Vintage VW Bus stylings of the 1960s & 70s inspired the new 2024 VW Microbus

Take the Bus - VW bus in orange from 1977

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The vintage VW bus is a true icon of its time, with a distinctive shape, colorful paint job, and unique charm. Get ready for some good vibes and sweet nostalgia as you scroll through these old VW bus photos and retro marketing materials we’ve collected.

Buzz is also building for the much-anticipated relaunch of the old VW bus in the US! Not only is it full-on retro in aesthetic, but it’s eco-friendly electric. From Car and Driver magazine:

We have been waiting for this moment since the Vanagon retired, but after more than 30 years, and many unfulfilled hints at an earlier return, Volkswagen is finally bringing back its iconic Microbus as an all-new EV.

The 2024 VW ID.Buzz, the modern incarnation of the classic Volkswagen Bus, is faithful to Volkswagen’s classic vans of the Sixties and Seventies in appearance, while utterly modern under its capacious shell.

How do you think the new one compares?

Volkswagen van 2023 European model - ID buzz
Volkswagen van 2023 European model – ID buzz

1962 VW Bus: Red Vintage Volkswagen camper van

What are you staring at? Haven’t you ever seen a station wagon before?

Breaking traditions is a kind of a thing with us. We once introduced a can that looked like a beetle. So we felt that a Volkswagen Station Wagon ought to bring something new to the party, too. This one seats 8 people or a small elephant. And it’s only 9 inches longer than a Volkswagen Sedan.

For elephants, playpens and pianos, there’s a doorway almost 4 feet wide. And for long things like a tree, you get a hole in the roof. It not only lets the tree out but the sunshine in.

You get the headroom of a bus. And 23 windows to look out of. And a sunroof. (Moon-roof after dark.) And a walk-thru seat so you can easily swat the children. (This joy is optional.)  And so we come to the price. Ready? $2655.* Maybe you’ve never seen a station wagon before, at that.

1962 VW Bus - Red Volkswagen Van camper

1960s VW Bus: All of a sudden, it stops looking funny

If you think a Volkswagen Station Wagon is just a funny-looking car, maybe you never saw one fit in a space that regular wagons have to pass by… and when you realize how each stuff you could put inside that thing, like the Christmas someone drove one to their mother’s with six people and the crib, the high chair, bicycles, luggage, presents…

Room? you couldn’t ask for more and an air-cooled engine that starts in the morning 1-2-3 — and when you stop at a gas station, $3 fills it up — and you don’t have to worry about gas for maybe 3 weeks.

 And take kids for instance. “Are we going in the Volkswagen bus?” and they say “Yay!” and clap their hands — and if it’s a glorious day you can slide the sunroof back and let a little of the glory in — and all of a sudden, it stops looking funny.

1964 Volkwagen van - VW bus

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Take the VW Bus: The vintage Volkswagen van (1977)

If your family is a crowd, you have four choices. You can jam them into a sedan, pay the price of a station wagon, bounce them around in a van, or… Take the Bus.

Take the Bus - Green VW van - 1977.

Mom-mobile revolution: Versatile 80s & 90s minivans completely replaced station wagons

Family transportation: Take the bus

Why spend all that money and wind up disappointed? Instead, you could have the most practical family wheels anywhere, the new 1977 Volkswagen Bus. The vehicle that carries the most for the least cost. The vehicle that AUTOWEEK says “might be the real best all-around car in the world.” Just see how the Bus compares.

A sedan? No contest, of course. The VW Bus has yards more room inside.

So how about a station wagon? Surprise: the Bus gives you almost 70% more interior space than a full-size domestic station wagon. In fact, the Bus is almost as big inside as a van. But the Bus is beautifully finished and a lot more comfortable. Comfort to us is not an option.

Take the Bus - VW van - May 1977

And here’s the pay-off. According to the 1977 EPA tests, the VW Bus gets an estimated 28 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg in the city with standard transmission. (Of course, your actual mileage may vary depending on your driving habits, your Bus’ condition and optional equipment.)

So when you consider that the VW Bus gives you that kind of economy along with its tremendous capacity, you realize why it’s such a great choice for family transportation. And that’s not all. The VW Bus is very versatile. The rear seat folds down to provide extra carrying space, and that big sliding door lets you load all kinds of outsized cargo.

It’s fun to drive, too. There’s an optional automatic transmission, and independent torsion-bar suspension on all four wheels. And the powerful 2-liter engine has electronic fuel injection for super efficiency. So to avoid making costly errors, visit your Volkswagen dealer. You’ll love that low bus fare.

The VW Camper: Next time you go camping, take the Bus

Introducing the ’77 VW Camper Bus. And what a fabulous idea. The VW Bus may be the most versatile and most comfortable family vehicle ever. And in the Camper Bus version, it may be the most civilized recreational vehicle ever. You can go anywhere in comfort, because the VW Camper Bus has everything, including the kitchen sink.

MORE: These vintage 1970s Winnebago motor homes were supposed to be like condos on wheels

Take the Bus - VW camper van - March 1977

Take the Bus - VW Volkswagen camper van - May 1978

It’s more fun to take the Bus (1978)

Economical family transport doesn’t have to be dull…

Has the size of your family driven you into a car you can’t afford? Does the car that fits your budget squeeze the fun out of your family? If so, you’ve missed the bus. The 1978 Volkswagen Bus.

The ’78 Bus costs less than most big station wagons. And to run, it’s ahead by miles. The Bus’ peppy, fuel-injected, two-liter engine is not only quiet, it’s also very economical. It helps the Bus deliver an estimated 25 mpg on the highway, 17 in the city with standard transmission, according to the 1978 EPA tests. (Of course, actual mileage may vary depending on how and where you drive, optional equipment, such as automatic transmission, and the condition of your Bus.)

Take the Bus - VW Volkswagen van - Dec 1977

And nothing beats the Bus for family fun. It’s easy to park, easy to handle, and it gives everyone in your family enough elbow room to relax in comfort. With space left over for your dog, your luggage, or just about anything else you want to carry. The Bus is 70% roomier inside than a full-sized domestic station wagon. And with the Bus’ eight picture windows, everyone in the family gets the best seat in the house.

And that’s not all. The VW Bus is very versatile. The rear seat folds down to provide extra carrying space and that rear hatch and big sliding door lets you load everything from antiques to zithers. So, when you want to uncramp your family’s style, nothing compares to the Bus. See your Volkswagen dealer today. And prove to yourself it’s more fun to take the Bus. The 1978 Volkswagen Bus.

Take the Bus - Blue VW van - 1978

Introducing the 1977 VW Bus

If a sedan is too small, a big station wagon too expensive, and a van to uncomfortable, take the Bus! (Ad from February 28, 1977)

Take the Bus - Introducing VW van - 1977

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. When I was a kid, I thought VW Buses were the coolest things ever, especially the camper variety. My cousins had one, and I was so envious! I think I might give the new versions a serious look when I’m in the market for a new van.

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