Volkswagen Type 2 T2 Second generation
|1967 to 1979|
|Production||Aug 1967–Jul 1979 (Europe and US) 1971–1996 (Mexico) 1976–Dec 2013 (Brazil)1981–1986 (Argentina)|
|Assembly||Hanover, Germany Emden, Germany General Pacheco, Argentina São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil Puebla, Puebla, Mexico Melbourne, Australia|
|Body and chassis|
|Platform||Volkswagen Group T2 platform|
|Engine||1.6 L B4 (petrol) 1.7 L B4 (petrol) 1.8 L B4 (petrol) 1.8 L I4 (petrol) 2.0 L B4 (petrol)|
|Transmission||4-speed manual 3-speed automatic|
|Wheelbase||2,400 mm (94.5 in)|
|Length||4,505 mm (177.4 in)|
|Width||1,720 mm (67.7 in)|
|Height||2,040 mm (80.3 in)|
In late 1967, the second generation of the Volkswagen Type 2 (T2) was introduced. It was built in Germany until 1979. In Mexico, the Volkswagen Kombi and Panel were produced from 1970 to 1994. Models before 1971 are often called the T2a (or "Early Bay"), while models after 1972 are called the T2b (or "Late Bay").
This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split front windshield, and was slightly larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor. Its common nicknames are Breadloaf and Bay-window, or Loaf and Bay for short.At 1.6 L and 35 kW (48 PS; 47 bhp) DIN, the engine was also slightly larger. The new model also did away with the swing axle rear suspension and transfer boxes previously used to raise ride height. Instead, half-shaft axles fitted with constant velocity joints raised ride height without the wild changes in camber of the Beetle-based swing axle suspension. The updated Bus transaxle is usually sought after by off-road racers using air-cooled Volkswagen components.
The T2b was introduced by way of gradual change over three years. The first models featured rounded bumpers incorporating a step for use when the door was open (replaced by indented bumpers without steps on later models), front doors that opened to 90° from the body, no lip on the front guards, unique engine hatches, and crescent air intakes in the D-pillars (later models after the Type 4 engine option was offered, have squared off intakes). The 1971 Type 2 featured a new, 1.6 L engine with dual intake ports on each cylinder head and was DIN-rated at 37 kW (50 PS; 50 bhp). An important change came with the introduction of front disc brakes and new roadwheels with brake ventilation holes and flatter hubcaps. Up until 1972, front indicators are set low on the nose rather than high on either side of the fresh air grille – giving rise to their being nicknamed "Low Lights". 1972's most prominent change was a bigger engine compartment to fit the larger 1.7- to 2.0-litre engines from the Volkswagen Type 4, and a redesigned rear end which eliminated the removable rear apron and introduced the larger late tail lights. The air inlets were also enlarged to accommodate the increased cooling air needs of the larger engines.
In 1971 the 1600cc Type 1 engine as used in the Beetle, was supplemented with the 1700cc Type 4 engine – as it was originally designed for the Type 4 (411 and 412) models. European vans kept the option of upright fan Type 1 1600 engine but the 1700 Type 4 became standard for US spec models.
In the Type 2, the Type 4 engine was an option for the 1972 model year onward. This engine was standard in models destined for the US and Canada. Only with the Type 4 engine did an automatic transmission become available for the first time in the 1973 model year. Both engines displaced 1.7 L, DIN-rated at 49 kW (67 PS; 66 bhp) with the manual transmission and 46 kW (63 PS; 62 bhp) with the automatic. The Type 4 engine was enlarged to 1.8 L and 50 kW (68 PS; 67 bhp) DIN for the 1974 model year and again to 2.0 L and 52 kW (71 PS; 70 bhp) DIN for the 1976 model year. The 1978 2.0 L now featured hydraulic valve lifters, eliminating the need to periodically adjust the valve clearances as on earlier models. The 1975 and later U.S. model years received Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection as standard equipment; 1978 was the first year for electronic ignition, utilizing a hall effect sensor and digital controller, eliminating maintenance-requiring contact-breaker points. As with all Transporter engines, the focus in development was not on power, but on low-end torque. The Type 4 engines were considerably more robust and durable than the Type 1 engines, particularly in Transporter service.
In 1972, for the 1973 model year, exterior revisions included relocated front turn indicators, squared off and set higher in the valance, above the headlights. Also, square-profiled bumpers, which became standard until the end of the T2 in 1979, were introduced in 1973. Crash safety improved with this change because of a compressible structure behind the front bumper. This meant that the T2b was capable of meeting US safety standards for passenger cars of the time, though not required of vans. The "VW" emblem on the front valance became slightly smaller.
Later model changes were primarily mechanical. By 1974, the T2 had gained its final shape. Very late in the T2's design life, during the late 1970s, the first prototypes of Type 2 vans with four-wheel drive (4WD) were built and tested.
The T2c, so-called because it got a slightly raised roof – by about 10 cm (3.9 in) – in the early 1990s, is built for the South American and Central American markets. It can be imported into other countries, such as the United Kingdom.
Since 1991, the T2c has been built in México with the water-cooled 1.8 L inline four-cylinder 53 kW (72 PS; 71 bhp) carbureted engine, easily identified by their large, black-coloured, front-mounted radiators, and since 1995 with the 1.6 L air-cooled engines for the Brazilian market.
Since production of the original Beetle was halted in late 2003 as a 2004 model, the T2 remained the only Volkswagen model with the traditional air-cooled, rear-mounted boxer engine until the Brazilian model shifted to a water-cooled engine on 23 December 2005. There was a 1.6 L 50 hp (37 kW; 51 PS) water-cooled diesel engined version of the T2, which was manufactured from 1981 to 1985 in Brazil. This version was very economical – values from 15 km/l to 18 km/l are reported – but it suffered from low performance and an insufficiently capable cooling system, which led to short engine life.
The end of the Volkswagen air-cooled engine on a worldwide basis was marked by a Special Edition Kombi. An exclusive Silver paint job, and limited edition emblems were applied to only 200 units in late 2005, and were sold as 2006 models.
More onerous emissions laws introduced by the Brazilian government for 2006 forced a shift to water-cooled engines. The new "Flex Fuel" water-cooled engine will run on petrol as well as alcohol. Borrowed from the Volkswagen Fox, the engine is a rear-mounted EA-111 1.4 L 8v Total Flex 1,390 cc (84.8 cu in), 58 kW (79 PS; 78 bhp) on petrol, and 60 kW (82 PS; 80 bhp) when run on ethanol, and 124 N·m (91 lbf·ft) torque. This version has been very successful, despite the minor changes made to the overall T2-bodied vehicle. It still includes the four-speed transmission, but with a new final drive ratio it can cruise at 120 km/h (75 mph) at 4,100 rpm. Top speed is 130 km/h (81 mph). 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) is achieved in 22.7 seconds (vs. 29.5 seconds for the last air-cooled version). Improvements were made with 6.6% better fuel economy, and nearly 2 decibel (dB) less noise (again vs. the air-cooled version).
The Volkswagen Type T2 is by far the longest model run in Brazil, having been introduced in September 1950 as the Volkswagen "Kombi", a name it has kept throughout production. The fierce competition from European front-wheel drive newer generation vans still cannot match the Kombi's unparalleled cost-benefit equation. Only produced in two versions, bus (nine-seater or 12-seater – a fourth row is added for metro transportation or school bus market) or panel van, it offers only one factory option: the rear window defog. As of June 2009[update], the T2 is built at the Volkswagen Group's São Bernardo do Campo plant at a rate of 97 per day.
The production of the Brazilian Volkswagen Kombi ends in 2013 with a production run of 600 Last Edition vehicles. The phaseout of the T2c marks the end of an era which lasted since 1945 (when started the second generation of Volkswagen Type-1 - it will be the final production of metal-made bumper cars after 68 years. This also marks the end of a rear engine Volkswagen motor vehicle being produced in the world outside its parent nation.