Real hippies did not drive Volkswagen buses.

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  • So, here's a thing.


    The VW bus is often considered the hippiest vehicle out there (I even had one myself for 7 years), but when I look back, the majority of hippy-types I've known have driven Fords, Bedfords or just about any other vehicle they could find cheap.


    Even if you look back at old festie pics, VW buses are definitely in the minority.


    So, where did this association come from, or was it just an American thing?

  • So, here's a thing. - The VW bus is often considered the hippiest vehicle out there (I even had one myself for 7 years), but when I look back, the majority of hippy-types I've known have driven Fords, Bedfords or just about any other vehicle they could find cheap. - Even if you look back at old festie pics, VW buses are definitely in the minority. - So, where did this association come from, or was it just an American thing?


    It's a USA thing
    - To my recollection, those of Hippie faith and following had all kinds of everything .. (or most of the time) relied of the goodwill of others - (hell of a lot of hitch-hiking went on) I guess like the long haired, bandana wearing, kaftan/furry waistcoat, mini-skirt.cut jeans, flowery shirt/bloused images that was seen on both TV and Film, the 'Partridge family' vehicle was more a 'vehicle' of convenience of visuality
    - I mean, though it was a nice idea/concept, but I don't recall many Double decker buses going on Summer holidays in the 60's

  • The odd thing about the VW campers is that they could only have been a small proportion of the total VW commercials on the road. The great majority would have been panel vans or pick ups. Nowadays you hardly ever see either of those, but plenty of campers. Why's that, given that any advertised for sale are rarely described as conversions? Are fairies at work somewhere, secretly putting in windows and sticking dolphin and palm tree stickers on the side?

  • Arlo Guthrie, for some, perhaps, the archetypal hippie, drove a VW Combi in the cult movie "Alice's Restaurant". At that establishment one could, apparently, get anything one wants, except Alice....... How would we define the word "hippie" anyway; be careful frenz! Keep on truckin', Toby. The UK VW scene is strange these days what with artificially induced rust etc. and anyone with surplus (?) cash can throw it at a specialist workshop to bling up a motor then wheel it out of the (heated) garage once or twice a year to win an undeserved cup at a repetitive show... Oh yes, we discovered life beyond VW very quickly!

  • The odd thing about the VW campers is that they could only have been a small proportion of the total VW commercials on the road. The great majority would have been panel vans or pick ups. Nowadays you hardly ever see either of those, but plenty of campers. Why's that, given that any advertised for sale are rarely described as conversions?

    You can tell whether an old VW is originally a Kombi, Microbus or Panel Van by the way the windows are set. Factory fitted windows are slightly inset and the panel van conversions have the windows raised on the outside - also you can tell who did the conversion by the way the roof lifts.


    Having been to several VW shows (and worked at Volksworld for the last few years) I'd say there are far more original conversions. But given campervans don't get the harsh treatment of trade vans, it stands to reason that they'd survive a bit longer.


    Most of the UK VW scene see themselves far removed from any hippy heritage.


    The UK VW scene is strange these days what with artificially induced rust etc. and anyone with surplus (?) cash can throw it at a specialist workshop to bling up a motor then wheel it out of the (heated) garage once or twice a year to win an undeserved cup at a repetitive show... Oh yes, we discovered life beyond VW very quickly!

    I loved my VW (daily driver for 7 years) and yeah I'd probably have another one (petrol prices permitting), but after doing a few years of VW shows I quickly tired of many of the people. The scene seems to attract a disproportionate amount of Little Englander types - unnervingly managing to still look quite hippyish.

  • Hi
    I never understood the appeal of the vw thing myself, but I did know somebody who lived out of one for 20 years, along with a barge. He said that the beauty of the vw was that he could park it in any car space, fix any problem himself, including stripping the whole vehicle down, etc, and also that he always got at least the same price as what he purchased it for when it came to selling it. In later years, he decided to change over from vw and get a Dodge 50 because of extra space, but soon regretted it, on account of not getting under height barriers, not being able to park up anywhere, and also having to get somebody else to do the repairs (as well as it not fitting into regular garages).
    x

  • Maybe they`re not popular with full time nomads because they`re so impractical. I hired one last year for a few days and went round Cornwall with my mum, mainly cause it was something she`d always wanted to do. It was fun but it was a bastard to drive and very limited in space. Sleeping in it screwed up one of my calf muscles too i still get terrible cramps that never happened before that holiday :insane:

  • Maybe they`re not popular with full time nomads because they`re so impractical. I hired one last year for a few days and went round Cornwall with my mum, mainly cause it was something she`d always wanted to do. It was fun but it was a bastard to drive and very limited in space. Sleeping in it screwed up one of my calf muscles too i still get terrible cramps that never happened before that holiday :insane:


    Probably the only people that would have room to move in a VW Camper in the 60s would have been Davy Jones out the Monkeys , he was only a Midget .:D

  • Wow driving whilst playing the trumpet try explaining that to the local plod.
    I noticed that when the wheel needs changing it is the lady that does the work, interesting concept for the 50's

  • Back in the 1980s, when I first discovered all things freak, the people I knew had transits, coaches, the old taxi-van conversion I posted here, an old ambulance and an Opel Kadett van emblazoned with a Hawkwind symbol. There was one VW I vaguely remember, but it was less camper and more panel van.


    This was our encampment at Henge '84 ... so yeah there is a VW, but it wasn't really "the van to have", and besides it was no longer the original hippy era by then.


    henge84-stitched.jpg