#TBT: From Woodstock to Waikiki, the nostalgic pull of the 23-window Bus

What do touring musicians, alpine explorers and beach bums all have in common? You could catch them behind the wheel of the elusive and highly sought-after hippie classic – the Volkswagen 23-window bus. Known to U.S. buyers as the “Deluxe Microbus with Samba package,” the 23-window bus was originally designed as a vehicle to tour the Swiss Alps, offering up to nine passengers maximum visibility, but was quickly adopted by families, campers and members of the counterculture. The van features a collection of unique windows including eight skylights, two curved rear windows, a retractable skylight, and a coveted split windshield. Produced between 1951 and 1967, the first-generation Microbus was budget-friendly and built for sightseeing adventures. The four-cylinder engine was placed in the rear, allowing the driver to sit right on the windshield affording unparalleled views of the road. Over time, the classic silhouette of the Microbus could be spotted at beaches, campgrounds, and music festivals. The bus quickly became synonymous with the counterculture — posing a complete opposite of souped-up muscle cars that were being pumped out of Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s. The bus was relatively easy to maintain and could carry lots of passengers — factors that were very attractive to the nomadic hippies of the 1960s and 1970s. The Microbus was responsible for shaking up the automotive industry just as America was on the brink of a social revolution. While the original 23-window bus only came in two colors (Mouse Grey with a Pearl White top or Sealing Wax Red with a Chestnut Brown top), surfers and hippies quickly adapted their paint jobs with custom art, peace signs and lyrics from their favorite bands. The Microbus has been featured throughout pop culture, from album covers to cartoon feature films. To this day, the bus continues to evoke feelings of nostalgia and free-spiritedness. Spotting an original 23-window bus on the road is a rare sight — only between 5 and 10 percent of all VW Bus models made had this combination of features – and when they appear on the market in top-notch condition, they can fetch a six-figure sum. In 2017, a 1961 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Microbus Samba sold for $291,500, setting a new record for the model.

Read More
Celebrate Halloween with a creatively carved Volkswagen pumpkin

Halloween is right around the corner, and whether you’re planning to celebrate indoors or outside, an easy way to get into the holiday spirit is with a household pumpkin carving party. Gather the family, get some pumpkins, and grab your carving tools to bring these Volkswagen-themed pumpkin designs to life. One decal features the instantly recognizable Volkswagen Bus, while the other carries the look of Volkswagen’s new ID.4 electric SUV. Invite others to join in on the spooky fun and consider hosting a virtual carving contest with family friends and/or neighbors. And don’t forget these carving tips: • Use painter’s tape to hold the stencil in place and a washable marker to trace the outlines. • For both stencils, carve the cut-out sections (those that are black on the PDF) first. Once you’ve carved those pieces, leave them in place; this helps maintain pumpkin strength while you scrape away other sections. • Scraped-away but not completely carved-through sections are tricky. Start by using a craft utility knife to lightly trace the stencil outline. Then use a small sanding or linoleum carving tool to remove the topmost layers of the real or fake pumpkins. Download VW Bus Template Download VW EV Grille Template  

Read More
The Volkswagen Taos, a big idea in small SUVs

More than half of the new vehicles sold in the United States so far this year have been SUVs, a trend that hasn’t been seen in decades. It’s easy to see why; SUVs typically have more space, more capability and often as much performance as their owners can use. And while SUVs have a reputation as larger vehicles, more buyers now want those same attributes in a package that takes up less room. That’s the concept behind the all-new Volkswagen Taos, a new compact SUV that’s smaller than the Tiguan, and affordable like the Jetta. With power, space and tech that’s competitive with the class, the Taos improves on the small SUV formula at an entry-level price. “Taos is our fifth new addition to the Volkswagen SUV family in just four years, and we’re thrilled to keep finding new ways to help meet the needs of American families,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Taos will bookend our compact SUV offering, giving buyers all the style, technology, and drivability that Volkswagen is known for at an even more affordable price.” From the front, the Taos continues the Volkswagen modern design approach that’s clean and classical, without extraneous lines that would date its look. All trims come with LED headlights and the higher-end trims add an illuminated line in the grille, just like the ID.4 electric SUV. You’ll see some Tiguan influence in the C-pillar from the side of the Taos, and the rear has touches of the Tiguan. The Taos is 175.8 inches long—9.3 inches shorter than the Tiguan—with a wheelbase of 105.9 inches; it is 72.5 inches wide and 64.4 inches tall. Passenger space is a roomy 99.5 cubic feet, just 1.6 cu ft less than the two-row Tiguan, with 28.1 cu ft of luggage space behind the second-row seats and 66.3 cu ft with the second row folded, a generous amount by class standards. of Power comes from a new 1.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which uses some advanced engineering like a variable-turbine geometry turbocharger to make 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, along with outstanding fuel economy. Front-wheel-drive models use an eight-speed transmission, while 4Motion all-wheel-drive models use a seven-speed DSG® transmission. A choice of 17-, 18- or 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels (later availability) put the power to the road. The modern cockpit offers a style that surpasses what’s typically available in the segment. Start with the instrument cluster, where the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit comes standard, behind an available heated leatherette steering wheel. Next to it sits the available central 8-inch touchscreen with voice control, which can hook into the available premium BeatsAudio sound system. The seats come in two-tone patterns available in every trim and have available heating and cooling options. Volkswagen Car-Net comes with every Taos, enabling in-car WiFi capability when you subscribe to a data plan.12 The MIB3 infotainment system with wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices is available from mid-level trims.3 The IQ.DRIVE® suite of driver assistance technology on every Taos model features Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking (Front Assist), Active Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist), Adaptive Cruise Control with a Stop and Go feature, Travel Assist and Emergency Assist. High Beam Control (Light Assist), the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), and Park Distance Control are also available.4 The new Taos is expected to arrive on American streets next summer, and even with all the other SUVs on the road, it will be a standout.  

Read More
Volkswagen Chattanooga supplier park marks 10 years of success

Ten years ago last week, Volkswagen opened its 446,400-square-foot supplier park next door to the Chattanooga factory. With a $21 million investment, the site quickly became home to six suppliers supporting 500 jobs helping to assemble the Volkswagen Passat. Today, just as the Chattanooga factory has grown, so has the supplier park and the suppliers nearby. Seven suppliers now work in the supplier park, assembling everything from seats to axles to dashboards, while four more have built facilities right around the corner. All told, the supplier complex now employs about an estimated 1,100 workers and represents some $275 million in investments. Supplier parks and nearby locations play an essential role at modern automotive factories like the Chattanooga plant. Every mile of distance a supplier needs to haul their parts can add hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual costs. Just-in-time production systems like the one used at Volkswagen plants worldwide help keep on-hand inventories low so that workers get the parts just as they need them. By being as physically close to the plant as possible, suppliers can work more efficiently themselves. The supplier park itself currently includes ThyussenKrupp, TNM, Kasai, Grupo Antolin, DRX, Faurecia and Schnellecke Logistics. Nearby suppliers include Gestamp, Yanfeng, Plastic Ominum and Wingard. “The Supplier Park and our suppliers play a key role in helping to keep Volkswagen Chattanooga growing,” said Marty Ross, Senior Manager of North American Purchasing for Volkswagen of America.  “We’re proud to work together with them, and with the addition of the Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV in 2022 to Chattanooga, we know that more opportunities lie ahead.” The two-building, 446,400-square-foot supplier park is located to the left of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga factory.

Read More
On National Name Your Car Day, the history of Volkswagen names

It’s not easy to name a new vehicle. At Volkswagen, we consider language differences, customer perceptions, originality and more, going through hundreds of options before finding just the right fit for a model’s personality. This National Name Your Car Day, we’re sharing the art and science of the names behind Volkswagen models. Take a look and learn how today’s Volkswagens and some of their classic predecessors got their monikers. Arteon The Arteon takes its name from the Latin word for art (artem) and alludes to the emphasis VW placed on its design. The four-door coupe includes features such as chrome strips on its frameless side windows and a wraparound grille. Atlas Technically the third VW named after a Greek titan; in ancient myth, Atlas held up the sky – which is appropriate for Volkswagen’s first seven-passenger SUV. Atlas Cross Sport The Atlas Cross Sport is a two-row, midsize crossover based on the Atlas that’s sportier (hence “Cross Sport”). Beetle Not long after it first appeared on German roads, the Volkswagen Type 1 was dubbed the Käfer – or Beetle. That name survived the translation into English and dozens of other languages, and became the model’s official moniker by the late 1940s. (Other nicknames: “the bubble” in Denmark, “coccinelle,” or ladybug, in France, and “turtle car” in Thailand) CC Originally known as the Passat CC, CC can be taken to mean “comfort coupe.” Although coupes are generally two-door cars, among modern designers the word “coupe” can also describe cars with the sloping roofline of a coupe, regardless of how many doors they have. Corrado Derived from the Spanish verb “correr,” meaning to run or to sprint. (Prototypes had a different, wind-related name that was nixed during development.) Eos Eos is the Greek goddess of the dawn, an obvious reference for a hardtop convertible. Golf Several VW models take their names from winds, a pattern that’s more of a historical accident than a planned strategy, and many think that trend continued with Golf. But “Golf” isn’t a type of wind – it’s the German word for the Gulf Stream ocean current. It also happened to be the name of a key manager’s horse, which appears to be the real inspiration. GTI Originally inspired by the Italian designation for high-performance luxury cars with fuel injected engines: “gran turismo iniezione.” GLI Following the debut of the GTI as a sport version of the Golf, Volkswagen chose “GLI” to indicate the sport version of the four-door Jetta sedan. Jetta A proper example of the wind motif on Volkswagen models, the word Jetta comes from the German name for jet stream. Passat Launched in 1973, the Passat was the first modern-era Volkswagen, and took its name from the German word “passatwinde,” or trade winds. Phaeton Another in the Greek mythology series, Phaeton was a god who almost lost control of the chariot that pulled the sun across the sky. In the 19th century, a phaeton was a specific type of carriage, one with large wheels and an open body designed for speed. In the early days of the auto industry, the name was sometimes applied to open-topped, powerful vehicles – and while the Phaeton has never been built as a convertible, the powerful sense of the name made it a natural for a luxury sedan and wagon. Scirocco The VW sports coupe took its name from the “sirocco,” a hot, powerful wind from the Sahara that blows northeast across the Mediterranean Sea. Taos The Volkswagen Taos SUV designed specifically for North America, shares the same name as the New Mexico town. Home to 6,000 people, Taos has been known for centuries for its breathtaking views, its traditional culture and the artists who have set up colonies there since the turn of the 20th century. Tiguan Ahead of its launch in 2009, Volkswagen teamed with a German automotive magazine to poll readers about what the new compact SUV should be named. The choices included Namib, Rockton, Samun, Nanuk and Tiguan – a portmanteau of the German words for tiger and iguana. It’s also the latest in a series of animal-inspired names, along with Rabbit and Fox. Touareg The most challenging name in the lineup was inspired by the Tuareg people, known mostly as a tribe of Berber nomads who live in the northern Sahara Desert. up! The city car sold in Europe has had the punctuation mark included with its proper name, much as #PinkBeetle serves double duty as a social-media hashtag. “up!” also happens to be the middle two letters in “Lupo,” one of the vehicle’s predecessors. (“Lupo” is Latin for wolf, while “Amarok” means a similar animal in Inuit – both nods to VW’s hometown of Wolfsburg, Germany.)  

Read More
#TBT: The history of the Beetle’s bud vase

A clear bud vase displays a single white daisy in The New Beetle To understand how a small German sedan came to represent the “flower power” generation, maybe it’s because no vehicle was as known for floral displays quite like the Beetle and its dashboard bud vase. The porcelain “blumenvasen” first appeared in the U.S. as an optional dealer accessory in the 1950s. Many of the bud vases were produced by high-end German porcelain manufacturers and could be clipped to the car’s dashboard, speaker grille or windshield. This provided owners with the opportunity to personally customize their cars and often displayed either real or fake flowers. Beyond adding a little color and joy to daily car rides, the accessory was also a nod to the very early days of car driving. Automobile vases first started appearing in the late 1800s not as an interesting novelty, but out of necessity. The vases, often filled with fresh, fragrant flowers, were used as air fresheners to help cover engine odors and the scent of passengers themselves in pre-air conditioned interiors. The vases themselves quickly became decorative as well and were widely available in catalogs and hardware stores. The New Beetle Bud vases fell out of favor when the Beetle’s original U.S. sales run ended in 1978 but were brought back with the Beetle’s redesign in 1998. While the New Beetle’s standard package included many modern upgrades, it also included a three-inch acrylic version of the Bug’s signature vase. The new Beetle, which sold 80,000 models in the U.S. in 1999, was advertised with slogans such as, “The engine is in the front, but the heart is in the same place” and “A work of art with side air bags and a bud vase.” The inherent cuteness and quirkiness of the interior of the Bug and exterior design particularly appealed to women drivers and sales skewed 60 percent female. The bud vase was dropped when the Beetle was redesigned in 2011, as air freshening was no longer a major concern and the Beetle itself took on a more gender-neutral mood. Bud vases are still hot options for classic Volkswagen Beetles, proving again that a touch of beauty never goes out of style. The New Beetle

Read More
Former teacher transforms her Volkswagen Transporter into a mobile bookshop

Melanie Moore had always wanted to open her own bookstore. After retiring from 25 years of teaching, she decided it was time to pursue her dream and get books into the hands of kids who need them most. She was about to sign a lease on a physical storefront when she got cold feet and decided to proceed in a new direction. “I realized that if I had a brick and mortar bookstore, I wouldn’t be able to do the fun part of the business, which is talking [about] books and putting books in people’s hands,” Moore says. Inspired by a novel centered around a fictional, female horse-drawn carriage bookseller, Moore decided to launch the Cincy Book Bus – a mobile bookstore – out of the bed of her husband’s teal 1962 Volkswagen Transporter. “Everything just clicked into place,” Moore says. The vintage Volkswagen, which Moore affectionately refers to as “old gal,” turned out to be the perfect vehicle to help Moore accomplish her vision. It was purchased by her husband Tony at a Volkswagen car show in Los Angeles in 2014 and had previously served as a working truck at a cherry farm in Colorado. “It’s a family passion,” Moore explains. “My husband has been a VW enthusiast his whole life – his first car was a ‘77 Beetle he bought at 16 – and I can’t even tell you how many Volkswagens we’ve had since then. We go to all the Volkswagen shows.” Before the Book Bus’ debut in November 2018, Moore had to re-learn how to drive a stick shift and refurbish the rusty, 58-year-old truck with new paint and parts. She also designed several custom-made wooden milk crates to display her large and ever-growing collection of new and gently used books for sale. The van holds about 150 books, and Moore regularly rotates titles to cater to her audiences. Additionally, she’s developed relationships with foreign book publishers and authors to sell unique and hard-to-get titles. And, thanks to the Bus’ unusual appearance, customers often stop and pose for fun photo-ops. “It’s not just about selling a book. I want to be able to have an experience with the people that visit the bus,” says Moore. Normally, Moore sells her inventory at area coffee shops, farmers’ markets and public events around Cincinnati. However, due to COVID-19, she has moved the bulk of her business online. She accepts book orders through her website and ships them across the United States. She’s also found new and creative ways to promote literacy and connection during this time of isolation and separation with virtual book clubs, online audiobook sales and at-home book deliveries. Charity has always been the main component of Moore’s business; she dedicates all of her profits to stocking classroom libraries in schools that do not have school libraries and supporting charitable organizations that need books. “A lot of the funding has been cut for school libraries, so it’s great to be able to work with teachers directly and ask them, ‘What do you need?’ and deliver them books that are racially and culturally diverse,” Moore says. Her partnership with the local Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Book Store has enabled her to enhance her charity work. “I could get the books cheaper from my supplier, but for every book I buy through them they donate a book back to the community,” says Moore. Over the course of 2020, she’s donated $16,500 worth of books to non-profit organizations like Casa de Paz (House of Peace), a safe house for Latina women and their children who have suffered trauma and abuse, and schools such as Pleasant Ridge Montessori. “I usually fill up the truck with books I plan to donate and drive directly to the school so kids can come up and pick out their books in person. It’s one of my favorite things to see how excited the children get about the Book Bus,” Moore says. “The old gal is really the star of the show.”

Read More
More Stories