Making a Statement with Sign-Written T2s

Making a Statement with Sign-Written T2s

More from this author

Making a Statement with Sign-Written T2s

VW designed the Type 2 for both small owner-operated companies and larger companies that needed fleets of delivery vehicles.

The fact that it could be painted and sign-written to be a rolling advert for the company was highlighted from the very start. Volkswagen published a book that its dealers could use during the process of selling vehicles, which showed numerous examples of liveried Panel Vans under different headings. Companies dealing in cheese, coffee, soft drinks, tabaco, textiles, sewing machines, furniture, you name it!



The limited paint colours VW offered (L31 Dove Blue, L21 Pearl Grey, L22 Medium Grey, L73 Chestnut Brown and L76 Brown Beige) provided a base for other colours to be added to either the top half above the ‘beltline’ or below it. Other examples showed the roof alone being painted on in different colour of paint. Graphics such as stripes added impact, as did pictorial logos.




Perhaps the most interesting ideas used to ‘drive’ the message were the custom additions some companies commissioned. Examples such as big sewing machines, cigarette packets, pieces of furniture and roof mounted panels with logos and company names painted on them really added the wow factor.



Volkswagen also promoted the use of the interior of the Type 2 by offering bespoke conversions such as racking and shelving, and showed how the interior could be used for promotional demonstrations of products. An example of this is a Samba fitted with a table mounted sewing machine. Obviously the vehicle had to be adapted to supply the correct electrical output to power the machine. The idea being the sales representative would be able to visit a company, either a retailer or end user and conduct a demonstration of the latest products at their premises without the need waste time setting the unit up.

Both ideas were to benefit both the companies buying the vehicles and the dealer selling them, as they earned addition money by arranging the conversions.



Another interesting element is that within the promotional book were a number of different styles of roof racks and roof mounts. All of which would be highly desirable today! 



Any original logo’d Type 2 from the '50s, '60s or '70s has become hot property today. The wilder or more extravagant the paintwork is, the more appreciation it draws. But it doesn’t matter if it was originally owned by a famous brand known globally or a dry cleaning company unheard of outside the town or city the company was based, there’s something about sign-written vans that makes them special. Perhaps it's the fact they are reminders of the past, or show they really did work for a company and were an essential part of business. The fact is, they are still actually advertising the company up to half a century later, and that’s something of phenomena, it certainly proves VW was right to promote the service to customers.


The use of vehicles to advertise your company is now normal practice all over the world. We are not saying VW were the first vehicles to carry signwriting, but VW promoted the value it offered business customers in a way that made their advice seem very positive.

2 years ago