The Iconic VW Van in the Middle East

VW Bus, Middle East, iconic hippie van, nostalgic VW van tour, Middle East, Brazil ends VW van production, travel, auto Volkswagen’s “hippie van” was the preferred mode of transportation for peace lovers during the 1960s, but Brazil is shutting down the last production line this year to meet rigorous new safety requirements. See our nostalgic photo tour of VW vans in the Middle East.

Volkswagen did not officially move into the Middle East until 2005, when it established the Middle East regional office in Dubai. That office was tasked with overseeing 11 markets, and eventually a parts center for both VW and Audi was built in Dubai’s Jebel Ali free zone.

VW Bus, Middle East, iconic hippie van, nostalgic VW van tour, Middle East, Brazil ends VW van production, travel, auto

But the van had captured imaginations throughout the Middle East long before then and we have managed to dig up some photographs as a testament.

In the 1980s, Siemens provided employees with a VW van. The company car was no shiny road demon with waxed wheels, but a cool VW van that is just as easy to fix as it is to break down.

A group of nine Cambridge graduates set off on a three continent road trip – as the Cold War heated up – in two VW Kombis. That storied journey took them through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and on to Africa, and a book piled high with images and tales of wild encounters is still available for purchase today.

VW Bus, Middle East, iconic hippie van, nostalgic VW van tour, Middle East, Brazil ends VW van production, travel, auto

More recently, a photographer discovered a bright yellow VW van in Lebanon. It’s full of junk, including large water bottles, yet it somehow stands out among the other debris with a proud round face. And another came across a VW Kombi in Egypt sporting black and white zebra stripes; it seemed poised for an epic road trip.

Although VW vans are a fixture of life in Brazil, often masquerading as school buses and lunch trucks, sources told NPR that they have to shut down production because new vehicular safety requirements dictate that by 2014, all new vehicles must have air bags.

VW Bus, Middle East, iconic hippie van, nostalgic VW van tour, Middle East, Brazil ends VW van production, travel, auto

Special editions will be created throughout the last year of production, so, if you have never taken a road trip in a VW Van, or you’re thinking about investing in a vehicle that will last forever, maybe think about heading to Brazil – even before the next Olympic Games.

:: NPR

2 thoughts on “The Iconic VW Van in the Middle East

  1. Abdelwahab Abbas

    Whoever wrote this article must be kidding. Vw Pullman (bus) was the only public transportation car during the early sixties of the last century in Khartoum, Sudan. They are still around but only as private cars. I own a blue and white 1979 model that is in semi-perfect condition, together with my white 1964 bug.

    Reply

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