wolfsburg factory in 1949, it has now become an iconic vehicle. In Australia recently prices have sky rocketed for all types of Kombis, whether it be a ‘splitty’ or a bay window, classic car lovers are fighting to get their hands on one. While we can all sit back and admire the crazy prices for a Kombi, not many know why they have become so valuable. But don’t worry because the Part Hunter Blog will tell you all you need to know!
After the success of the Beetle, Volkswagen recognized the need for a more commercial vehicle. Initial tests in the wind tunnel produced atrocious results, making the early prototype not much different to a brick. Due to this, the split window design was born. By splitting the windscreen (with other changes) the drag of the Kombi was reduced by more then 30%. An improvement on the Beetle. The first two variations produced was the “Commercial” van and the “Kombi” people mover. It was not until 1950 that the most well known variation, the “Micro-Bus” rolled off the assembly line. As a result of its popularity , over 10 variations were offered over the lifespan of the Kombi.
So why is the Volkswagen Kombi a lovable icon?
The rise of a free lifestyle in the 60s and 70s really drove the admiration of the Kombi. Being able to drive off into the sunset with your friends in a car that looked ‘groovy’ but also spacious made it desirable. The looks of the Kombi were different to over cars at the time. The varying colors, patterns and uses, as well as the split windows made it stand out of the crowd.
Volkswagen began marketing the Kombi as a family car, one where you could take your family and friends out for a day trip. Therefore families during these time grew up either owning or knowing someone that owned a Volkswagen Kombi. Everyone was familiar with the now iconic car, and many good memories would have been created in one. Think about it, Kombis are most popular among people now in their 50s, 60s and 70s. It is this generation that grew up as children and young adults in a culture that revolved around the Volkswagen Kombi. The price and popularity is driven by this group of people who now have the money to purchase something that reminds them of past times. Simply, increased demand will inflate the prices. One could argue that Volkswagen made millions, but the genuine models from the 1950s to 1960s in original condition are becoming rarer.
What is my opinion on the Kombi?
There is no doubting the Volkswagen Kombi is one of the most iconic cars ever. I never grew up in the time when they were produced, so I had no experience first hand. From my perspective, this classic car offers something different. It has that retro look that just screams “60s & 70s!”.
Think about it, Kombis are most popular among people now in their 50s, 60s and 70s. It is this generation that grew up as children and young adults in a culture that revolved around the Volkswagen Kombi.
Similar to the Beetle, the Kombi was produced in the millions and there were reasons for this. Mainly, it was rugged and durable. These days many cars made in the same period are nightmares to look after, but the Volkswagen Kombi is an exception. In my opinion the Kombi is a perfect classic car. Other people admire it, it is usable in daily tasks, and it is considered a very good investment.
In conclusion though, if I had $100,000 to spend on a classic car it wouldn’t be a Kombi. Why is this? Maybe because I didn’t grow up with it, my childhood memories don’t include the joy of a journey down the coast packed into the back of a Kombi. Or maybe because I simply can’t afford the price tag…..