If there was ever a stereotype on four wheels, the Volkswagen Microbus might be it. Earning its iconic status during the counter-cultural revolution in the 1960’s, hippies may have made it famous, but families like Ed Wilson’s loved it too.
“On long road trips I would curl up in the back, be right above the motor, you’re listening to the hum of the motor so it would put you right to sleep,” Wilson said.
The fond memories and the practicality of the VW have led Wilson to own eight of them.
“Nostalgia of having one of these, there’s nobody that ever walks by and gives me the finger, they’re always happy and smiling…probably in their lifetime they’ve been around one,” Wilson said.
Even if you haven’t owned one, you’ve probably passed one. Small engines mean they weren’t built for speed.
“You’re not doing more than about 55 or 60 miles per hour so a lot of people are passing you, but you still get there,” Wilson said.
With over 10 million built since production started 63-years ago, it appears to be the end of the road for the bus.
Produced solely in Brazil, new safety laws beginning next year new cars will be required to have anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and airbags, features that aren’t compatible with the camper van.
Wilson, who just returned from a road trip to and from Florida in his 1966 model, says he doesn’t think they will ever truly disappear from the roads.
“There are too many enthusiasts, too many people involved…plus they’re so easy to fix and parts are everywhere,” Wilson said.