Good evening, Netizens...
Here's one for Jeanie's Mechanic Man.
One of the many mechanical loves of my life was a 1969 pale green and white Volkswagen Van which I acquired from a semi-destitute student after he had blown a rod through the sidewall of the standard 60 HP VW engine. At the time I had about three weeks of disposable time, and being somewhat naive about it, I figured I could find a good used engine in one of the many wrecking yards in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead I found a six-cylinder fuel-injected Porsche engine in good running order, and after nearly six weeks of nightly design and repair work in my neighbor's garage, including the purchase of a used transaxle and axles from a Porsche, numerous and sundry other parts, I had a VW bus with a five-speed transaxle, that was capable of climbing tall passes without breathing hard. True, it no longer got 28 miles per gallon, as it once did, and it was nearly six weeks later before I got the heater working as it should, but I had a one-of-a-kind Volkswagen van with some incredible horsepower.
In this AP photo we see the next generation of the VW van which probably will never achieve the popularity of what the news media sometimes refer to as “the Hippie VW Van”, so named because of the copious space inside, suitable for passengers. Not only does this prototype van not totally resemble the infamous vans of the 60's, it is all-electric and uses an iPad to control the entertainment system, climate control and other functions. The original vans had an anemic heating system, although later models came equipped with an optional heater that worked after a fashion.
Named the Bulli, according to its manufacturers, it is capable of traveling up to 186.4 miles on a single battery charge and has a top speed of 87 miles per hour, although nothing is implied about how well it will climb tall hills.
Sad to say Volkswagen has not confirmed this concept van will go into production. At the very least, they could take out and dust off the old van design with a fuel-injected Porsche engine and perhaps relive part of the delightful history of the Hippy van era.