Whatever you call it—the camper, the microbus, the hippie van, the breadloaf—the classic VW bus is one of the most iconic cars in the world.
The VW bus debuted in 1950 and became a counterculture icon the following decade; a tie-dyed microbus was the perfect vehicle for free-spirited hippies on the go.
Volkswagen America stopped importing the bus in 1979, but the classic vehicle lived on in other parts of the world, notably Germany, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. Production worldwide gradually tapered out, and eventually, Brazil was the only country still producing the beloved passenger van (in Brazil, it’s called the VW ‘Kombi’).
Sadly, the Kombi’s days are numbered. Volkswagen do Brasil recently announced they will end production of the vehicle after a record-breaking 56-year run. The final limited edition, called the Volkswagen Kombi Last Edition, will feature 600 light blue and white buses with a numbered plaque inside. See photos of the limited edition Kombis here.
The retirement of the VW bus marks the end of a pop culture era, too; the classic vans have played important roles in movies throughout the years.
A vintage VW bus named Fillmore (voiced by George Carlin) appears in Pixar’s Cars as the stereotypically hippie owner of an organic fuel shop:
The 2006 indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine makes affectionate fun of the VW bus, featuring an ongoing storyline of a vintage bus whose door keeps falling off, and which has to be pushed downhill to start.
And, of course, there’s Scooby Doo’s ride of choice, the psychedelic-flower-festooned Mystery Machine:
And if you’re reading this on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, you may even have a VW bus to thank; legend has it that Steve Jobs sold his VW van to finance the start-up of Apple Computer.
What are some of your favorite VW bus memories? Tell us in the comments!