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Old 09 April 2016, 10:38 PM
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Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
Join Date: 13 September 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 4,159

Regarding Vans: If I'm not mistaken, the word "van" is actually a contraction of the word "caravan" (Wikipedia backs me up on this but it's a definition I've heard for years). Originally they were just covered vehicles meant for transporting goods - so covered wagons, railroad boxcars, sedan deliveries, and things like box trucks have all been called "vans" at some point. This is why some moving companies are still called "Van Lines" and why moving trucks are still sometimes called "moving vans". Although I've also never heard anyone call anything bigger than a box truck a "moving van".

Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
I could be wrong, I had thought that the VW Microbus was the first van as we think of them today, although although I don't know if VW referred to it as such. As they became popular over here the American manufacturers all introduced their own vans in the '60s.
VW called the Type 2 the "Transporter". Initially it was available as a panel van (no back seat), which I think they just called "Commercial" or the "Kombi", which had a bench seat in the back so you could take a couple of passengers with your cargo. There were other models (the Caravelle, the Samba Bus, various pickups and stuff), and of course specialized models like school buses and fire engines and ambulances. I don't think VW called any of them a van till the Type 2 T3, which was marketed as the "Vanagon" here in the states (and still called Transporter back in Germany).

This is in contrast to GM, which originally called the G-series the "ChevyVan" and the GMC version the "Handi Van".