The iconic campervan has been in production since the 1950’s, but now, Volkswagen Brazil has announced that production of the ‘Kombi’ van will cease on the last day of 2013.
Originally produced on the floor lines of the company’s Hanover, Germany factory, the Volkswagen Transporter – as it is officially known – was later produced in Brazil from 1979 onwards.
More than 60 years later, the camper van is the longest-produced model in automotive history – says the company.
‘Kombi’ is a Brazilian abbreviation of the German “Kombinationsfahrzeug” which loosely translated means “cargo-passenger van.” While output of the kombi will halt on December 31, the company assures us there will still be many sightings of the van on our roads thanks to the car’s well-known durability and because so many have been produced over the years – more than 10 million in fact.
But one thing is for sure, the much loved kombi will almost certainly go on to live long in the imaginations of many. Deeply embedded in popular culture , the van has made an appearance on a number of famous album covers – from Bob Dylan to The Beach Boys – and Steve Jobs was even rumoured to have sold his 1970’s kombi to buy a circuit board that was used to build the first Apple computer.
Not to mention its long-standing connection with surfing scene – it’s long shape making it and ideal vehicle for transporting surfboards in.
The van does not hold the same romantic or cool appeal for Brazilian locals. In Sao Paulo the kombi is more often seen as a vehicle used for delivering mail or ushering soldiers across the country.
Nonetheless, Sao Paulo advertising executive Marcello Serpa, also the proud owner of a Kombi, says the van’s spirit will live on after its demise:
“The Kombi is part of Brazil’s cultural and emotional landscape,” he said, “and that explains the strong feelings of affection most people have for it,” Mr Serpa said.