"Reflection" by Christopher Florin, used by kind permission of the author

There were two main types of original hubcaps for the VW T2 bus: - Domed: the Early Bay ones (T2a, '68-'70) are popularly known as domed, half moon or baby moon hubcaps; - Flat: the Late Bay ones (T2b, '71-'79) are known as flat hubcaps, with a thin and a fat variant.

Domed hubcaps (left) were for early models until 1970, flat hubcaps (right) subsequently took over

Flat hubcaps were available in two variants: while the initial parts appeared to have a thinner outer edge, the introduction of the T3 (Vanagon or T25, '79 onwards) brought an additional type with a higher (fatter) outer edge. Either of the two types will fit the T2b, but the fat flat hubcaps are nowadays the only original parts still available from VW.

Flat hubcaps evolution: original, thin (left) vs. later fat caps with a higher outer edge (right). Either will fit a '71-'79 bus with stock rims

Hubcaps were either chromed or painted: in the early years the non-deluxe buses were fitted with spray-painted hubcaps. These were mainly for German vehicles, the export models were soon after delivered with chromed hubcaps.

You can skip the rest

If you are not interested in the facts and a bit of history, you can skip the next sections. In summary, assuming your bus has got stock rims (check them out and compare them with the first picture), it all boils down to the question:

Do you own a ...? - '68-'70 bus - you'll need domed hubcaps - '71-'79 bus - you'll need flat hubcaps, either the thin or fat variant.

Domed hubcaps

The hubcaps for the Early Bay (T2a, from '68-'70), which match rims with the Wide 5 factory bolt pattern (aka 5x205, 5 bolts distributed along a 205 mm circumference) and the drum brakes at the front. They are fitted via clips attached to the rims and are also known as baby moon hubcaps (as opposed to full moon caps, which cover the entire wheel instead of just the center).

| Part # | Chassis # | Fits type and model | Coating | |-------------|-------------------------|-----------------------------|------------| | 111 601 151 | to 210 2 300 000 (1970) | 211-216, 231-235, 261-268 | Primed | | 113 601 151 | to 210 2 300 000 (1970) | 221-228, 241, 244, 271, 274 | Chromed |

  • Diameter: 280 mm (11 in)
  • Height: 80 mm
  • Weight: 456 g
  • Availability: #111 601 151 is still available from VW, but as a blank part (not primed).

Flat hubcaps

The hubcaps for the Late Bay (T2b, from '71-'79), fitted to the rims with the Narrow 5 factory bolt pattern (aka 5x112, 5 bolts distributed along a 112 mm circumference) and the disc brakes at the front. They are held by pressure on the 3 bulges in a triangular arrangement along the inner ring that contains the lugs that hold the wheel.

Flat hubcaps (thin)

| Part # | Chassis # | Fits type and model | Coating | |---------------|---------------------------|-----------------------------|---------| | 111 601 151 E | from 211 2 000 001 (1971) | 211-216, 231-235, 261-268 | Primed | | 311 601 151 D | from 211 2 000 001 (1971) | 221-228, 241, 244, 271, 274 | Chromed |

  • Diameter: 256 mm (10 in)
  • Height: TBD
  • Weight: 399 g (chromed)
  • Availability: thin hubcaps are no longer available as original VW replacement parts. Also notice they were listed as Beetle (111 ...) or Type 3 (311...) parts.

Flat hubcaps (fat)

With the introduction of the T3 in 1979 the flat hubcaps were slightly redesigned to give them a higher outer edge. Some experts say these hubcaps were introduced earlier than '79, but there seem to be no sources to confirm that.

| Part # | Chassis # | Fits type and model | Coating | |---------------|---------------------------|-----------------------------|---------| | 251 601 151 A | from 211 2 000 001 (1971) | 221-228, 241, 244, 271, 274 | Chromed | | 251 601 151 | from 211 2 000 001 (1971) | 211-216, 231-235, 261-268 | Primed |

  • Diameter: 256 mm (10 in)
  • Height: 53 mm (chromed)/50 mm (primed)
  • Weight: 410 g (chromed)/380 g (primed)
  • Availability: the only flat cap variant available from VW (#251 601 151 A, #251 601 151) at the time of writing, and are used as replacement for the original, no longer available, hubcaps on several other VW models of the time (Beetle, Karmann Ghia, Type 3, Type 4, T3, etc.)

Notes

  • This is not a treaty on VW history. It is strictly limited to the T2 bus to make it easier to use and does not deal with compatibility or history of other VW models (e.g. T1, Beetle...)
  • I've borrowed a picture from a thread in the Samba forum and modified it slightly. I hope that's fine, and in any case, I've clearly listed that thread as a source.
  • VW parts are numbered regarding to what vehicle they were first used on.

Sources

  1. VW bus chassis numbers page at The Samba
  2. Flat vs. flat higher hubcaps picture at The Samba Bay Window Bus Forum
  3. VW T2 parts document from Amescador
  4. Flat VW T3 hubcaps at VW Classic Parts
  5. Hubcaps thread at the German VW T2 forum
  6. Early Bay Parts Manual
  7. Late Bay Parts Microfiches
  8. VAG Part Catalog