Volkswagen T3 Werksbesichtigungscabrio – 1:43 Scale by AutoCult

Some call it “T3”, and Americans might call it “Vanagon”. However you identify Volkswagen’s boxy third generation transporter, it’s hard not to love this special “cabrio” version utilized as a tour bus to shuttle tourists around factory tours of the company’s factory. – George@ChoiceGear


Not just another Tour-Bus

The VW T3 was the third generation of the VW-transporter. The T3 was produced from 1979 to 1992 and was the last generation with rear-wheel drive. After the VW 411/412, in the year 1968, the T3 was also the last generation of VWs with air-cooled rear-engines. Starting in 1982, the Otto-engines were switched from air-cooling to water-cooling.

As all other VW busses, the third generation had also the type description “type 2”, and within these series, the single models T1, T2 and T3 were internally numbered. However, this is an unofficial description as the model range of T3 was quite different. The model range was called officially T2-Modell ´80 and the construction of the T3 was called “EA 162” within the VW-group.

The T3 was originally planned as a transitional model between the old and new designs, but it had so much success that VW produced it for over 13 years. In addition to its production location at the “VW Nutzfahrzeugwerk” in Hannover, the T3 was also built at “Steyr Daimler Puch” in Graz/Austria from 1984 to 1992.

Even though the concept of the T3 was outdated with its engine being installed lengthwise in the rear and also not having a continuous loading platform, it had the highest sales among all vehicles in Germany, Netherlands and Austria. Production for the European market did not stop until 1992, but the production of the T3 for the African market was continued until 2003 in the South African VW-factory in Uitenhage. Here, models like the “Microbus” and “Caravelle” were produced.

The shown model was the predecessor to the production version of the T3. It was reconstructed as a convertible for tour-purposes, but never got a road approval because of safety concerns. The basis was a Caravelle which only got stripes on the chassis against the torsions.

Besides of the famous VW T2 Open Air Bus, this vehicle is still used today for factory tours and for special events at the VW headquarters.

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