Trio of cheesy classic VW buses stolen, recovered

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Cheese Vans Stolen

Three customized Volkswagen Buses (pictured above) made to look like blocks of Tillamook cheddar cheese are safe again after being stolen on July 12, and two men are in police custody for the alleged theft.

The cheesy cadre of VWs, their custom trailer and a Ford F-350 to haul them were on a promotional tour when they were stolen from a hotel parking lot in Manteca, California. Police began searching for them, and the group of bright orange Volkswagens wasn’t too hard to sniff out. The three vans with an estimated value of $100,000 each were recovered undamaged on July 14 from a storage center in California about 50 miles away from where they were taken, according to Oregon Live. It reports that one of the men arrested rented a space there.

Unfortunately, the trailer and pickup used to haul the classic VWs weren’t so lucky. Prior to finding the vans, police discovered the other vehicles burned out. It appears the alleged thieves tried to turn them into grilled cheese…

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Berkeley garage ‘The Buslab’ keeps vintage VW buses on the road

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Volkswagen bus

Alejandro Rosas/KQED

Steve Perzan has taken his Westfalia for repairs and upgrades to the Buslab for years.

If you’re road-tripping through California this summer, you might spot the occasional Volkswagen Bus. Back in its heyday in the ’60s and 70s, the iconic van was everywhere. Now, devotees of the classic German export invest time and money to keep their VW Buses ticking. Continue reading »

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Camper vans, simpler and sleeker than RVs, gain popularity

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It doesn’t take a full tank of gas between here and a state or national park to see that the once-simple motor home has, well, evolved.

All the comforts of a Paris apartment, more electronics than on the International Space Station and, in some cases, they have grown seemingly long enough to land a Cessna on top.

At least one segment of the U.S. RV rental market, however, is opting for smaller and, in most cases, simpler.

In New Zealand, Australia and some European countries, it’s nearly impossible to drive for more than five minutes without seeing one. Camper vans have come a long way from the 1960s Volkswagen bus, and the trend is finally crossing over to the United States. Continue reading »

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VW Bus-based Dub Box does retro caravanning and food trucks right [w/videos]

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Dub Box Camper

Whether known as the Transporter, Kombi or simply the Bus, the Volkswagen Type 2 became almost as much of a style icon as the Beetle, but it just went out of production. However, a couple in England is keeping the design alive with its Dub Box camper. Mixing the classic, ’60s VW look with retro interior design and some modern features, the result is a very attractive little trailer. For about the past year, they have also been available in the US. Continue reading »

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VW could launch Bulli van into expanded retro family with Beetle variants

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Volkswagen Bulli Concept

Sub-brands are emerging as the latest trend, particularly among German automakers. BMW has rolled out its new i family of electric vehicles. Audi looks poised to spin the TT off into its own line with added bodystyles. Mercedes-Benz is expected to bring the Maybach name, once its own brand, back as a model designation at the top of the S-Class range. And now Volkswagen is rumored to be planning more retro models to follow in the footsteps of the Beetle. Continue reading »

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Volkswagen says US pickup is back on the table

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Volkswagen Amarok Canyon - front three-quarter view, red

Volkswagen doesn’t normally consider General Motors to be a prime competitor in the US, but it’s keeping a keen eye on the company’s new midsize pickup models, eager to see how they perform in the market. That’s because the German automaker is reevaluating its truck strategy, and it’s closely watching the reception of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon to help decide whether to reenter the American pickup market, a segment it hasn’t populated since the 1980s.

Back in 2009, Volkswagen introduced its Amarok midsize pickup, and during the run-up to that model, there was some discussion of bringing it to US, the largest pickup market in the world. In the end, VW decided it wasn’t a good fit, but that hasn’t stopped the Amarok from becoming successful in other markets around the globe. Continue reading »

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Last VW bus ever made arrives at final destination

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The last Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus rolls into the museum in Hanover

A Brazilian politician tried to save it, unsuccessfully, so the final Last Edition Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi was produced on December 20, 2013 and now resides in a vintage museum at Volkswagen’s Commercial Vehicles HQ in Hanover, Germany.

The Volkswagen Microbus was built for 56 years, starting in September 1957. Brazil was the last country still assembling it, but new safety regulations in the country requiring airbags and ABS on all cars spelled the end. When that politician introduced a bill that would pardon only the ‘Bus from a death sentence, it couldn’t garner the required number of votes for passage. The South American country takes the Kombi production title, though, with 1.5 million of the 3.5 million total made in the home of Copacabana beach and the girl from Ipanema.


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The Ultimate Family Adventure Van

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On the road in Chile.

 Ever since we sold our 1960-something vintage Airstream on Craigslist last spring, I’ve been lusting after a new family camping conveyance. Well, not new—definitely not new—but new to us. The object of my obsession? A Volkswagen pop-top camper.

I know, I know. Me and the rest of the world.

Hailed as the ultimate ski bum’s hangout, surfari vehicle, and nomadic base camp, VW’s iconic pop-top is having a Moment. Images of tricked-out Volkswagens have been popping up in travel, sports, and lifestyle magazines. And just last week, The New York Times ran a story about a young California family that spent the bulk of last year driving to South America in a 1990 Westfalia, which the author dubbed the “Swiss Army” knife of campers.

The Times article featured Adam and Emily Harteau, both in their 30s, and their two-year-old daughter, Colette. The trio road-tripped to 11 countries in eight months. “When we departed, we planned on traveling for a year,” explains Emily via email from Cusco, Peru. “Now we’re on the road of life, without a return date.” Continue reading »

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