Volkswagen Terms And Definitions

aftermarket - A fancy name for the huge industry that manufactures and sells new automotive parts outside the dealer network. At this point, virtually all of the new parts we buy for our vintage Volkswagens come from the "aftermarket".

Bambus tray - This is the cool accessory shelf that fits under a bug's dash, to give you a convenient place to stash your cell phone, maps, etc. Originally they were made of bamboo. Several of the aftermarket suppliers sell nice reproductions of this classic bug accessory.

banana bumpers - See "pressed bumpers".

barn door bus - This is the common name for an early bus (prior to March 1955). These buses have a single rear hatch (the "barn door") instead of one for the cargo area and a separate one for the engine, like later buses have.

batwing wheel - The beautiful steering wheels installed on Deluxe Beetles from late '49 until '55 are often called "batwing wheels" because the thick cross bar has cast-in ribs that make it resemble a bat's wing.

bay window bus - The most common term used to describe model year 1968 - 1979 transporters. These buses have a full, curved windshield, instead of the "split" windshield that was installed on buses through model year 1967.

belly pan - The large metal cover screwed to the underside of a bus's cab to protect the suspension, steering box, etc. from rocks, dirt and water. AKA a "skid pan".

Binz pickup - Before Volkswagen started manufacturing the double cab pickup in Nov. 1958, coachbuilder Karosseriefabrik BINZ of Lorsch, WÜrttemberg was converting single cab pickup trucks into double cab pickups of their own design. Volkswagen was selling these pickups through their dealership network (as special model S016), but individuals could also take their single cab directly to Binz to have the the conversion performed. Compared to the double cab pickups later produced by the Volkswagen factory, the Binz double cab has a larger back seat area with a back door only on the passenger side. An oval badge attached to the bulkhead behind the front passenger seat identifies the vehicle as a Binz conversion. From 1953 through Dec. 1958, it's believed that only about 600 of these conversions were performed by Binz, so survivors are rare today.

block-off plate - This is the metal cover that attaches to the dashboard to cover the rectangular hole where the radio is supposed to go. Most VW's came from the factory with no radio, and the block-off plate (painted the same color as the dash) makes a radio-less dash look a little more finished. Original block-off plates in the common colors can be found at most swap meets and it's sure a lot cheaper and easier than trying to find a decent radio to "fill the void" in your dash! Also called a "delete plate".

bowden tube - This is the flexible tube on the side of the transmission that the clutch cable goes through just before it attaches to the clutch lever with the large adjusting wing nut. For the clutch cable to work smoothly, the bowden tube must have about 3/4" to 1" of sag in it. The proper amount of sag is achieved by adding or removing spacer washers at the end of the tube.

bubble top bus - Another name for a bay window bus. Seldom used.

bubble window - Another name for a bay window bus. Sometimes used to describe a bug manufactured after 1967.

bulkhead model - AKA "bench seat". Most buses could be ordered with one of 2 different front seat configurations; "bulkhead" or "walkthru". The bulkhead style had a full front bench seat with a sturdy metal wall (the "bulkhead") welded behind it that extended from the floor to the top of the seat back. In a passenger bus, the bulkhead layout with its full bench front seat provided a "9 passenger" seating arrangement, while the walk-thru models with their split front seat resulted in a "7 passenger" seating arrangement. We've seen walk-thru panels, but it doesn't appear that the "walkthru" option was available for double-cab pickups.

cabriolet - Another name for a bug or Ghia "convertible".

Campmobile - The product name Westfalia used to identify the camper conversions they produced for Volkswagen.

cargo doors - These are the 2 doors on the side of a bus that open from the middle. For buses exported to North America, the cargo doors were generally installed on the right side of the bus. But as an option, a bus could be ordered with cargo doors on the left side, or even cargo doors on both the left and right sides.

church key - A cast metal "key" with a simple tapered square shaft, that was used to "unlock" the gas filler door and engine lid on early transporters. Model year 1965 replaced this latch on the engine lid with a puch button. And in model year 1967 this type of latch was dropped form the gas filler door. For easy retrieval, the church key was stored in a simple "holster" clip that screwed to the interior kick panel next to the driver's leg.

clamshell - Those cool, white plastic translucent "wall sconce" lamp shades you see on the walls, inside campers.

CKD - Abbreviation for "completely knocked down". This may be how you felt after the last club party!, but actually this term describes the way Volkswagen shipped their cars and trucks to countries outside Germany (e.g., Australia, South Africa...), to be assembled in that country. Each vehicle was shipped as a "knocked down" kit that could be easily assembled, so VW's could be produced in that country without the need for a full-blown production-line factory.

color sanding - Most new paint jobs (even on many new cars) will have a slight "orange peel" texture. To get a real shine, this texture must be sanded smooth, so after the new paint job has "cured", it is sanded with very fine (1600 to 2000 grit) "wet/dry" sand paper. This "color sanding" process is tricky to execute without "sanding through" the new paint, but its the only way to get a super shiney, high quality finish.

Crew Cab - See "Double Cab Pickup".

delete plate - See "block-off plate.

deluxe bus - The Deluxe model was essentially an 11 window microbus with an additional window added to each side towards the back of the bus, giving you a 13 window bus. Prior to model year 1964, the Deluxe bus also sported a unique curved window in each rear corner, resulting in a 15 window bus. In addition to the extra windows, the Deluxe bus also had a band of polished aluminum trim (with a strip of colored plastic beading down the center) running all the way around the outside, plus fancy rubber trim screwed to the face of the bumpers. When Volkswagen added the sliding fabric sunroof and 8 skylight windows to the roof of a Deluxe bus, they called it a "Samba".

DIY - Abbreviation for "Do It Yourself" and denotes someone who doesn't do it for living (like; "Here's a tip for the DIY reader who may not have their own compressor and spray gun...").

dog leg - This is the metal body piece that runs around the edge of each front wheel opening on a bus. The dog legs on an un-restored bus are often rusty, but weld-in replacements are available from many of the usual parts suppliers.

dog house - "Dog house cooler", "dog house fan" or "dog house fan shroud". For years, VW engines used an "oil cooler" tucked inside the fan shroud to cool the oil. This cooler is a vertical honey-combed unit that looks like a mini-radiator and bolts to the top of the engine case inside the fan shroud, near cylinder #3 (i.e., driver's side, towards the front of the car). This cooler is just ok at cooling the oil, but it does a good job of obstructing the air swirling around inside the shroud and keeping it from adequately cooling cylinder #3 (leading to premature valve, piston and ring problems in that cylinder). In August 1970, Volkswagen introduced the "1600 Dual-Port" engine. This new engine greatly improved oil cooling efficiencies through the use of a new "dog house" fan shroud. This new shroud has a metal box (the "dog house") spot-welded to the back side of the fan shroud just behind the location of the old oil-cooler. An adaptor casting bolts to the old oil-cooler location so that the oil flow is routed to the oil-cooler (now larger and more efficient) that is sitting inside the dog-house instead of inside the shroud where it used to block the flow of air to cylinder #3. Vanes inside the shroud route air to the dog-house to properly cool the oil-cooler. The dog-house set-up is much more efficient than the old "oil-cooler inside the shroud" setup and is the preferred deal if you're rebuilding your engine and want to keep the oil cooler. Original dog-house fan shrouds have become increasingly hard to find, but several after-market suppliers sell reproduction dog-house shrouds.

double cab - First came the single cab pickup and then came the double cab pickup which was introduced in November 1958. The double cab (or "Crew Cab") pickup is the same idea as the single cab pickup, but the back wall of the cab has been extended to include a bench seat behind the front seat bulkhead. The wheelbase is the same as other bus models, so the pickup bed on a double cab is shorter than on a single cab to compensate for the longer cab. A small door was added to each side of the cab, to allow passengers access to the back seat. Like the single cab, the pickup bed is surrounded on 3 sides by hinged gates that fold down to allow easier access to the bed platform. And also like the single cab, lockable "tool box" doors could be ordered that provided secure access to the sizeable area under the corrugated bed. The double cab model is still one of the most practical bus configurations because it allows a family of 4 to travel comfortably in the cab area, while their gear is piled in the pickup bed or stored securely under the bed in the "tool box" area.

dual port - For years, VW air cooled engines were "single port", meaning that the cylinder head on each side of the engine has just one intake port that splits the intake gasses between the 2 intake valves in that head. But in August 1970, VW introduced a new version of their stalwart 1600 engine, that had dual port heads. On a dual port motor, each end of the intake manifold mates to a 'Y' casting with 2 outlet tubes that bolt to the 2 intake ports on the head, so each intake valve gets it's own stream of intake gasses directly from the intake manifold. Dual port motors are more efficient and probably put out 5 - 7 hp more than a comparable single port motor. Dual port motors generally run hotter than single port motors, and the dual port heads use larger intake values to handle the increased flow of gasses.

dualie - No we're not talking about one of those huge GMC pickups with the double rear tires buried under monstrous fenders. In the VW world, "dualie" is another word for a crew cab VW pickup. See "double cab".

Dzus fastener - These are the small fasteners you see on high-performance cars, that are used to secure hoods, fenders and engine lids for quick removal. The stainless steel tab sticks up through a a slot in the removable body part and a quick 1/4 turn twist of the fastener aligns the tab with the slot so the body part can be easily removed.

Eberspacher heater - See "gas heater".

elephant ears - These are the large "rounded rectangular" side view mirrors you see mounted on the sides of a transporter. Offered as accessories through the dealership, original ones are stamped "VWOA" on the back side. Because they offer a larger viewing area than the smaller round mirrors, these mirrors are more often seen on commercial transporters (panels, kombis, campers and pickups) than passenger vehicles (micro and deluxe buses).

fat chick - An affectionate name for a bay window bus. Probably best not to use this one around a sensitive wife or girlfriend.

fender skirt - A semi-circular panel that fills the open area of the rear fender to give the car a smooth "sophisticated" look. Fender skirts were offered as a stylish accessory for most autos in the 50's and vintage examples are highly prized by collectors today. A classic accessory for a bug.

freeway flyer gears - Pre-1968 buses aren't fast, due in large part to the "reduction gear box" behind each rear wheel which alters the bus' rear-end ratio to provide more power for hauling and hill climbing, but reducing the top speed. A stock bus with its original gearing will have a hard time hitting 60 mph on the freeway. One way to increase the top speed of your bus is to install a new ring and pinion gear set that decreases the rear-end ratio and enables you to come closer to cruising at normal freeway speeds. You've increased your top speed, but sacrificed a little of your hill-climbing power in the process. This type of ring and pinion gear set is sometimes called "freeway flyer gears".

fresh air engine - Originally, Volkswagen air cooled engines had no provision for using the engine's heat to super-heat the air that wafted through the heater ducting into the passenger compartment. The heater boxes on these "stale air engines" had no input duct so the only warming they could provide was what radiated out from the exhaust pipe encased in the center of each box. Starting with model year 1963, a new "fresh air" engine design was introduced, to replace the old "stale air" design. This fresh air engine design featured the familiar 2" diameter outlet tubes on either side of the fan shroud, that routed warm engine air through large corrugated hoses into the tops of newly designed left and right heater boxes, where it was further heated by the warmth radiating out from the exhaust pipes.

fridge handles - Also known as "pull handles" or "ice picks", these are the outside handles on a transporter's cab doors, that hinge on one end and taper to a blunt point on the other end. These handles "pry" open like the door handle on an old 50's refrigerator door and were installed on transporters until mid-August 1964 when this classic style was replaced with a push-button style handle that was secured on both ends.

fried egg lense - AKA "fish-eye" lense. These are the clear/orange plastic turn signal lenses installed on the front of a split window bus - model years '63 - '67.

gas heater - Originally, the passenger compartment in a Volkswagen (whether bug, bus, ghia...) was designed to be heated by the warm air circulating around inside the engine's protective van shroud. This warm air is further heated by pushing it through "heater boxes" that wrap around the engine's exhaust pipes, and then finally this heated air is routed into the passenger compartment through metal "heater channels" running under the floor. In a bug or Ghia this setup works pretty well (especially if you live in Southern California). But in a bus, this warmed air is not very warm by the time it reaches the distribution tube at the front of the bus, so VW offered an optional stationary "gas heater" that really got things cooking! Two different types of gas heaters appear to have been available; the "Eberspacher" unit and the "Stewart Warner" unit. The heater unit was installed in the engine compartment (on the driver's side) and contained a spark plug that "ignited" the gasoline that was fed into the heater through a fuel line that was attached to the fuel pump. The super-heated air was routed though sheet metal ducting that entered the passenger compartment through a hole cut in the sloping floorboard underneath the back seat. These optional heaters provide more than enough heat, but the risk of a fire due to the pressurized gas line hook-up, probably provided a little "too much heat" in some disastrous instances!

Glasurit - The brand of high-quality, single-stage German paint originally used by Volkswagen on all their models. Glasurit paint is still available today although your paint/body man may prefer to use a more common brand like PPG or DuPont.

grease nipples - See "zerk fitting".

high roof panel - In the fall of 1961, Volkswagen launched this special version of the panel van, that was taller than a normal panel by about the height of the windshield. These commercial vehicles were ordered as M-code 221 or 222 and were aimed at dry cleaners, garment manufacturers and the German Post Office. Although quite popular at the time, not many were made, so they're pretty rare today.

idiot's guide - In the 60's during the days of "peace, love and freedom", it seemed like everyone drove a VW. Since everyone was broke, fixing your VW yourself became a necessity and this cult activity became a significant part of the culture and the times. Seeing a need for a practical and informative repair manual for the shade-tree mechanic, hip engineer/mechanic John Muir wrote the first edition of "How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive (A Manual of Step By Step Procedures For The Compleat Idiot"). These spiral-bound, down-to-earth manuals with their funky detailed drawings by Peter Aschwanden were an instant success, and became a common sight on every hippy's bookshelf. Over the years as Volkswagen introduced new and more complex models, Muir continued editing and adding information, and ended up publishing successive editions of his legendary manual. Sadly, John Muir died in Nov. 1977. Eventually, the spiral binding was dropped in favor of more conventional "book-binding" but the invaluable information and Muir's infectious "counter-culter vibe" are still part of every page. Every VW owner should have a copy of this great manual, regardless of whether you do your own repairs or not. You can buy the latest edition (shop here), or spend a few bucks more at the next swap meet, and pick up one of the vintage spiral-bound editions for the sake of nostalgia!

IRS - Abbreviation for "Independent Rear Suspension". This type of rear suspension was installed in bugs starting with model year 1968 and used CV (Constant Veliocity) joints for connecting the rear axles to the transaxle, which improved handling over the old "swing axle" style rear suspension used on bugs through model year 1967.

J-tubes - The stock exhaust system on an air cooled VW engine includes a double-walled "heater box" on each side of the engine, just beneath the rocker covers. Heat from the engine and internal exhaust pipes radiates into these boxes and the layer of heated air surrounding the inner exhaust piping is routed into the passenger compartment through the heater vents. If you don't care about having a heater or don't want to spend the bucks to replace your old rusted out heater boxes, you can replace the heater boxes with simple "J-tubes". The J-tubes are just plain exhaust pipes shaped like the letter 'J' that mount exactly where the old heater boxes used to go - but say goodbye to your heater!

jail bars - The pair of polished tubes mounted horizontially on the inside of a deluxe bus to prevent luggage and other cargo stored behind the back seat, from sliding around and hitting the windows. Fancy and very 60's!

käfer - This is the german word for "beetle" (our beloved Type-I's, as well as the insect variety).

kombi - Considered a "commercial" vehicle, this style of bus was a stripped-down version of the microbus and omitted the headliner and side panel upholstery found on the microbus. The name "kombi" was chosen by the factory because this model provided a "kombination" of usages; with the rear seats in place the bus could carry passengers and with the rear seats removed, the bus could carry cargo. Camper conversions (Westfalia, Sundial, Riveria...) were usually based on the kombi body style. For More Info.

Krankenwagen - German word for "Ambulance". Although the VW Ambulance is a fairly rare model, it still seems like a Volkswagen "Krankenwagen" shows up at just about every large VW show.

LHD - Abbreviation for "left hand drive", which means the steering wheel is on the left side of the vehicle (unlike RHD vehicles that were sold in Great Britian, etc.).

M-Codes - The 3-digit codes that were used by the Factory to indicate the options that were installed on a transporter when it was manufactured. A small metal id-plate attached inside the vehicle lists each M-code that applies to that vehicle. Some M-codes indicate a group of options (e.g., M-code 139 indicates that the vehicle has sealed beam headlights and solid red tail lights because it's a non-European model built for export), and other M-codes indicate a very unique and specific option (e.g., M-code 027 indicates that the vehicle had fog lights installed). Not every option on a transporter will be documented by an M-code on the id-plate (e.g., M-code 107 indicates bumper overriders, but your vehicle may have these bumper overriders even though M-code 107 is not stamped on the id-plate). Interpreting these M-codes is an arcane science, a lot like archaeology. Some transporter owners have found M-codes on their vehicle's id-plate, whose meanings are not yet known. The research continues. For More Info.

microbus - This was the name Volkswagen used to identify their standard 11-window passenger bus. 7-passenger or 9-passenger versions were offered (walk-thru vs bulkhead front seat) and the microbus had a full head liner and attractive upholstered side panels. Like all buses, the 2 rear seats could be unbolted to carry large cargo, but the microbus was marketed as a passenger vehicle, not a cargo hauler. For More Info.

NLA - Stands for No Longer Available. The dealer's parts list will indicate "NLA" next to a part# that they can no longer obtain from the factory. Bummer.

NOS - Stands for New Old Stock. This is prime rib stuff and designates that a part is brand-new (never used) and came from the manufacturer's original parts stash (not manufactured recently).

nudge bars - See "towel bars".

OG - Stands for "Original". For example; an ad for a vintage VW might say; "OG paint", if the vehicle still has the factory paint job, even though it's a little faded in places.

OEM - Stands for "Original Equipment Manufacturer" and describes a feature, part or accessory that was installed by the factory. So, you could say; "Yeah, these polished mags are OEM, not after-market", when you're talking about special wheels that were available as an option, from the VW factory.

one-eyed duck - If your bus has safaris, you know this one. This is the small rubber block that's mounted on the front of a split window bus at the base of the windshield area. It contains a slot that enables the wiper blades to be "parked" down out of the way, so the safari windows can be opened without hitting the wipers.

ovals - The bugs that replaced the split-window bugs starting in March 1953 and continuing to the end of model year 1957, when the cool oval shaped rear window was redesigned and replaced by a much larger piece of glass.

overriders - The name some people use to describe the 2 vertical housings that bolt to the face of bug and bus bumpers and support the horizontal "towel bars".

pancake engine - For years, the fan shroud on vw engines sat up like a wall at the front of the engine, regardless of whether it was installed in a bug or bus. When the Type-3 (Notchback, Squareback, Fastback) was developed, VW introduced a new low-profile 1500cc engine by moving the fan from the back of the generator to the front (back of the car) end of the crank shaft, allowing for a much lower fan shroud. In addition, the single-barrel carb that used to sit proudly on top of the engine was replaced with 2 separate single-barrel carbs that each sit on a short intake manifold on top of each cylinder head. This new "pancake" or "suitcase" style engine was installed in the Type-3 models when they debuted in 1961. Later, this engine was enlarged to 1700cc and installed in the Type-4 models. Finally, starting in model year 1972, all Type-2's sported this 1700cc "pancake" style engine. For More Info.

Panel Van - This transporter body style is similar to a "bus", but the sides of the body are plain metal, without windows. Since it's a "commercial" vehicle, the Panel Van's trim is pretty spartan - single color exterior, plain grey "masonite" interior panels, etc. In the beginning, the first transporters manufactured by Volkswagen were Panel Vans. For More Info.

pop-outs - Optional windows on the side of a bug or transporter that hinge on one edge and open several inches on the other edge to provide ventilation.

pressed bumpers - These are the simple "banana" bumpers on Mar 1953 - Sept 1958 transporters.

powder coating - A coating similar to paint, that is sprayed on as a powder then baked in an oven at 400° F, resulting in a very durable industrial finish that is resistant to heat, chemicals, scratching and chipping. For More Info.

prise - This is a british word for "pry". If you read a lot of technical discussions on the web, you're bound to come across a message from some englishman like; "to get the back cover off, carefully prise open the tabs on the side...".

rag top - Refers to a vehicle that has a sliding fabric sunroof (bugs through 1963 and Samba buses through 1967). The big deal here is that a bug with a sliding fabric sunroof is a rag top, not a convertible. Starting in 1964 the bug's sliding sunroof changed from fabric to a metal panel and is just called a "sunroof". Sometimes someone will refer to a Samba bus with its sliding fabric sunroof as a "rag top", but usually the term is used when talking about a bug with a fabric sunroof.

rain gutter - Also know as the "drip rail", this is the L-shaped lip that runs around the top edge of the roof, to channel rain runoff. On neglected buses the rain gutter is often pretty rusty from being clogged with rain-soaked leaves and moss for 40 years.

rear end ratio - Obviously, the rear wheels on your VW don't revolve at the same speed as your engine's crank shaft. If they did, you'd move along briskly but you wouldn't have much power to carry you and all your junk up even the slightest hill. To provide more pushing power, the Volkswagen transaxle (like a normal car's differential) contains a "ring and pinion" gearset that scales down the engine revolutions so the the rear wheels make one revolution, everytime the engine makes about 4 revolutions. It's a lot like a bike. To pedal up a hill you need lots of power (instead of speed), so you "down shift" your gears so you're pedaling (the engine) like crazy, as the rear wheel slowly but powerfully moves you up the hill. The rear end ratio (engine revolutions : rear wheel revolutions) is 4.125 : 1 in a VW bus, and 4.375 : 1 in a bug.

reduction gears - Transporters are heavy vehicles (relative to a bug) designed to carry heavy loads, so they needed a drivetrain that delivered power even at the expense of speed. Prior to model year 1968, the factory installed a "reduction gear box" behind each rear wheel, to "reduce" the axle revolutions that are applied to the rear wheels. These reduction gear boxes diminish the transporter's acceleration and top speed, but give it the needed brute power to crawl up hills (although not quickly) fully loaded.

regulator - This could be a "window regulator" which is the mechanism inside the door of your bug or post '67 bus, that enables the window to go up and down as you crank the door handle. Or this could be a "voltage regulator" which is an electrical component that usually mounts on the engine shroud or the top of the generator, and "regulates" the amount of voltage produced by the generator.

repop - See "repro".

repro - Short for "reproduction" (don't confuse this with "repo" which is short for "reposession" which means the bank is taking your ride from you because you're a dead-beat and missed a few car payments!). Anyway, reproduction parts are brand new parts that have been manfactured to closely resemble the original part. Some reproduction parts are beautiful and are identical to the original part, and others are so poorly made that they won't even fit on your VW! Original or NOS parts are getting rare and pricey, so reporduction parts are often a convenient and economical way to go, but shop carefully and ask around, before you lay your money down.

RHD - Abbreviation for "right hand drive", which means the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle (used in Europe, etc. because they drive on the left side of the road).

safaris - Very cool optional accessory (M-code 132 (laminated glass) or 113) available on all split window transporters. These consist of a pair of framed window panes that replace the usual windshield glass, and hinge at the top so they can be swung open for ventilation.

salt and pepper - Vinyl interior upholstery material in early buses is often called "salt and pepper", because the vinyl is a variegated pattern of small black dots on an off-white background.

Samba - The term used by Volkswagen to describe a deluxe bus that has been upgraded with the optional sunroof and 8 "sky light" windows in the roof. Samba Deluxe buses were available through model year 1967. Interestingly, the large sunroof opening cut in the roof weakens the Samba's body strength, so special longitudinal belly pans were welded at the factory, to the left and right sides of the ladder frame on the underside of the bus. Also see "21-Window bus" and "23-Window bus". For More Info.

Sekurit - The German company that supplied window glass to Volkswagen for split window buses (beginning with model year 1964) and bugs. Prior to model year 1964, buses used glass supplied by the Sigla company. The Sekurit company name is etched on the glass in white. Glass is not "right" or "left", so on one side of the car the etched "Sekurit" is on the inside surface, and on the other side of the car, the etching is on the outside.

Sigla - The German company that supplied window glass to Volkswagen for early (prior to model year 1964) buses. Starting with model year 1964, buses used glass supplied by the Sekurit company. The "Sigla" company name is etched on the glass in white, similar to the "Sekurit" etching.

single cab - The single cab bus is simply a pickup truck version of the transporter body. The single cab pickup uses the same drivetrain as other bus models and the cab area (i.e., dash, front seat, ceiling air vent...) is virtually identical to a bulkhead seat Panel or kombi bus. Behind the cab wall is a corrugated truck bed that is inclosed on the other 3 sides by practical hinged "gates" that fold down to allow for the unobstructed loading of cargo onto the bed. Long, narrow strips of oak are screwed into the "valleys" between the ridges of the corrugated bed to protect the surface from the dents and scraps that often occurred when cargo was loaded. Lockable "tool box" doors could be ordered that provided secure access to the sizeable area under the corrugated bed. For More Info.

single port - See "dual port".

single stage paint - For years this was the only type of paint available for painting automobiles. This traditional paint consists of a single product mixed to the required color and sprayed on in multiple coats. When dry, single stage paint usually has a slight "orange peel" surface texture. This finish can be left as it is, or "color-sanded" smooth to obtain a mirror finish. Most common auto paint used today is a "two-stage" product. Single stage paint results in a finish that is generally not as "high-gloss" as a two stage finish, so it's probably a more accurate re-creation of the "Sekurit" single stage finish that originally came on our VW's. I've heard painters say that single stage is trickier to apply, so your painter will probably prefer to apply a two stage product.

skid pan - See "belly pan".

slammed - When a vehicle's suspension has been altered so the body sits much lower to the ground than it did when it had the stock suspension.

slug bug - Kid's name for VW's in general, especially beetles. This name comes from a popular kid's game where you and your sibling or buddy watch for VW's on the highway, and whoever sees it first gets to yell "slug bug" and punch the other person in the shoulder (ouch!). Hey; "no slug backs!".

SO numbers - In addition to its normal model line-up, Volkswagen also offered a diverse selection of special commercial transporter models (Cherry Picker truck, X-Ray Van, etc.). Many of these special models were designated by a "Special Order", or "SO", number. Although most of these special transporters are quite rare today, most of us are familiar with the series of SO numbers Volkswagen assigned to the Westfalia camper conversions it marketed through its dealerships. SO23 is the designation for the standard Westfalia Camper, with a wood interior and small roof hatch, that was manufactured through model year 1963. SO34 indicates the same Westfalia Camper configuration, but with white cabinets. Starting with model year 1964, the standard Westfalia camper was outfitted with cabinets faced with plastic laminate instead of of wood, and was designated as SO42.

spear handles - See "fridge handles".

split window For transporters, this is the classic bus (i.e., prior to model year 1968) that has a 2-piece windshield separated by a vertical spacer. For bugs, these are the early ones (i.e., prior to March 1953) that have 2 separate panes of glass for a "rear window".

splittie - Another word for a "split window" bus.

suicide doors - A customization trick where the door hinges are moved from the front edge of the door, to the trailing edge of the door so the door swings towards the back of the car instead of towards the front of the car. Some cars from the 30's and 40's came this way from the factory, but changing a "normal" car's doors to be "suicide doors" is a ton of work. The name probably comes from the fact that if you open the door while the car is traveling down the highway, the rushing air will most likely fling the door open wildly, taking you with it!

suitcase engine - See "pancake engine".

semaphores - Early bugs and buses had "semaphore" turn signal indicators, instead of the more "modern" turn signal lights that came later. Mounted in a narrow metal pocket on each side of the vehicle (just aft of the front doors), each semaphore is a hinged arm with a plastic lense & lamp, that is activated by a solenoid, to flip out and warn other drivers that the driver is about to make a left or right hand turn. Semaphore turn signals were used on bugs through model year 1960. Early buses exported to the U.S. used semaphores until March 1955, and starting in June 1960 all buses used turn signal "lights" instead of semaphores.

stale air engine - Originally, Volkswagen air cooled engines had no provision for using the engine's heat to super-heat the air that wafted through the heater ducting into the passenger compartment. The heater boxes on these "stale air engines" had no input duct so the only warming they could provide was what radiated out from the exhaust pipe encased in the center of each box. A stale air engine is easy to spot because its fan shroud is missing the familiar 2" diameter outlet tubes on either side, that route warm engine air through large corrugated hoses into the top of the left and right heater boxes. VW continued with this "stale air" design through model year 1962. Starting in model year 1963, the more heater-friendly "fresh air" engine configuration was introduced.

Stewart Warner heater - See "gas heater".

sub hatch - Also known as a "pop-up" hatch, this is the trap-door installed in the roof of camper buses prior to model-year 1964, to provide additional ventilation and a little more head-room over the table area. The hatch consists of a large rectangle piece cut out of the roof, strengthened by a metal frame, attached to the roof by a hinge on the inner long edge and held open by an adjustable prop rod. Starting in model-year 1964, this hatch was replaced with a white fiberglas "pop-top" lid that lifted straight up several feet, to expose its tent-like sides that consisted of yellow canvas with mesh windows.

Thing - This is the model name VW gave to the rugged Jeep-like vehicle they produced in a special manufacturing facility in Mexico during 1973 and 1974. Modeled very closely after the Kubelwagen VW produced for the military during WWII, the Thing was simple, rugged, topless fun. Also known as a "Type-181" (and as a "Trekker" in Australia and Great Britian).

tilt - This is the "covered wagon" canopy you could buy as an accessory (M-code 070) for your single or double-cab pickup, to cover the bed. It consisted of 2 large metal hoops connected by metal and wood strips and covered with plain off-white canvas.

towel bars - The name some people use to describe the tube that bolts to pre-68 bug and bus bumpers, running horizontially along the top of the bumper and secured by the 2 vertical "overriders". On the front bumper, the towel bar is one long tube, but on the rear bumper, separate left and right towel bars are used to provide clearance for the engine lid. Although rare, some people refer to the towel bars as "nudge bars".

transporter - Another name for a Type-II Volkswagen (bus, panel van, single-cab pickup or double-cab pickup).

treasure chest - This is another term for the "tool box" area under the bed of a single cab or double cab pickup, that is accessed through a special side door (some pickups were ordered with a tool box door on each side).

Trekker or Trecker - Names they use in Great Britian and Australia to describe a VW Thing (Type-181).

trim rings - Polished stainless steel rings that snap onto the outer edge of the wheel to "dress-up" a bug or bus. Offered by Volkswagen as an optional accessory.

two stage paint - For years the only type of auto paint available was "single stage" paint. In recent years, paint manufacturers have developed a more more versatile product that uses a two stage system. The first stage consists of spraying on the color coat(s), which dry to a flat, chalky finish. The second stage is applying the "clear coat(s)" which are sprayed on to seal the color coats and leave a glossy sheen. Like single stage paint, this clear coat can then be color-sanded to leave a mirror-smooth finish. Two stage is a modern paint product that is more "environmentally friendly", less toxic and easier to apply, than single stage paints, so your painter will probably prefer to use it instead of single stage paint. When properly color-sanded, two stage paint can yield a very glossy "show car" finish.

Type-I - Volkswagen's model designation for the bug/beetle.

Type-II - Volkswagen's model designation for transporters (i.e., buses, panels & pickups).

Type-III - Volkswagen's model designation for the notchback, fastback and squareback models.

Type-IV - Volkswagen's model designation for the 411 and 412 station wagons and fastbacks.

Type-181 - Volkswagen's model designation for the "Thing".

T1, T2, T3 - Volkswagen designated all of their transporters as "Type-II", but within this category they identified the split-window buses as "T1", the Bay Window buses as "T2" and the Vanagon as "T3".

VIN - Abbreviation for "Vehicle Identification Number". Pretty much everyone knows what this is, but in case you don't - it's the unique identification assigned to your car by the factory. This number can be found several places on your car and it's very important that this number matches the ID# printed on your car's title document ("pink slip" in California-ese), as proof that you really own this car.

walkthru model - Split window buses could be ordered with one of 2 different front seat configurations; "bulkhead" or "walkthru". The walkthru style has separate "bucket seats" for the driver and passenger, separated by an open walkway that provides easy access to the passenger areas behind the front seats. In a Microbus with its 2 back seats, the walk-thru configuration made the bus a "7 passenger" model, while the "bulkhead" configuration resulted in a "9 passenger" seating arrangement. It doesn't appear that the "walkthru" style was available for single-cab and double-cab pickups, but was available in the panel van.

Weekender - Model name used by Sundial Campers for their camper conversion.

Westfalia - A private company in Germany that made trailers of all sizes and performed "camper conversions". For many years, Volkswagen would ship new Kombi buses to Westfalia, who would convert them into campers by installing cabinets, sinks, beds, wood paneling, ice boxes, etc. Volkswagen sold these Westfalia Campers through their normal dealer network. Hardtop and pop-top models were available in the "walk-thru" or "bulk-head" front seat configuration. Every few years, Westfalia changed the available camper interior floor plans and trim/equipment packages, which were each assigned a unique Special Order number (e.g., SO22, SO35, SO42) by Volkswagen.

what-not cabinet - The wooden shelf rack that attaches to the back cargo door plywood panel in a Westfalia camper. This cabinet is designed to hold spices, can goods and other small camping essentials.

witch hats - The small black rubber "sockets" that are used to secure the clips that attach the side moulding to a bug. A witch hat is pushed into each hole along the side of the car, and then the clips on the backside of the moulding are popped into these rubber sockets. There are 2 styles; the larger style was used through early 1960 and the smaller style was then used though model year 1966.

zerk fitting - AKA "grease nipples", these are the small screw-in fittings that are threaded into critical joints in the steering and suspension components of your vehicle. These small one-way fittings enable grease to be pumped into the joints that need to be lubricated.

Zwitter - This is the nickname enthusiasts use (it's actually a German word that generally describes a "mongrel" or "hybrid") to identify a bug made during the 6 month transitional period (October '52 to mid '53), when Volkswagen had stopped making split window bugs, and started manufacturing the new oval window model. These rare oval window bugs have a lot of parts unique to the "zwitter" phase, but the most notable feature is that they still retain the "dual glove box" dash from the split window body.

1/3 - 2/3 seat - Originally, transporters with a "bulkhead" front seat configuration had a single bench seat shared by the driver and the front passengers. Beginning with model year 1963, the bulkhead front seat became 2 separate seats close together, so the driver could adjust his 1/3 of the seat separate from the passenger's 2/3 of the seat.

1200 - Designates a 1200cc (i.e., Cubic Centimeters) VW engine. The 1200cc engine was actually 1131cc's (developing 25 hp) thru model year 1953 for transporters, and 1192cc (developing 36 hp and later 40 hp) through model year 1964 transporters. For bugs, the 1200 was available thru model year 1966. For More Info.

1300 - Designates a 1300cc (i.e., Cubic Centimeters) VW engine. The 1300cc engine was actually 1285cc's (developing 50 hp) for model year 1966 bugs. It doesn't appear that the 1300cc engine was ever available in transporters, but there were probably a few made. For More Info.

1500 - Designates a 1500cc (i.e., Cubic Centimeters) VW engine. The 1500cc engine was actually 1493cc's (developing 53 hp) for model year 1967 thru 1969 bugs and model year 1963 thru 1967 transporters. For More Info.

11 window bus - The simplest bus body, these microbus and kombi models have 3 windows on each side of the bus, behind the front doors. For More Info.

13 window bus - AKA "Deluxe Bus". For model years 1964 through 1967, Volkswagen took the standard 11 window body used for the microbus and the kombi, added another window on each side towards the back and came up with the "Deluxe Bus". Note that prior to model year 1964, Deluxe buses had an additional window in each of the rear corners and were therefore called 15 window buses. For More Info.

15 window bus - Prior to model year 1964, the factory took the standard 11 window bus body, added another window on each side towards the back and also added a very cool curved window to each rear corner and came up with the "Deluxe Bus". Note that starting in model year 1964, the Deluxe buses lost these rear corner windows to become 13 window buses. For More Info.

21 window bus - In model years 1964 through 1967, Volkswagen took the 13 window "Deluxe" bus and added 8 "skylight" windows along the edges of the roof (4 on each side), and came up with the 21 window bus. This top-of-the-line model was marketed as the "Samba" and also included a sliding fabric sunroof that covered 2/3 of the roof. For model years 1964 through 1967, it was possible to order a Deluxe bus (and possibly a microbus as well) with the 8 skylights, but no sunroof, but this is a very rare configuration. For More Info.

23 window bus - Prior to model year 1964, the factory took the 15 window "Deluxe" bus and added 8 "skylight" windows along the edges of the roof (4 on each side), and came up with the 23 window bus. This top-of-the-line model was marketed as the "Samba" and also included a sliding fabric sunroof that covered 2/3 of the roof. For More Info.
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