Dreams of the Perfect Microbus

Cars Culture

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When VW introduced their Microbus concept at the geneva show of 2001, there were ripples of excitement through the bus-loving universe. The VW transporter series, which evolved from utilitarian wagon for the post war impoverished, through to icon of hippie and surf culture, to the apogee of the class and fixture in workshops, campsites and surf beach car parks the world over.

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Though later generations of Transporter had legions of fans, something of the curvacious essence of the original split screen, multi-windowed wagon had been undoubtedly lost in the boxy Type 3, 4s and 5s. Sure they were just what you needed if your lifestyle involved beaches, mountains and campsites, but where was the deeply encoded cool that existed in the factory design of earlier versions. At last, it seemed, the heritage was going to be honoured.

But the thing is, the Microbus never materialised. No real explanation was ever forthcoming from the press machine of VW. Like so many concepts, it seemed to be lost to the annals of Brilliant Cars that Never Were.

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But, Montreal-based Canadian designer Alexandre Verdier looks set to rekindle the dream of a truly cool campervan with his Diesel Hybrid, solar-power augmented special. Apparently the vehicle is being distributed by VW North America, presumably using a platform based on the Microbus concept. According to various web reports the order book is full for the next two years and available models are retailing between $69K and $129K.

Weather or not this beautiful creation turns out to be yet another chimera, the interest generated in the project should surely make VW reconsider the viability of a factory version.

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