Eight Great Facts about the Volkswagen Vanagon
- Talk about an identity crisis! The Volkswagen Vanagon is known by many different names. In Europe, it's the Transporter or Caravelle while in South Africa, it's the Microbus. It's only in the Americas that it's known as the Vanagon-which is doubtlessly the most confusing of all the names on the list.
- Like most Volkswagens, the Volkswagen Vanagon was made primarily in its home country, Germany. It has the special distinction of being the very last of the Volkswagens to have its engine in the rear-as opposed to the far more common and more modern front engine equipped vehicles today.
- The Westfalia camper variant converted the Volkswagen Vanagon into a veritable "home away from home". This variant featured a pop-up roof for better ventilation and several amenities like a refrigerator, a sink, and a stove. These became very popular with families in the 80s-who would bring their Vanagons on long camping trips in the American interior.
- Everyone who's anyone knows Tom Selleck and Magnum P.I., and fans of the series will note that the Volkswagen Vanagon featured prominently in the show for its entire eight-year run. More recently, the Vanagon has also appeared in the movie adaptation of Dan Brown's hit Angels and Demons, as well as in the cartoon hit Ben 10: Alien Force.
- Not content with being a camper and-in Europe-a bus, the Volkswagen Vanagon has also served in the US Army and Air Force in the 1980s! It was used for administrative duties and was classed as a "Light Truck-Commercial."
- Porsche custom-made a limited edition Volkswagen Vanagon loaded with a powerful 3.2-liter Carrera engine. This was specifically support its Porsche 959 in the Paris-Dakar race!
- The US version of the Volkswagen Vanagon was-surprisingly enough-the most tame! While it featured vinyl seats, it also was very sparse and "empty" on the inside. Ostensibly, this was done to account for the greater amount of customizations that the company expected Americans to get into.
- There is actually a song written about the Volkwagen Vanagon titled-aptly enough-The Vanagon Song. It's a very explicit piece tied to a songwriter named Mica. It does contain the line: "Mothers, don't let your sons drive Vanagons." It then proceeds to explicitly promote the advantages of having one, and how much one misses out if they don't own one.