Volkswagen Kombi

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No, you are definitely not sitting in traffic on the ring road around your local city, in your head, if you are over 40, there’s a Beachboys track playing, surfboards are stacked on the roof – having received a fresh waxing from Dr Zog’s – you can see the shimmering ocean ahead and your straight toothed friends are lounging on the vinyl seats behind you. If you are under 40, you are listening to some cool hip hop-raggae crossover, your tanned shoulders are graced by you sun bleached locks that blend seamlessly with your companion in her El Niño bikini.

So hand’s up who’s daydreaming? I am for sure …. Where in the World could you be? Santa Cruz (California (USA)), Tarifa, (Cadiz (Spain) or Surfers Paradise (The Gold Coast, Queensland (Aus)) – any of these and several thousands more. See our earlier post here – Morey Boogie boards

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And what are you at the helm of? A iconic Volkswagen Kombi (or “Bus” (USA) or “Camper” or “Campervan” (UK)), of course!

Ben Pon, a Dutch importer of Volkswagens, visited the Wolfsburg factory in 1946 and was inspired by quality of the VW stock and, in 1947, produced a sketch – see below – of a van which he shared with Volkswagen. Early prototypes were produced but had very poor wind drag figures but splitting the screen improved this somewhat and validated the reason to commence production.

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Introduced in 1949, the Kombi was an air-cooled rear engined van then known as the “Volkswagen Type 2”, the Beetle having been Type 1 – another passion of ours – see our earlier post here. Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined.

The standard Type 2 Kombi was built between March 1950 to then end of 1967 but a number of variants, including increasingly larger engines – between 1.1 litres up to 1.6 litres, were introduced including single-cab pickups and ambulances. The early T2 (later called the T1) model production was continued in Brazil until 1975, long after production ceased in Hanover in 1967.

Originally classified by the number of windows the Kombi vehicle had such as 21, 23 plus a panoramic roof of eight windows. Subsequently, international numbering has been based on the version from T2, T3, T4, T5 and T6 – which was launched in 2015.

The first sixty years of VW T1 to T3 history are shown in the following image:

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The height of the Kombi’s popularity was its role in the Hippy subculture movement of the 1960’s when version were heavily painted often by hand in psychodelic spirals, flowers  etc. Check out our earlier post on the Summer of Love – click here – Peace Sign and The Summer of Love

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The Type 2S introduced in 1968 heavily modified the earlier vehicle. After production of the T2 ceased in Europe it was produced in Brazil – at the Anchieta plant at Sao Bernardo do Campo (Sao Paulo, Brazil) – until December 31, 2013, due to the introduction of more stringent safety regulations in the country.

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There was a final production run of 1200 vehicles called “the Last Edition” see below that celebrated 56 years of Kombi production in Brazil. I have seen these final vans available on legitimate websites – imported as is – into the UK for around £42,000.

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So, for those of you who want to relive an epic era in a new version of a classic and iconic vehicle – your dream is complete. In addition, there are several businesses around the world who maintain and rebuild original Kombis whether for sale or for hire. Indeed, I know of one intrepid soul who rented with friends a Kombi for Glastonbury. A perfect temporary home and respite from the Somerset mud!

For all you young and old hippies – the perfect desk-top dreamer is this fantastic scale model of a 1976 Hippie image clad T2 – get one here by clicking below the image:

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PremiumX 1:43 Scale “Hippie 1976 Volkswagen T2 Kombi” Model Car

Shout out about your poassion with these VW Camper retro style T shirts – click the link below the image

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Mens VW Campervan Camper Retro camp Van Volkswagen Top T-shirt NEW S-XXL (Medium, Black)

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Mens VW Campervan T25 Camper Retro camp Van Volkswagen Top T-shirt NEW S-XXL (X-Large, Indigo)

Saving for your next surf adventure – why not get this wonderful VW Campervan Money box? Click on the link below the image

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VW Collection by Brisa VW T1 Flowers Money Bank

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Images with grateful thanks – Volkswagen AG

Airstream trailers

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Ok – hands up – I don’t like caravans. They tend to be ugly and baulk the free flow of traffic. If you could chose to have an away day at the seaside regardless of the weather why would you chose to stay in a fibre-glass shed with limited ventilation and the ever present aroma of damp and the chemical toilet?

On the other hand, with a face clad in a pair of classic Ray-bans – please see our previous post here – Ray-Ban Wayfarers you’d be more than happy to freeze at a windy beach, shrink your intimate regions to the size of raisins to catch some great waves, if you knew at the end of the day your temporary home was a warm aluminium-shelled beach cabin with every mod-con! Enjoy our earlier outdoor posts of other American branded icons here Morey Boogie boards and Frisbee

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Yes, the Airstream trailer – American for “caravan” – is less a motorway frustrator and more a cigar tube with benefits! These wonderful portable homes ooze charm and scream American icon.

Company founder, Wally Byam, in Los Angeles in the late 1920’s, started to build and market trailers. Airstream’s distinctive shape, with its curved, riveted and polished aluminium body, has its roots in aircraft building and the 1930’s designs of Hawley Bowlus, the engineer responsible for Lindburgh’s “Spirit of St. Louis”. Bowlus designed a trailer that Byam marketed and in 1936 he acquired the Bowlus company which included the trailer re-launched by Byam as the “Airstream Clipper”. It had a sleeping capacity for four, its own water supply and electric lights and cost $1200.

Closed during the war years due to the scarcity of raw materials, by 1948 Byam’s was back in business opening a new factory in Jackson Center, Ohio in 1952, where today the company, now a part of Thor Industries Inc. employs more than 475 people and manufactures more than 2000 trailers per year.

Interestingly, Airstream make European models that are slightly smaller in dimensions than their US versions as European roads tend to be narrower and the SUV vehicles used to tow their trailers tend to be less powerful.

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In many ways Airstream is one of those companies whose reach is beyond their brand and a stimulus to development of a sub-culture. The Wally Byam Caravan Club International – which he founded and led – helped to stretch the horizons of its members by seeking out parts of new and fascinating locations.

In many trailer park locations, the Airstream has provided families with a static camping option with jacuzzi’s and outdoor cooking – see our previous post here – Weber Grill

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Perhaps the iconic status of the Airstream can be best summed up in the words of Geoff Wardle, Chair of Transportation Design at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, who is quoted a having said, “The Airstream is a pure object, which is why it has lasted.”

Given its iconic status companies that already have a very defined aesthetic, like Bentley – for their 4×4 Bentayga – and Tesla,  have used images of their vehicles pulling Airstreams to make a connection with, particularly an American audience.

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To support Tesla’s launch of its SUV crosser Model X in 2016 it launched a series of Airstream trailers which travelled the US as portable “design studios” to demonstrate the car’s towing ability.

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Wanna know some more? There’s an excellent publication by Patrick R. Foster that documents the first 80 years of the Airstream – click the link below the image to pick up a copy

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Airstream: 80 Years of America’s World Traveler

For those who already love Airstream’s trailers – why not show the world? Get this Airstream image long sleeved T shirt – click on the link below the image

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CafePress – Airstream Trailer – Unisex Cotton Long Sleeve T-Shirt

I particularly like the vibe of this natural canvas bag – click on the link below the image to get one 

See also our earlier posts on the Peace Symbol here – Peace Sign and The Summer of Love and The Peace Sign

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CafePress – Peace, Love And Vintage Trailers – Natural Canvas Tote Bag, Cloth Shopping Bag

Interest to be part of the Community why not connect to Airstream’s own online newsletter – “The Rivet” – click here to sign up –  The Rivet

Image Credits courtesy of Airstream, Bentley and Tesla with grateful thanks

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Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

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Launched: 1972

Designer: Ralph Lifshitz (aka Ralph Lauren) developed his version of the Polo Shirt design – which was first launched by Rene Lacoste in 1933 – see our post here – Lacoste Shirt.

History: After designing and retailing ties, Ralph developed his Polo brand first with ties and then shirts – gaining the rights from Brooks Brothers (for whom he worked briefly in late 1964) – see our post here – Brooks Brothers Shirts  – in the process who to this day use the “original polo button-down collar” shirt on their button down range.

Launched in 1972 in 24 colours this pique cotton shirt – often features the number 3 – said to represents the number that the captain of the Polo team typically wears.

My Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt: Perhaps re-imagined and derivative but in the 1990’s a Ralph Polo shirt with its little polo-player logo was very good short hand for who you were. It continues to come in a range of amazing colours and if anything I suspect they are now cut even a little fuller than they once were. They are hard wearing and a great accompaniment to summer time short. I am very fond of them even it is only a rare sight to see me on a horse – with or without a polo stick in my hand.

Your Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt: Share your love for these fabulous shirts here….

Photo from Ralph Lauren with grateful thanks

 

 

Levi‘s 501

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501’s were seen as work-wear for much of its first sixty years being rechristened ‘blue jeans’ in the 1950’s.

Jacob Davis, a tailor, was approached by a workman’s wife asking for a stronger pair of trousers. He sought a solution to pocket and fly tearing experienced by workers using his denim trousers by applying copper rivets to the stress points of the garment. He then went in search of a partner to help make these early examples.

Levi Strauss was a dry goods vender who had sold Jacob the denim he needed for his early samples. They joined forces and the production which following its the grant of Patent on 20th May 1873  for “waist overalls” heralded a massive success.

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In 1886 the Two Horse leather patch was first used and added to the overalls.  In 1890 the Patent passed into the Public Domian, meaning the company lost their exclusive over riveted denim. As a result the company introduced the “501” as the definitive version of their denim work “waist overalls”, with copper rivets and the Two Horse leather and later the “leather-like” patch.

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By 1936 the Red Tab appeared. These ingenious and other design elements have ensured that Levi Strauss have been able to seek protection for their design against cynical copying. The company spend million of dollars annually protecting their Intellectual Property Rights.

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Always at the heart of youth culture, the universal appeal stems from its integrity, a loyalty to the original design, the highest quality denim and sturdy manufacture.

I have loved Levi’s jeans since a teenager. Whilst the waist band may have expanded – and indeed contracted on various occasions due to mad cabbage soup diets etc – I have been through zip-fly, yellow label and 360 degrees back to red-label button-fly 501.

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They are simply my favourite jeans that have seen me through endless concerts and music festivals. Dylan at Blackbush in 1977 (that included sleeping on Waterloo Station concourse due to a missed last train), to Glastonbury mud-caked, U2 and the Rolling Stones at Wembley to Mumford and Sons at Benicassim they have simply been more than a wardrobe anchor.

Today they combine perfectly with classic shoes, an Argentinian woven belt and a great shirt and/or jacket – depending on the season – for London creative business meetings. Less Revolution and more Evolution my 501s – and I now have several favourite pairs – are still beautifully made, ooze classic iconic style and are, above all, hugely dependable.

Would you like a pair of Levis 501? Click this AMAZON link to buy your own iconic jeans click the Amazon link below the image: 

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Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Onewash), 34W x 30L

The essential Argentinian belt can also be added here by clicking the Amazon link below the image – make sure you get the right length!

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Carlos Diaz Mens Womens Unisex Argentinian Brown Leather Embroidered Polo Belt (85 cm/ 32-34 Inches)

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Photo by Levi Strauss