BANDAI was founded in 1950, when Naoharu Yamashina took over a former textile wholesales company, that he himself had restructured into distributing toys. He renamed it BANDAI, which was derived from the Chinese phrase for "things that are eternal." At this time the firm was mainly selling celluloid and metallic toys, along with rubber swimming rings. In March 1951, BANDAI, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, began to export inexpensive toys like metal cars and planes to the United States and other foreign markets. In early 1955, BANDAI established a manufacturing facility, the Waraku Works and started making toys themselves too. In the early 1960s, BANDAI began to establish direct overseas sales and opened an office in New York. Nowadays BANDAI is the world's third-largest producer of toys.

The 168 mm Bandai VW Bus Toys are believed to be the very first version produced in the 1960s. These BANDAI VW Buses are obviously made with mostly ‘Barndoor”  VW Bus details.  The dashboard in the Kombi versions has a three pod lithographed similar to what would be in a Deluxe VW Barndoor. Both the Pritchenwagen (or pickup) and the Kombi have the same lower body stamping with recessed rectangles where the drop gates would be. The Kombis interestingly have four rows of seating. The Kombis are made of six separate stampings – a two piece nose panel, interior panel, roof with cut out windows, chassis and a three sided lower body. Trim pieces are front and rear ribbed bumpers, headlights and VW logo. The black and silver chassis lithograph appears to indicate a front engine, dual exhaust and rear differential axle along with the Bandai logo and “Made in Japan”. Wheels are rubber with stamped and logoed metal hub caps and the power is by front wheel friction motor. The VW Pickup Bus version has the same trim and stamping features with one additional panel for the truck bed.

A five section tin VW Bus with cut out windows. The roof is pressed with eight small windows and a sunroof. Tin trim pieces include the VW front emblem, headlights and front and rear bumpers. There are seam line of the doors, raised door handles, side air louvers and taillights. A very colorful tin lithograph interior insert with dashboard, metal steering wheel and seats. The tin chassis has a friction motor with rubber tires and hubcaps. The lithograph design on the chassis looks like a big front mounted V8 engine, drive shaft and rear end. There is also a Single Cab VW Bus that has a colorful bed design with wooden slats on the bottom of the bed.

  • Manufacturer: BANDAI
  • Scale: 1/25
  • Length: 168mm
  • Production Era: 1960s
  • Country: Japan
  • Materials: Tin Plate
  • Color: Two-Tone Green, Red/Black

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