Free Spirits unite, the Bus is back!

Just about everyone over the age of 35 has memories of the original VW bus. There was a time when the microbus was quite literally everywhere. Hippies, surfers, party animals, family campers, transplanted Europeans and a whole bunch of regular folks drove a bus.

They were inexpensive, reliable, practical and more than anything, they were one of the coolest modes of transportation available. That level of cool turned the VW bus into an icon that continues today as kids are introduced to Fillmore the groovy VW in the Cars movies.

Ten years ago, Volkswagen toured a concept called the microbus. Bus fans all over the world clamored for more info and begged VW to build it. For whatever reason, the brass at VW felt the time was not right for the concept. Now that the idea has marinated for a decade, the Bulli concept has come to life. Originally unveiled at the 2011 Geneva show, we saw it at the 2011 New York Auto Show which is on now.

The most obvious comparison to the original is the visual statement created by the two tone paint scheme, but the efficiency and functionality assets are there too. Designed as a six seater, the Bulli has something we haven’t seen on the market in years: A bench seat for 3 in the front! The rear seat is also a bench. Just like the original, these two benches fold down to create a bed. The Bulli adds an element of cool to the minivan by including an entertainment system that is controlled by an iPad that is mounted in the dash and is removable.

In keeping with the times, the plan is for Bulli to have the front wheels driven by an electric motor rather than a gas engine behind the rear wheels. For those of us who are firmly gripped by range anxiety, VW are quick to point out that there could be gasoline and diesel powerplants as an alternative.

Hopefully, if fans cheer hard enough, VW will actually build the Bulli. I know one household that would proudly have one!

About Gary Grant

Gary Grant Gary knows cars. He attributes his love of all things automotive to his early life in the 1960s and 1970s. Gary’s father was a road racer in Ontario, Canada and thus, Gary went along for the ride. No, we don’t mean he was literally along for the ride during his father’s races. He just went to them all. We think the smell of hot Castrol R burned into his brain and left quite the impression. Gary spent the majority of his childhood turning wrenches on race karts and traveling to kart tracks all across Canada. He’s also followed in his father’s tire tracks, having built his own autocross cars, and competed professionally. In the 1980s and 1990s, Gary and his wife served as crew for a few teams in the Firehawk series, not to mention competing as a pair in their Swift GTi rally car. While he may not be competing professionally today, Gary is still on the ride. When he isn’t coaching his kids in kart races, he is traveling near and far to cover the world’s leading auto shows, special events and auctions for us here at

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