Fans of the original VW camper will be delighted: the VW ID.Buzz, which will be available from your local AMAG branch from September, is visually very much based on the legendary first generation of the VW camper – including the XL badge on the front, positioned vertically as it was back then, as well as the striking two-tone paintwork.
This revival brings back the legendary feeling of freedom that the cult car celebrated from the 1950s onwards – but it is now truly sustainable for city and countryside driving, as a practical vehicle for the whole family, for weekend trips with friends or even as the perfect commercial vehicle.
The history of this vehicle’s cult status can be traced back 75 years. It was Ben Pon Senior (1904-1968) who drew the first sketch of a VW camper in April 1947, without realising the great hype he would unleash.
The Dutch importer, aged 43 at the time, is regarded as the inventor of the VW camper since he was inspired by a visit to the VW plant in Wolfsburg (Germany) to create a transporter based on the flat-bed vehicles used internally at the plant. He fabricated it himself using an old Beetle chassis as a starting point. He sat down and sketched his dream car on a piece of paper in just a few strokes.
This sketch is particularly valuable since it is now displayed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. And Ben Pon Senior’s dream came true: the VW engineer developed his idea further and presented the first prototype of a VW Transporter fewer than two years later.
Another year later, serial production began for the vehicle affectionately known in German as the “Bulli”. To this day, it has not been documented how this nickname came about. Some claim that it originated by combining two other German words together: "Bus" meaning bus and "Lieferwagen" meaning delivery van. Others think that the car was got its nickname because of its beefy exterior.
In any case, this new vehicle became very popular very quickly: in Germany, the economy recovered quickly in the 1950s following the war and years of hardship, and a van for tradesmen, hauliers and the post office came in handy. Special models were also built for the police and for use as ambulances. The “Samba” version of the camper also became a holiday vehicle, the perfect vehicle to suit the car tourism boom that championed heading to the North Sea, the Mediterranean or the Atlantic – in other words, it was the mother of all motorhomes.
In the 1960s, the vehicle crossed the pond and surfers went from beach to beach in California in a VW bus, and the flower power generation turned the van into a brightly painted hippie bus. This versatile vehicle had truly gained cult status by this point. The camper became a symbol of freedom and independence – and has remained so to this day.
Its legion of fans grew more and more over the decades: even today, many owners head on road trips across Europe seeking the sights and smells of adventure. Some fans even meet up together and go on shared journeys along winding roads. In many cases, original versions still bumble along the roads, lovingly cared for by their owners.
The T1 generation of the VW camper was manufactured up until 1967, then the T2 rolled off the production line for 12 years. It was very similar to its predecessor, but was slightly larger and had a full-length windscreen, serially installed sliding door and an improved chassis.
The 1980s version of the VW bus, built from 1979 onwards, differed significantly from its predecessors – the T3 was more angular and again bulkier. Visually, the T4 (built from 1990 onwards) had very little in common with the original “Bulli” – it represented a completely new Transporter generation with front-wheel drive.
Since then, the VW bus has by and large remained true to this altered appearance. From 2003 onwards, the T5 particularly stood out as a multi-talented vehicle with three roof heights and more cargo capacity. Then in 2015, the T6 arrived with new engines, even more intelligent assistance systems and a new infotainment program. The T7 has been driving around the streets as a multi-van since 2021.
Parallel to this, however, work has also been done in recent years on an electric VW bus, which will be available in AMAG branches next autumn – it almost coincides with the 75th birthday of the cult car first invented in 1947. While it may be a revival of the original model from the 1950s, it is now fully electrified and futuristic. The VW ID.Buzz is based on VW’s own modular e-drive system (MEB) for electric vehicles, in which the battery is integrated between the axles in the underbody, in keeping with the skateboard principle.
The electric motor and electronics are placed on the rear and/or front axle. In addition to the all-electric drive, the ID.Buzz clearly demonstrates we have arrived in the digital age thanks to numerous technical refinements. A touchscreen, various sensor fields and voice control are just as integral as the latest assistance systems and automated parking. The seats can be turned at the touch of a button.
Charging the ID.Buzz is like child’s play. It is based on the “Plug & Charge” function included in the software. This means that you can easily plug in at the charging station and simply charge the battery without needing a charging card or anything else.
The car connects itself to the charging point and shares all the necessary data. The smart vehicle also features bidirectional charging: any unused electricity can be fed from the car back into the owner’s home grid.
The latest version of the “Bulli” is truly multi-talented. The car has space for five people and offers 1121 litres of luggage volume – there’s nothing to stop you enjoying your next holiday trip. While travelling in the ID.Buzz, passengers almost feel as though they’re in a lounge. If there are fewer people but more (sports) gear on board, the second row of seats can be easily folded down to increase the luggage capacity up to 2205 litres.
But the VW ID.Buzz has also been designed with tradesmen in mind – as a cargo version, it offers 3.9 cubic metres of load space and sufficient transverse space for two fully loaded Euro pallets. It is also the ideal office on wheels for managers. Thanks to the high degree of connectivity, you can work from anywhere, any time.