Is it time to say goodbye to the beloved Kombi?
THE last Kombi might have come off the production line in Brazil but the old buses are likely to be cruising the Sunshine Coast as long as there are people to love them.
A Brazilian factory still making Kombis was due to can production on December 31 because the vans could not be economically produced with the now required airbags and ABS.
However, the Brazilian Government is said to be looking at offering the iconic van an exemption from safety requirements.
The possible end of Kombis in Brazil might leave some "love bus" fans weeping, but in truth, it will make no difference to most of them, and maybe make some purists happy.
Nick Parker-Davis, of The Kombi Shop in Doonan, said Australians preferred the pre-1979 German-made Kombis to the Brazilian model. "That model wouldn't represent 1% of the Kombis driven in Australia," he said.
Kombi driver Michael Flocke, of Moffat Beach, who runs Deluxe Kombi Service with his wife Jenny - hiring two vintage split-screen vans for special occasions - was not too disappointed at the demise of the Brazilian Kombi.
"I'm amazed that it went this long," he said.
Mr Flocke, who inherited his love of Kombis from his father who ran a business repairing them, said the interest these days was in restored Kombis as collectors' cars.
Although he was hopeful the end of Kombi production would push the value of the vans up, Mr Parker-Davis thought it was unlikely.
He said the pre-1979 and post-1990s vehicles made in Brazil were regarded differently.
Mr Parker-Davis said Kombis always would be in demand.