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At the North American International Auto Show in January, the company showed the world a very handsome and production-feasible microbus concept—the all-electric I. Part of the microbus genius lies in its cab-over configuration.There is no engine and hood sticking out past the windshield."It was anti-style, anti-success, and rebellious in a totally new way." Popular comedian and actor Gabriel Iglesias is a microbus fanatic who owns 20 of them."It's always going to be attached to the 1960s and have that free love, hippie influence," says Iglesias. The bus character Filmore in the movie is very much a [representation] of that."The VW microbus was great at many things, but keeping up with traffic wasn't one of them."It was cheap to maintain, easy to work on, and big enough to live in." Plus, the humble, low-power bus stood in contrast to the potent muscle cars and large, low and luxurious sedans that were popular at the time."The bus flew in the face of traditional social culture," says Reed."When you encountered a microbus with a full painted face, two-tone trim and a big VW badge—that was something completely different coming at you on the street."The design got the most out of the vehicles' footprint, Reed says.

Today, those same vans could command double that price, according to Hagerty, and that's just average condition.Here in America, the friendly face of the Microbus was (and still is) seen parked beachside loaded with surfboards on their roofs. The interior was purposely plain, with rubber mats on the floor.That meant generations of surfers could stow their boards inside or out without worrying about ruining and carpet. And there was plenty of space inside to camp out for the night—or just hang and enjoy a beer and a great sunset.VW stuck the bus's air-cooled four-cylinder in the back, as with the Beetle.That allowed the driver to sit directly on top of the front wheels to create both an incredible view ahead and a vast space behind for passengers or cargo, and created that classic flat front."If you think of the 1950s, big American cars with bold grill statements were everywhere," says Stewart Reed, chair of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.

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In 1950, it officially greeted the world as the Type 2 Transporter (the VW Beetle was Type 1).

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