The Volkswagen van, symbol of the sixties, is now 60
Few vehicles are cooler than a Volkswagen van. Few vehicles are older either, the trusty VW workhorse celebrating its 60th year.
The Volkswagen van, the vehicle that powered the free-love generation, provided utility transport for the masses and workmen alike is 60 this year. And remains as hugely popular today as it was when it was conceived. Yet it had humble beginnings, starting off as a means of transporting heavy panels around Volkswagen's production facility.
Even so, the Volkswagen van has become a modern icon. Those original models were based on Beetle mechanicals (thankfully things have moved on with the current T5 models), and yet, for a vehicle designed with utility in mind were really quite beautifully styled. Early split screen examples are still hugely sought after, the best changing hands for tens of thousands of pounds - try that with a rusty old Transit or Bedford van...
And Volkswagen realises the importance of the culture that surrounds its commercial - so it's holding a celebration to mark its 60th year. Stephan Schaller from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Germany explains: "Scarcely any other vehicle invokes as many emotions as the Volkswagen van. It is a real cult vehicle and has stood for fun, independence and travel as well as business success. We want this event to celebrate the unrivalled legacy of Volkswagen vans and the future."
The celebration will take place in Germany at the Hanover exhibition centre from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October. As is usual at these events there'll be prizes for the best vehicles by category, with displays and convoys of classic examples. Club stands and auto jumble and an open-air cinema showing films in which VW vans feature will all be at the event.
As will a band with their roots in the '60s... Sounds like fun to us; for more details see www.vwn.de (in German, but with lots of pictures).