Type 25s. You only buy one when you can’t afford a Bay or a Split. True or false? We know the answer, so let’s have a look at the arguments.
The Type 25 is an unfortunate beast. For the last decade and then some, we’ve been banging the drum for them and saying how their time has finally come, but in actual fact it would appear to have been and gone. If you blinked you probably missed it. The problem is they’re still just too darn modern for those who want to keep their camping old-school but still too quirky (and often rusty) for those who want the ease and performance of a reliable go anywhere, anytime water-cooled Bus. So if it’s a case horses for courses and Splits and Bays for one camp and T5s and T6s B for the other, when does this donkey get to fly? Where exactly does that leave the third generation Transporter? We’d argue it’s the thinking man and woman’s choice. It bridges the gap perfectly between the air- and water-cooled eras because, well, there are air- and water-cooled versions of the Bus that signed off the rear-engined era for VW and passed the baton on to the T4.
This quick peep at the air-cooled generation and the Late Bay it replaced should throw a little light on these fabulous machines. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, lets get Wedged up.
The VW Type 25 is more correctly known as the T3 as this is based on VW’s internal naming system. The T1 was the Split, the T2 was the Bay and so obviously the T3 came next and was followed by the T4, T5 and current T6. Where does the Type 25 moniker come from? Legend has it that a UK-based VW importer began calling them Type 25s having taken the first two digits of the model codes for the Panel Van, Bus and Kombi – namely Type 251, 253 and 255. Whatever it’s origin, that’s how they’re commonly known in the UK, but everyone else on the planet refers to them as T3s, unless you’re American, in which case they’re called Vanagons, but let’s not even get into that one.
Rewind to 1975, and we’ll find a motoring world that by-and-large believed air-cooled rear-engined cars to be an old fashioned and out-dated concept. Possibly because few other manufactures had managed to make a go of it more than anything else. Chevrolet Corvair anyone? However, VW was too smart to take a huge gamble with the replacement for the Bay Window, and so opted for evolution over revolution. Rather than stake their reputation and considerable income on an entirely new front-engined Type 2, they decided to stick with the tried and tested formula you and I love so much.
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