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The history of the VW Transporter van

The history of the VW Transporter van

The VW Transporter is the highest selling van in history with some 12 million units sold worldwide, Vansdirect takes a look back at the iconic medium van and its evolution through the years.


History of the Volkswagen Transporter

With Volkswagen vans revealing that a facelift of the iconic Volkswagen Transporter van is on its way, Vansdirect takes a look back at where it all began for the Volkswagen Transporter van and how it has been adapted and modified through the years, from the T1 to the T6.1!


VW Transporter T1 - (1950-1967)

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Nicknamed the 'Bull' the T1 was originally derived from the Volkswagen Beetle, and was the first member of the Volkswagen Transporter family, enjoying an impressive seventeen year lifespan undergoing various tweaks along the way. The T1 had a rear boxer air-cooled engine with the windscreen divided in two (known as 'split screen') and was the first of a kind of van.


VW Transporter T2 - (1967-1979)

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The various versions of the T1 had sold a staggering 1,800,000 units before Volkswagen vans decided to bring out the Volkswagen Transporter T2 in 1967. The T2 was an updated version of the T1 with enhanced safety features and larger windows offering more light and better visibility, the much sought after split window was no more.


VW Transporter T3 - (1979-1990)

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In 1979 after massive sales from the first two generations of Transporter, the T3 arrived with a less favourable response to the market. The body of the van had been redesigned for enhanced visibility and spaciousness, however this meant it weighed more but still used the same engine from its lighter predecessors. However in 1981 a four-cylinder diesel engine came on board adding pulling power both on the road and in the dealerships.


VW Transporter T4 - (1990 - 2003)

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Six million Volkswagen Transporter vans had been sold by 1990, however Volkswagen vans didn't rest on their laurels, deciding to revolutionise the design with the introduction of the T4. The engine was moved to the front of the van and a selection of two wheelbase options and three payload categories became available. Sales of the VW Transporter rocketed, making the T4 the must have van for tradespeople.


VW Transporter T5 - (2003 - 2015)

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2003 saw the introduction of the VW Transporter T5 to the UK new van market with significant improvements to the suspension and interior of the van. The state of the art T5 received a 2-litre diesel engine as standard with a choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or 7-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic transmission for a powerful and smooth ride in whichever of the variety of models you opt for: panel van, crew van, kombi, California Camper or Caravelle.


VW Transporter T6 - (2015-present)

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65 years after the debut of the Volkswagen Transporter T1 debuted, the sixth generation of the iconic medium van was launched, with Volkswagen vans completely achieving their goal of developing a van which drives like a car. A plethora of different engine and model pairings mean the van is still incredibly popular with tradespeople, but also with a modern holiday maker hoping to retain something of the iconic campervan feel, but searching for a more reliable, quieter and safer ride than in a modified original.


Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 - 2021

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Volkswagen vans have recently revealed the latest version of the Volkswagen Transporter van, named the Transporter T6.1. As the name suggests it is not a complete overhaul and seventh generation of Transporter van, but more a comprehensive update which includes a larger unified grille and refreshed taillights at the rear to give the new van a more modern appearance. There's also a host of added technology for the T6.1 van, a modified interior and the introduction of an all-electric Volkswagen e-Transporter model.


Which generation of Volkswagen Transporter van was your favourite? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!


Volkswagen Transporter vans on finance

Can't wait for the VW Transporter T6.1? Vansdirect has a range of VW vans readily available with cheap van finance options including van leasing, contract hire and hire purchase. Interested? Simply fill in a contact form or call us on 0800 169 69 95 to get the ball rolling today!

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