Thursday, March 13, 2014

VW Kombi Bus Guestbook

A couple months ago, in Austin, TX, I came across this retro VW Kombi van in the parking lot of a famous independent bookstore. Everything about the scene made sense to me: Austin (famous for its hippie vibe), the bookstore (known for its independent spirit and extensive travel book section), and the VW van (it even had a cheery license plate from Hawaii!) I loved imagining where this "minibus" had been, and where it was going.

Over the years, the Volkswagen "Kombi" van has become a travel icon. It's the the longest-produced car in automotive history, originating in 1950 and ending its production in 2013.  Also known as the "Type 2" (the Beetle is "Type 1"), the Kombi gets its name from the German word kombinationskraftwagen. Though the name means the van can combine both passengers and cargo, I like to think it's about emphasizing togetherness: the bringing together of all types. (The name's also really fun to say out loud, in your best German accent).

In the '60s and '70s, the Kombi became mainly associated with hippies and surfers. People also used it to camp and travel the country, turning it into a mini-home-on-wheels. Today, the van exemplifies free spirit: the excitement of love, the memories of family, or the adventure of the open road.

Bleu de Toi first started drawing the Kombi out of response to the popular "Love Bug" balloon guestbook. So many interested clients contacted BDT over the years, that the Kombi was designated a standard design. Clients who order the Kombi usually have a special story to go along with their drawing--a family camping vehicle, or a "love van." Often, their Kombis have decked-out interiors and special personalities. But whatever the reason behind the guestbook, the Kombi is a great symbol for starting your life together. We wish you peace, love, and joy on your groovy adventure! 

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