Volkswagen’s T2 Transporter was built in Brazil for 56 years without interruption. Now it’s over. It would have been necessary to alter the body too much to satisfy new regulations – for example, ABS and airbags for new cars that are produced in Brazil. The campervan is the favoured companion of many Brazilians, who utilise it exactly as it was meant to be when the T1 first rolled off the assembly line in Germany in 1950 – as a combination vehicle, or indeed a “Kombi”. During the week it was used for work. On weekends it became a vehicle for family outings.
The Last Edition is a collector’s item that Paulo Borges would also like to own. Yet right now, while the last T2 Transporter vans anywhere are being manufactured in the Volkswagen plant at São Bernardo do Campo near São Paulo, just a few kilometres from his house, he cannot buy one. He made a promise to his wife: no new cars anymore, and definitely no new campervans. Word of honour. So, a farewell trip to Brazil’s “beautiful island” is an extremely welcome gift. For him, and for his five-year-old son Joaquín, who is also a Kombi fan. “Many collectors aren’t successful in passing on their passion to their children,” says Borges, delighted that it’s different in his case.
“Hands over your eyes!” the father calls out to his son. The campervan is standing ready at the Volkswagen works grounds, and Joaquín is about to experience a big surprise. “One, two, now look over there!” “Woooww!” shouts Joaquín, running around the bus once, stroking the light-blue paint with his fingers, then he jumps onto the back seat through the side door, clambers into the driver's seat, and puts his hands on the steering wheel. “I want to have one just like this, Papa!” Then he climbs over the two rows of white-and-blue-striped bench seats to the cargo area, and starts arranging the luggage: the small child’s surf board at the bottom, bags on top, the football tucked under the bench seat.