In the Philippines, it was known as a “country truck” or “Trakbayan.” In Indonesia, its name was “Mitra,” meaning partner. By any name, the Volkswagen Basis-Transporter was among the carmaker’s oddest creations.
The two-door, boxy work truck, manufactured in German and in Mexico, were made between 1975 and 1979 only 6,200 were built. It was called the Hormiga or “Ant.”
As a basic utility vehicle, the Basis-Transporter was primarily shipped to Mexico, Turkey and Pakistan. It had a 1.6-liter, 50-horsepower engine and a maximum speed of 48 miles per hour. Its bed had a maximum payload of 2,205 pounds.
VW Basis-Transporter: Odd, Rare
The utilitarian vehicle founds some success during its short tenure because of high fuel prices and a tenuous economy. It had a VW Beetle powertrain, but the transporter’s engine and transmission were located under the cab and drove the front wheels.
When the Transporter debuted, it sold for the equivalent of $5,150. Today, prices are as high $26,900.
And how rare is rare? There’s a Basis-Transporter in a German museum and periodically they’ve been auctioned in the United States
And just as a modern-day comparison, the original Volkswagen sport utility vehicle is about the same size as a VW Polo, the carmaker’s compact sold in Europe and in countries but not in the United States. It’s about 13 1/2 feet line and 5 1/2 feet wide.