The second generation of the Volkswagen Transporter (sold in the USA from the 1968 through 1979 model years) have been too beneficial for genuinely broke hippies to own for a minimum of the last quarter-century, which implies that not-so-broke Transporter enthusiasts have driven up their prices enough to maintain nearly all rough examples from ending up in automobile graveyards. Through the last 16 years of documenting interesting discarded vehicles, I’d photographed just a well-stripped ’71 and a battered ’78 prior to today’s bus, which met its junkyardy fate in the identical way that far too many air-cooled VWs have over the many years: fire.
Before we get to the sad a part of this story, let’s speak about this Transporter’s day job during happier times. It was owned by the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau, presumably because Boulder is often called a haven for VW Bus-loving hippies (or a minimum of it was known for that, back when real hippies—wealthy in principles and poor in dollars—could afford to live there).
The BC&VB has a beloved orange second-gen Transporter named Delilah, which is supplied with a photograph booth and will be rented out for events. I am unable to find much online evidence for Delilah’s blue sibling; there’s a 2018 Instagram post showing this bus on the University of Colorado campus and a post from the identical 12 months on the BC&VB’s Facebook page soliciting suggestions for a reputation. Violet, Blueberry, Moonbeam, Indigo and Pearl were listed as possibilities. Possibly this van burned soon after that after which spent five years awaiting repairs that never got here.
I considered calling up the BC&VB and asking about this VW, but I didn’t wish to traumatize anyone by bringing up the painful subject of the deceased companion of Delilah. Sure, I cheered the destruction (by Caterpillar D9) of an orange second-gen Transporter as a 24 Hours of Lemons official back in 2009, but I understand how someone might need grow to be attached to a T2 Transporter that wasn’t a clattering, disintegrating rusty-ass hooptie.
I’ve owned a few air-cooled Beetles and I’ve known of several owned by friends that burned to the bottom. Back when air-cooled VWs were common sights on American roads—say, the center Nineteen Fifties through the early Nineties—there have been lots of fires involving these cars. The explanation for that’s the results of Ferdinand Porsche’s inexpensive Nineteen Thirties technology: the cylinders and particularly cylinder heads of those engines get very popular, after which the engine’s constant vibration jiggles the fuel lines and filter at the identical time the flexible fuel hoses deteriorate within the stifling engine-compartment heat.
Gasoline finally ends up pouring onto hot engine parts and a fireplace starts. Sometimes the warmth causes the oil cooler to burst, which adds a fresh source of fuel to the inferno. By the point the driving force realizes what’s happening, it’s always too late; all you’ll be able to do is pull over, get out, and watch helplessly because the flames eat your entire vehicle.
Consider it or not, it was possible to purchase a brand new 1978 Volkswagen Transporter with a three-speed automatic transmission, and that is what this van has. With just 67 horsepower and 101 pound-feet from its 2.0-liter boxer-four engine, most buyers took the four-speed manual.
The MSRP for this van would have been $7,420 with the automated, or about $36,223 in 2023 dollars. Minivans were still a half-dozen years off when this van was recent, so there really weren’t some other mainstream selections for American vehicle shoppers who wanted a small, fuel-efficient van in 1978.
Starting with the 1980 model 12 months, the Volkswagen Vanagon became available in the USA. The Vanagon had an air-cooled engine until a water-cooled version arrived here in 1983. US-market sales of the Vanagon continued through 1991, with the Eurovan taking on in 1993.
In relation to station wagons, it’s more fun to take the bus!
This Article First Appeared At www.autoblog.com