Volkswagen, still nursing a black eye from “dieselgate,” rolls out a new version of an old favorite.
When I was a kid, my best friend’s family got a Volkswagen VW, -0.55% Microbus. At that time, in the mid-60s, American cars were land yachts with gas-guzzling V-8 engines and acres of chrome. Then, along came this odd-looking van with high seating, a horizontal steering wheel and an air-cooled engine. I wanted one badly.
Later, I got my wish. In 1966, my father bought a bus and converted it to a camper for us to tour Europe in. Years later, I bought my own — a second-generation ’68 bus, named Basil by the previous owner, a hippie in a tie-dyed dress. My wife and I put all our possessions in Basil and moved to — where else? — California.
I’d thought the days of the VeeDub bus were behind me until I saw a space-age version of my old ride at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December. Volkswagen, still nursing a black eye from the “dieselgate” emissions-cheating scandal, has rolled out a concept version of an electric Microbus with the tagline “The VW Bus is back.” What better way to make VW a warm and fuzzy brand again than to bring back this old favorite?