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Volkswagen to end production of iconic hippie bus this year

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volkswagen hippie bus (art konovalov /
volkswagen hippie bus (art konovalov /

Volkswagen has announced that its last van, beloved of hippies the world over, will roll off production lines at the end of this year. First introduced in 1950, the bus became strongly associated with the counterculture movement of the 60s and touring bands such as the Grateful Dead, but it hasn't kept up with changing times. The Associated Press reports that new legislation in Brazil, the sole producer of the vans, requires all vehicles to include air bags and anti-lock brakes, which Volkswagen is unable to implement.

Volkswagen Brazil will manufacture the final blue and white models with commemorative features such as vinyl upholstery. The Brazilian arm of the company, centered in São Paulo, has been the only producer of Volkswagen vans since a Mexican factory stopped in 1995, and has turned out over 1.5 million since 1957. Although the end may be in sight for one of the most recognizable vehicles in history, its legacy is secure in countless legends and anecdotes — Steve Jobs, for example, is said to have sold his for capital to help found Apple.