If rednecks and hippies share anything, it’s the fact that both groups have almost nothing in common. If you doubt this fact, then try asking members of each tribe to voice their opinions on war, gay marriage, or, if you really want to stir the pot, the current occupant of the White House.
One thing that does unite both groups, however, is their mutual love for the VW Type II, better known in the United States as the Microbus. This iconic vehicle is beloved by folks from every part of the political/cultural spectrum. There are several reasons for this fact. One is the Microbus’s delightfully quirky looks; another is the distinctive sound of its air-cooled engine. Then there’s its sheer practicality. In its heyday, the Microbus was as good at carrying tools to the job site as it was at conveying flower children to a protest march. Surviving examples are enormously popular among collectors and restoration buffs.
The suits at Volkswagen are well aware of this fact. That’s probably why they love teasing Microbus fans with rumors about the vehicle’s resurrection. In 2001, Volkswagen went and a new Microbus concept at the North American International Auto Show. The showcase machine was completely redesigned for the 21st century, including rear-view cameras and a liquid-cooled engine.
Response was so huge that in 2002, Volkswagen announced the release of a new Microbus beginning in the year 2003. True to form, of course, the company delayed and then canceled the project, choosing instead to partner with Chrysler in building testosterone-destroying minivans.
Volkswagen is nothing if not inconsistent, however. That’s why company spokesman Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser revealed this past week that the German automaker may soon release a next-generation Beetle — and, possibly, even a 21st century version of the Microbus. Continue Reading