Old And In The Way

by thoughtsonthedead

vw microbus cross sectionLong-time readers will know that my love for the Grateful Dead does not in any way extend to Hippie culture, and this unholy spawn of a lunchbox and a tubercular scooter is a good example of why.  You might as well street luge, for all the safety features: the main factor in the Microbus’ safety record is that it can’t go fast enough to get into a lethal accident. (Although, you would most likely perforate your liver on the steering wheel, which would be lethal as fuck.)

That’s the engine in back–just like a racecar!–and it eventually made 40 brake-horsepower, which if you don’t know anything about cars, is not enough. For the first few years of the ‘bus’ production, it had the exact same motor as Beetle, which would be fine had the Microbus not been three times the weight and shaped like a not-particularly-sleek loaf of bread.

Also, it was an air-cooled engine. In theory, an air-cooled engine uses vanes radiating out from the block to funnel air over the surface of the motor, thereby cooling it. In practice, an air-cooled engine overheats. Think back to your last car purchase: was an air-cooled engine an option? There’s a reason why not.

But, being so simply made, the buses were modifiable; you could put a bed or couches in or install a kitchen or dungeon.

And it was almost entirely made out of windows. You could see the shit out of America.

There’s a new one now, but safety regulations and environmental laws have turned it into just another SUV. (But it’s going to be electric, which seems in the spirit of the Hippiemobile, at least.) You are–quite literally–legally enjoined from making a vehicle even close to this basic today anywhere in the developing world.

Which is sad to everyone but the guy stuck behind one.

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