1957 Volkswagen Transporter

You see a fair number of second-generation Type 2 VWs rolling around on Alameda's streets, but the early 1950-67 models are getting pretty rare. I spotted this roof-rack-equipped model still carrying on its vanly duties at age 50...

1957 Volkswagen Transporter

It's been around, all right; it's a safe assumption that this isn't the only Bondo on the car. But hey, it looks kinda mean like this!

1957 Volkswagen Transporter

Judging by the roof rack, it's still being used as some sort of work vehicle. Or is the rack some kind of rare factory option that's kept in place by a VW-worshiping owner?

1957 Volkswagen Transporter

You want simple interior, mein herr? We give you one gauge, und you are lucky to get that much! The designers of the '57 Type II believed in painted sheet metal and absolute simplicity when it came to appointments in the passenger cabin. Gas gauge? Nein! Having driven a couple of reserve-tank-equipped VWs, I can say it's a bit disconcerting to have a vehicle where running out of gas is SOP.

1957 Volkswagen Transporter

Hooray for this owner's decision not to install one of those hideous RVEECO oil coolers on the side. The stock hubcaps look good, too.

1957 Volkswagen Transporter

All in all, the early Type II VW is a great example of a vehicle that sort of sucked- it was hideously underpowered, made its Beetle siblings seem like good handlers, and dissolved like a sugar cube in hot water the first time it even smelled road salt. But it could always be kept running, got decent fuel economy considering the cubic capacity, and could fit in tight spaces. Plus it looked great.

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