And what’s this “Bulli” anyway?

23 11 2011

For the German VW bus fanatic it’s all about bullis. Bit of a shame that “bully” in English means something completely different. In German “bulli” is the general term for all VW bus generations, though preferably for the early ones, the T1s (1950-1967) and T2s (1967-1979). The different translations: In the UK it’s a Campervan or a Veedub bus, in the USA a Microbus, and in Australia and South Africa a Kombi. The different VW bus generations are the split window or splitty (T1), the bay window or bay (T2), and the wedge (T3). Please comment if I got this wrong or if it’s incomplete.

“Bulli” is most likely short for “bus and delivery van” (German “Bus und Lieferwagen“). Volkswagen did not own the rights to use the term when the VW bus was brought to market in 1949/1950. They bought the trademark only in about 2007. And then started introducing a special “Bulli” edition of the current T5 model, and also sueing other companies not to use the name, such as the Berlin VW bus rental company “Berlin Bulli”. For details click here (Welt newspaper article). A bit of trivia: One of the co-founders of Berlin Bulli is Christian „Flake“ Lorenz, Keyboarder of the band Rammstein.

Foto: Berlin Bulli, taken from the news paper article “Die Welt”, see link above.

Note addedd, August 2012: The guys at Berlin Bulli gave up and entered into an agreement with Volkswagen where they will not use the word Bulli in their name anymore. The new name is Hippiebus-Berlin.de. They are one of three businesses of Classic Depot Berlin.


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[…] life in 2010 and was road-worthy in 2011. While the first bus was most of the time simply called “the Bulli” (German nickname for the kombi), it transitioned into “Old Lady” when the much more youthful and less rusty Taiga Lily entered […]

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