D1 copy e

 

In March 1956, the first Bullis (Volkswagen bus) came off the production line plant at Hanover in Germany. Celebrating 60 years of existence this year, the Bullis turned out to be so popular that it also found its way to India. Also known as Volkswagen (VW) Transporter, the bus also found a way to feature in a cameo role in hit Bollywood movies ‘Don’ and ‘Deewar’; featuring none other than Amitabh Bachchan. In ‘Deewar’, released in 1975, Amitabh Bachchan, acting as a Mafia lord ferries himself in a mid-1960s Transporter to the hospital where his mother is terribly ill. With his own brother, a cop played by Shashi Kapoor, hot on his heel, the Transporter plays a safe mode of travel for Bachchan with curtains drawn across its ample glass area. Opening the sliding rear door in an attempt to swiftly get out and go check on his ill mother, the mafia lord does allow the audience a glimpse of what is inside. The interior of the Transporter looks fairly lavish in its appointments. Enough to give a clue that this bus is not an ordinary automobile. At a time when the Indian economy was ‘closed’, an automobile like the Volkswagen Transporter made a contemporary set of wheels for the famous mafia lord character. Unable to breach the police cordon, the mafia lord turns back and goes to a temple instead to pray for the good health of his mother.

 

The Transporter that featured in ‘Deewar’ is the same that D5 copyewas featured in ‘Don’ as well. It is a first generation transporter – the Type 2 (T2) Kombi with the turn indicators located below the inset head lamps. Losing the split windscreen of the earlier generation model, the T2 flaunted an aerodynamically curved front with inset lamps and a big Volkswagen logo at the centre. In fact, the front was a little carved out to present it with an amount of visual weight. A small pseudo-grille under the windscreen helped with the ventilation of the cabin. Featuring rear sliding doors, the bus was powered by a 47 hp, 1.6-litre four-cylinder ‘boxer’ petrol engine located at the rear. The T2 also did away with the swing axle rear suspension and transfer boxes used earlier to raise the ride height. Half axles were instead fitted with constant velocity joints. This avoided the wild changes in camber of the Beetle-based swing axle suspension. The Kombi, it is no secret, was born out of the Beetle. Like the Beetle it went to become as iconic, and continues to be much sought after even today. Production of the Transporter moved to Brazil in 1967.

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