A photo for Sunday – 1979-1992 VW Transporter (T2)

The vehicle here could be said to chime with our monthly theme, passengers. Further, the vehicle itself is a place to stay when you get to your destination. 

1979-1992 VW Transporter: air cooled and slow. Best left parked.
1979-1992 VW Transporter: air cooled and slow. Best left parked.

I notice that none of the Transporters that I ever see are well-cared for in a cosmetic sense. Rust is always there somewhere. The passenger saloon with its fold down tables and simple bench seats are almost always littered with debris. I don’t imagine that the owners’ home is similarly strewn with discarded items such as cables, cartons, items of clothes or old boots. Why the difference?

While at one level these machines are vehicles they also seem to ask to be treated like an old rucksack or cycle pannier. Over time these pieces of baggage accumulate things at their bottoms which are ignored indefinitely. What makes this sort of treatment odd in this case is that the junk is in plain view. I suppose the way these vans are treated is indicative of the lifestyle of the owners. If they are not too busy with daily life, they are out driving (very slowly) in search of a quiet spot to call home for the day or night. When they get back, the luggage is removed and the rest left to moulder until the next adventure beckons.

1979-1992 VW Transporter (T2)
1979-1992 VW Transporter (T2)

Passengers are a big part of these vehicles’ purpose though I don’t think life inside a T2 is all that comfortable. While spacious compared to a saloon car, the interior is smaller than a train or private aeroplane. Busses have nicer seats. If it was a stationary container, you’d call it a small space. This van has a bench seat in the back and a fold-down chair and table right behind the driver.

The rest of the floor space is free, barring the debris. An extra was a small electrically-powered cooler box. Sometimes these T2s have a very, very tiny kitchen, not a lot bigger than the kind of item IKEA have in toy form for kids. I suppose some people even have them equipped with portable toilets which I’ve never seen and which I hope are properly sealed. Since this one does without the roof addition, the owners are willing to camp outside the safety of their vehicle.

Really nice ones have a sunblind one can pull out from the cant rail. Then you sit outside in the shade and listen to the VW’s radio. The vehicle has then become a beach hut.

In the spectrum from sports car to stationary object, the T2 lies on the less dynamic end. You can tell it’s supposed to move because of those wheels. The vertical face and slab sides indicate it would be happier standing still. For some this inertness is poison. And for others it speaks of a romantic idea of parking by a quiet lake, getting out the barbecue and camp stools and settling down for an evening of peaceful relaxation.

Driving was a necessary evil. This then is very much a vehicle where it better to arrive than to travel.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

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