Scene 1, Type 2

Caught on camera: a first-series Volkswagen Type 2 Deluxe Bus.
   SO TAKEN was I with the Sport Suburban of the previous post, I didn't realize until checking my photos that I had also captured a first-generation Volkswagen Type 2 van, or bus.
   When I was young, the Type 2 (the Beetle was VW's Type 1 model, of course) was a regular sight. As a cargo hauler that could double as the family car, it offered compelling value to those willing to accept acceleration as slow as a Bavarian boat ride and the general stigma of owning an odd foreign bus-truck thing.
   I remember my father muttering when we would be caught in a line of cars behind one clattering up a hill. It's a wonder that the signs for the passing lanes finally introduced on the Trans-Canada Highway didn't bear an icon of a Volkswagen bus.
Wikipedia photo.
The Type 2 came in numerous versions including a pickup, a rusty example of which ran into the back of our 1963 Mercury Meteor at a stop sign. My mother was at the wheel, learning to drive, with my father next to her. I was in the back seat. No one was injured, but the driver's-side door of the Volkswagen fell off.
   It turned out that my parents knew the driver – our town was pretty small – and after some discussion we all drove away, the door now in the VW's cargo bed.
   Unmistakable for its deep-V, plunging-neckline front end that wears a huge VW emblem like a medallion, the first-series Type 2 was made in Germany from 1950 until 1967 and in Brazil from 1957 to as late as 1975. The one I photographed, which carries the logo of the state-owned Transtur company, is, I think, a Brazil-built Deluxe Bus. Note the bustle for added luggage capacity.
   Volkswagen Beetles are everywhere in Cuba; their van sister-models are much less common.
   Or maybe I'm just not noticing them.


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