Retro Vehicles: Is Volkswagen Next?
Retro styled vehicles are all the rage today and Volkswagen’s New Beetle was one of the first of many of these types of cars to show up on the market. Given VW’s long running popularity, other long since retired models are certainly worthy of being copied, don’t you agree? The Karmann Ghia, the Thing, and the Scirocco are a few that come to mind, however they aren’t the ones slated for a comeback. Yes, VW’s famous “Bus” or Microbus is scheduled to return, to the delight of aging hippies everywhere. Okay, first a quick test. Can you name some of the recent retro vehicles to hit North American highways lately? Besides the Volkswagen’s New Beetle, here are a few: Ford: Thunderbird, Mustang Chrysler: PT Cruiser Chevrolet: SSR and HHR To qualify as a true “retro” vehicle it cannot just borrow the name – like the Dodge Charger – instead, it must take its styling cues from a vehicle from another generation. Enter the Volkswagen Microbus.
Yes, open up your cedar trunk and take out those wild looking tie dyed shirts, your cavernous bell bottom pants, and that pair of odd looking leather sandals. Let down your hair [if you have any left], grow a beard [gents only, please] and be prepared to step back in time to the days when the VW Bus was the people hauler of the day. Peace, love, and stop the war you say? If VW has its way then around 2008 a vehicle very similar in style to the Bus will once again be seen cruising the streets of Haight-Ashbury, Greenwich Village, and every freaky place you can think of, man! Just, groovy. Featured at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show, a concept Microbus evoked all sorts of “ooohs and aaaahs” from visitors; it was this same type of reaction that has convinced Volkswagen to go forward with production. As of this writing, there is a battle raging within Volkswagen-land as to how much the Microbus will incorporate the retro look.
Seeing how the New Beetle succeeded in the US, but flopped in Europe will VW have the courage to stand tall and bring back the hippie hauler? Or, will VW cave in and produce just another run-of-the-mill vehicle that only hints at its past glory? Time will tell, but my advice to VW is this: get it built now before us hippie dippy types are too old to climb into it. Unless, of course, the Microbus can be outfitted with a wheelchair ramp.