This year marks the 60th since the first right-hand drive Volkswagen Transporter rolled into the UK and grew its reputations as one of the most iconic commercial vehicles and motorhomes in the country.
Certainly, the classic T1 camper is one that has become somewhat of a symbol of popular culture and is now sought after by many would-be mechanics who enjoy working on classic cars.
At the time, the T1 was more practical than any other commercial vehicle on the road, with its simple and clever engineering. Since then, it has grown to become one of the biggest selling light commercial vehicles in the world.
Back in the year it was released, 1954, 786 left-hand drive VW Transporters were imported into the UK but since then it has grown in popularity both with holidaymakers, British businesses and others. Last year, the van sold 18,350 in the UK. This success has also been felt elsewhere in the world, with total global production standing at 11.5 million units.
It has transformed through five generations, with its most recent T5 having been released for the first time in 2003.
The original idea for the Transporter owes its life to British innovation. It was thought up by Major Ivan Hirst, who was designing a load-carrying vehicle that was based on the Beetle platform. He was a senior British army officer who was in charge of re-commissioning the post-war Volkswagen factory.
To help with moving parts around the factory, he ordered the creation of the flat-bed truck, which was named the Plattenwagen. During the mid-1940s, a visiting Dutch importer called Ben Pon was visiting the factory when he noticed the invention and decided to take the idea further.
The concept was welcomed by Volkswagen but it wasn’t until 1954 that the factory was able to gain the resources for production, take the idea to the drawing board and construct it.
After getting an introduction in its home country, the T1 was showcased for the first time in the UK at the Earls Court Commercial Motor Show.
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