The Volkswagen Type 2, known officially (depending on body type) as the Transporter, Kombi or Microbus, or, informally, as the Bus (US) or Camper (UK), is a forward control panel van introduced in 1950 by the German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model. Following – and initially deriving from Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1 (Beetle) – it was given the factory designation Type 2.
As one of the forerunners of the modern cargo and passenger vans, the Type 2 gave rise to forward control competitors in the United States in the 1960s, including the Ford Econoline, the Dodge A100, and the Chevrolet Corvair 95 Corvan, the latter adapting the rear-engine configuration of the Corvair car in the same manner in which the VW Type 2 adapted the Type 1 layout.
The concept for the Type 2 is credited to Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon. (It has similarities in concept to the 1920s Rumpler Tropfenwagen and 1930s Dymaxion car by Buckminster Fuller, neither of which reached production.) Pon visited Wolfsburg in 1946, intending to purchase Type 1s for import to the Netherlands, where he saw an improvised parts-mover and realized something better was possible using the stock Type 1 pan. He first sketched the van in a doodle dated 23 April 1947, proposing a payload of 690 kg (1,520 lb) and placing the driver at the very front. Production would have to wait, however, as the factory was at capacity producing the Type 1.
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