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End of the road as final Volkswagen Kombi vans arrive in Southampton
IT’S an icon of the road.
Now the final 99 Kombi camper vans to be imported into the UK – after manufacturer Volkswagen ceased its production in Brazil – have arrived in the UK by sea.
The 99 were unloaded at the Port of Southampton, the UK’s number one vehicle-handling port, before being transported to Bristol ready to be converted by Danbury MotorCaravans.
All the vehicles are unpainted blank shells ready to be adapted for British roads at Danbury's 40,000 sq ft facility, where they will be converted to right-hand drive with luxury interiors built.
VW called time on production of the vans because the classic design doesn’t meet modern safety regulations. A spokesman for Danbury, which has been the sole UK importer of the camper vans since 1996, said: “It has been a fantastic vehicle and it is a shame that it has come to an end.
“However, its successor, the T5, is still going strong and that will be the big focus for us now."
ABP port director Southampton Nick Ridehalgh said: “This is the end of the road for one of the most famous vehicles of all time and we are proud to have shipped many of them through Southampton.
“Despite it being the end for the camper, the vehicle-handling business is booming in Southampton with 750,000 vehicles passing though the port last year, 60 per cent of which were for export.”
• The Volkswagen Campervan was designed by Dutch Volkswagen importer, Ben Pon in 1947 n The first batch of T1 models was produced on November 12, 1949, in Germany
• They came to Britain not long after German production, in 1950
• After 60 years, it’s the longest produced model in automotive history
• Volkswagen has produced over 10 million campervans since starting production in 1949
• The orignal model featured a 1 litre engine and 24 horsepower, a basic four-seater layout and minimal kitchen appliances and two beds.
• An original model from 1950 sold at auction last year in America for £74,000
• In the 1960s a converted campervan would have cost you just £1,300
• The latest edition of the Kombi Van is a Transporter (T5) and costs £50,000, goes a maximum of 130mph, with a 2 litre engine and 180 horsepower. They also have built in sat-navs, parking sensors, Bluetooth, a sunroof and standard requirements such as airbags, electric windows and heating.
• The iconic campervan has made appearances in many films, including The Pink Panther, Field of Dreams, Dirty Harry and Little Miss Sunshine
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