A Bay is a Bay, right? Well, no as it goes. VW made a number of changes over the years,so let’s take a look and see what was on offer.
When it comes to classic cars, there’s a common belief that the earlier you go, the better. Pretty much every enthusiast always aspires to own the first generation of anything. Maybe it’s because that’s the design in its purest form, before things were added to meet the demands of the market or halt a decline in sales.
The Bay Window changed a great deal over the course of its 14 years of (German) production, but it was the first few that saw the most significant and obvious changes.
US crash regulations were to play the most significant part in the visual changes, and even the most ardent late model lover would have to admit (if you put a loaded gun to their head) that the first generation Bay is the prettier offering of the two as a result of the restyle.
However, real beauty is always more than skin deep, and the later examples were better driving machines, with larger capacity engines, better brakes and myriad refinements.
Over the course of the next few pages we’ll highlight the most significant differences between the models so you can go away and decide for yourself if late is great or early is actually the one for you.
Here come the facts…
It’s all about the style, brother, and you don’t need to be a Type 2 aficionado to tell your Early from your Late Bay Windows. When the replacement for the Split Screen Transporter broke cover in 1967 it was a much-improved machine, but still had more than a hint of Split about it. The first generation Bay sported curvy wrap around bumpers with a step beneath the cab doors, small late-model Split Screen rear lights and delicate indicators on the bottom of the front panel. These all got the chop when VW introduced the revamped Bay in August 1972 (for the ’73 model year), whilst the more rounded rear air vents, changed with the rest of the rear end in August ’71.
All of these changes were the result of stringent crash regulations that came into force in VW’s largest single market - America. These rulings also wreaked havoc on the looks of the Porsche 911, MGB and countless other European offerings with bumpers now deemed too low and feeble to cope with coming into contact with Detroit steel / American pedestrians.
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