History of the T2 'Bay Window'
The expert team at JK have pooled their knowledge to produce a comprehensive model history of the Volkswagen T2 ‘Bay Window’. Topics covered include production history, camper conversions and vehicle usage. Particular attention has been paid to VW T2 Bay technical information incorporating engine codes, chassis numbers, paint codes, T2a ‘Early Bays’, T2b ‘Late Bays’ and ‘Crossover’ models. All VW T2 Bay variants are covered from Campers, Panel Vans, and Crew Cabs through to Westfalias and Kombis.
Body Styles and model variants
Volkswagen offered a huge range of models or variants of the VW Transporter, here are some of the factory combinations:
- Panel van, a delivery van without side windows or rear seats.
- Walk-Through models had single passenger and driver seat, allowing you to ‘walk through’ to the rear.
- Bulk head models had double passenger seats and single drivers seat (mostly on commercial versions like vans and pickups)
- High Roof Panel Van (German: Hochdach), a delivery van with factory fitted raised fibreglass roof.
- Kombi, known in Germany as a Kombinationskraftwagen (combination motor vehicle), with side windows and removable rear seats, both a passenger and a cargo vehicle combined. Seats were easy to remove and the rubber floor mat made it very practical for work use.
- Bus, was a windowed van with more comfortable interior reminiscent of a car. Normally 3 rows of seats, headlining all the way through, heating vents front, middle and rear.
- Deluxe, was the ‘up market’ version of the Bus, but was available with optional extras, such as chrome bumpers, late models had headlamp washers! Rubber trim on bumpers, 2 tone paint etc
- Single Cab Pickup, seated 3 in the front. Rear flat bed load area with storage lockers underneath. Was also available with wider load bed and extended mirrors.
- Crew cab pick-up, normally a 6-seat version of the pickup. Known in Germany as a Doppelkabine. Again had under bed storage, but with smaller access doors. Was available with 1 or 2 rear passenger doors.
- Westfalia , also known as a , "Westy". These came in a variety of finishes, with the option of an elevating roof, which used the deluxe Bus sunroof aperture. The interiors varied on the year and if the vehicle was produced for European or USA / Canadian export. Most VW fans see the Westfalia camper as the ultimate conversion.
Commercial and Camper conversions
Because of the style of the VW Transporter and the fact that VW were very relaxed about 3rd party companies converting them to alternative uses, there became a variety of specialist vehicles such as, refrigerated vans, hearses, ambulances, police vans, fire engines and ladder trucks.
There was also a small ‘army’ of convertors around the world turning both vans and buses into campers. These varied drastically in quality and luxury. Some of the well-known UK converters were Danbury, Devon, Dormobile, Canterbury Pitt, and Viking etc. Just Kampers supply a great range of camper and camping interior parts for conversion and restoration.
Production history and model development
Aug 1967 Saw the ‘Bay Window’ model replace the ‘Split Screen’. It was a radical rethink with changes such as ball joint front suspension, rather than king and link pin. Independent rear suspension, also known as IRS, was fitted instead of reduction boxes and swing-arms, a one-piece windscreen, wind down cab windows. Engines were fitted with a ‘back bar’ to stabilize the engine. In fact just about every body panel and mechanical part is changed.
1969 New front axle, fuel tank is now hidden behind a bulkhead, door handles are changed.
1970 Minor changes took place such as the fuse box, otherwise an uneventful year.
1971 > 72 Introduction of front disc brakes and new rear brakes. Also the introduction of the small 5 stud wheels with flat hubcaps.
1972 Bodywork changes included flared front and rear wheel arches. Tall rear lights, with reverse lights as an optional extra. This year also saw the introduction of the 1.7L flat Type 4 style engine with twin carbs. There were some vehicles with early style arches and disc brakes. A few of the late ‘72 vehicles have high front indicators and ‘73 on front panels but still have the wrap around style front and rear bumpers.
1973 Huge model revamp. The ‘wrap around’ style bumpers were replaced with the square style. The front indicators were moved up to the new grille. Changes were also made to the front arches and cab floor, accelerator linkage, steering box and many other improvements such as the 1800cc engine. Front brakes were again upgraded.
1974 Main changes were improved gear linkage, the indicators and wash wipe switches were upgraded, along with the sliding door and lock.
1975 Only big change was the cab doors are a ‘one year only’ style.
1976 Changes to the cab doors / hinges. The accelerator linkage and pedal are also revamped.
1977 No notable changes.
1978 The main change was in August 1978 when the 2000cc engines had new cylinder heads and the heat exchangers were remodeled.
1979 Sadly saw the end of ‘Bay Window’ production in Germany.
Quick guide to help identification of VW T2 Transporters
'Early Bays’ 1967 > 1971 Distinguished by small rear lights, smooth wrap around bumpers and low mounted front indicators above the bumper.
Crossover - 'Late 71 Bays’ Flared wheel arches but still have small rear lights and drum brakes.
Crossover - 'Late 72 Bays’ Low front indicators, early wrap around bumpers, but tall rear lights, disc brakes, supported gearbox and the option of servo brakes.
'Late ‘Bays’ 1973 > 1979 These are distinguished by large rear lights, grooved non-wrap around bumpers and high mounted front indicators either side of the grill. They also have the flared wheel arches all round.
Bay Window chassis numbers explained
The chassis number, or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), can be found stamped on an aluminum plate either behind the front seats or in the engine bay. An example chassis number might read: 229 375 250 (This number belongs to a Type 2 Microbus made in 1969)...
The first digit of the chassis number, '2', indicates that this is a Type 2.
The second digit of the VIN, again '2', denotes the vehicle model. Which model do you have?
1. Panel van
2. Microbus 7/9 seater
3. Kombi i.e. van with windows
4. Deluxe microbus 7/9 seater
The third digit of the chassis number represents the year
|1968||218 000 001||>||218202251|
|1969||219 000 001||>||219300000|
|1970||210 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1971||211 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1972||212 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1973||213 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1974||214 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1975||215 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1976||216 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1977||217 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1978||218 2000 001||>||2102300000|
|1979||219 2000 001||>||2102300000|
T2 Bay Window engine numbers
The engine number can be found stamped on the top of the crankcase, centrally above the crankshaft pulley on the type 1 or type 2 engines. And stamped on the top of the crankcase above the Cooling fan on the type 4 engine.
T2 Bay Window engine types
There were two engine options that were originally fitted to the VW Transporter between 1967 and 1979.
The first was the Type 2 1600cc engine, which is identical to the Type 1 Beetle engine except it has an extra engine mounting at the rear of the crankcase. Commonly referred to as an upright engine. The second option first appeared in 1972 and this was the Type 4 engine which was sold in three sizes, 1700, 1800 and 2000cc. Commonly referred to as a Pancake or Type 4 engine.
Type 1 and 2 Engines
Type 4 Engines
T2 Bay Window paint codes
What colour is my VW? Although many VW Campers started out all white and the conversion companies (Devon, Dormobile etc) resprayed the bottom half the colour the customer chose (Orange was obviously a very popular colour in the 1970’s) there were many factory colour options too. Below are the colours available from Volkswagen, when the Transporter was manufactured.
L87 Pearl White
L90D Pastel White
L91Z Atlas White
L282 Lotus White
L581 Cloud White
L20B Brilliant Orange
L555 Titian Red
L30B Kansas Red
L30H Montana Red
L31A Senegal Red
L31H Chianti Red
LH3A Fox Red
L11H Sierra Yellow
L20A Marino Yellow
L21A Chrome Yellow
L62H Bali Yellow
L60D Elm Green
L61B Sumatra Green
L63H Sage Green
L512 Velvet Green
L610 Delta Green
L50H Brilliant Blue
L50K Neptune Blue
L53D Niagra Blue
L53H Orient Blue
L57H Reef Blue
LE1M Mexico Beige
L13A Dakota Beige
L13H Ceylon Beige
L91D Kansas Beige
L620 Savannah Beige
L12A Panama Brown
L87Z Agate Brown
LH8A Date Brown
L345 Light Grey
Information is correct to the best of our knowledge, and we accept no responsibility for erroneous information.
What happened when production stopped in Hannover in 1979? They are still made in Brazil today and available from Danbury near Bristol!
Brazil has manufactured the Kombi from Splitscreen in the 1950s, through to a version of the German Bay Window, the obvious differences being a slightly higher metal roof, a raised bulge on the cab doors and in recent years the 1600cc air-cooled engine was replaced in December 2005, with a 1400cc water-cooled engine and as it’s water-cooled, they have a black plastic radiator cover on the front panel.
Mexico also produced the Bay Window, again initially as a 1600cc air-cooled engine and in the early 1990’s fitting a water-cooled 1800cc 90 bhp fuel-injected engine.
As Brazil still builds about 35,000 Kombis a year, this makes it a very popular local vehicle and the longest production run vehicle in the world.
Where else has the T2 Bay Window been built? In KDF (Knock Down Form) or in local factories they have been built in:
- Germany - August 1967 to August 1979
- Mexico - 1970 to 1996
- Brazil - 1976 to 2013
- Argentina - 1981 to 1986
- Australia - 1968 to 1979
Landmark production years
- August 1967 sees the 1st ‘Bay Window’ Transporter produced in Germany at the Hannover plant
- 1968 sees the 2,000,000th Transporter roll off the German production lines (in Hannover)
- 1977 sees the 4,500,000th Transporter roll off the German production lines (in Hannover)
- August 1979 production stops in Germany to allow the ‘T25 or T3 to be produced
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