In the spring of 1947, Ben Pon, the Dutch importer of Volkswagen, on a visit to the Wolfsburg plants, saw a curious trolley set up, based on the Beetle, to transport heavy materials from one department to another of the factory. This “vision” made him think of proposing the production of a commercial vehicle to the house. A short time later he sketched, on a notepad, a sketch to be submitted to Nordhoff (the then number 1 of Volkswagen). From that sketch, based on the Beetle (the only mechanics produced by the company at the time), the Typ 2 project was born, which resulted, on 12 November 1949, in the Transporter Typ2. Due to some design problems (it was necessary to reinforce the platform frame to allow adequate transport capacity and satisfactory torsional rigidity), deliveries of the Transporter began only in March 1950. Originally equipped with the same air-cooled 4-cylinder boxer of 1131 cm³ from 25 hp, followed all the technical evolutions of the Beetle (including changes in displacement to 1192, 1285 and 1493 cm³).
The success was immediately enormous, thanks to the sturdiness, simplicity and versatility of the Transporter T1 (which German-speaking users began to affectionately call “bullies”). The vehicle became a generational myth when the Samba (two-tone with sunroof and oval roof windows) and Westfalia (camper) versions, launched in the early 1960s, became the ideal means of transport for Hippies and children of the flowers, both in Europe and on the West Coast of California. The T1 was produced until 1967 in almost 1,800,000 units.
Today, to better distinguish it from later models, it is also called Split, a contraction of Splitscreen, to identify the characteristic windshield divided into two glasses.