Why buy a VW Camper Van?
It began with a purple Beetle
I feel incredibly lucky, and a teensy little bit proud, too, that I can write this. I’ve loved Volkswagen Beetles and Campers ever since school, when some lucky guy a year or two above me drove a stunning purple Beetle to school every day. I saw it in the car park, and was, from that moment, smitten. By the car, I mean. I’ve wanted to buy a VW camper van ever since.
A few years later, I was travelling in Australia for a year and came across a few Kombis then. Once again, I lusted after them – but hadn’t the money to buy one. I didn’t even have a full driving licence, for that matter, having a failed my test twice in my late teens. Oh, and I was on the other side of the world. It wasn’t going to happen. Not my time to buy a VW camper van.
Mister shared my love of all things Dub and after we married, we hankered after a van of our very own. The odd time we’d spot one for sale, but sadly, do nothing, for whatever reason. Then one day I was driving to work and passed a ‘Camper for Sale’ by the side of the road. It was perfect – not least being the exact shade of aqua blue we both loved. We took the plunge and took if off the seller’s hands, managing – just – to squeeze it into our garage.
A labour of love
A few happy years of fixing, painting and sewing, searching for stickers, fabric and kitchenware and travelling to shows followed. We got happily lost on our way to Bristol Volksfest and Mister ended up driving it through the unfamiliar city centre. Not for the faint – hearted, but luckily he’d learned to drive in London so was unfazed. We squeezed it down Cornish country lanes and did hair-raising hill starts. We paraded it at Poole Quay and along the seafront at Southsea.
7 reasons why we LOVE owning a VW Camper
As soon as you buy a VW van, you become a member of a really friendly and welcoming club. There are plenty of proper Vee Dub clubs you can join, locally and nationwide, but even without doing so you end up making friends with strangers. Who even give you things like beer, or books, just because of your shared love of camper vans.
Our trusty car – though far from brand new – gets us from A to B very well. Definitely more quickly and possibly more reliably than the VW would, but it has one massive minus point against it. Month by month, year by year the value of our car plummets. By contrast, the van has steadily climbed in value since we bought it. With them being so very popular right now, I can’t see that stopping any time soon.
Tax & MOT free
Our Dub has finally reached the golden age of 40, so as a ‘Historic Vehicle’ the road tax due on it is zilch. Neither does our Volkswagen campervan need an annual MOT. Due to the 40-year rolling exemption on vehicle excise duty and MOTs for classic cars, it is now more affordable to get this Volkswagen transporter out and on the road. Classic vehicle insurance doesn’t cost a lot, and it has a very low mileage too. Presumably because its only been used occasionally ever since it underwent a campervan conversion. Ours originally left the factory as a panel van; the fittings were added later, here in the UK.
The cool factor
This is something we weren’t really expecting when we purchased our Camper. People stop and stare, especially children. Some even wave. And get this – teenagers have actually done so. Yep, that too-cool-for-school gang, all attitude and sneers, have really stopped in their self-centred tracks and waved to us in our Kombi. I know!!! It’s a fun way to make the miles go by more quickly, and wasn’t something we thought about when first seeing the camper for sale.
It’s not only a cheap sleep, with only the campsite fee to fork out for the night. A lot cosier than a tent it is, too. If tents are your thing, you needn’t miss out – many van owners add an awning onto their van anyway. But come the cold, wet or windy nights, you have a comfy little spot to snuggle into. It makes a good night’s rest more of a sure thing than for those sleeping under canvas. The comfort level does vary depending which of all the available camper conversions you have. Our model has a ‘rock and roll’ bed that converts to seating by day. The van conversion we have is a fairly rare one, by Richard Holdsworth. Many are by Devon or Westfalia. Whatever type you have, it’s interesting to learn the history. Our campervan came complete with a bulging folder of invoices, so we could see details of what safety or performance features and parts had previously been added.
It’s not just for sleeping, though. It’s a great vehicle by day. You can brew up a cuppa in the back once you stop for a picnic – or even forego the latter in favour of a freshly – made bacon butty. You can sling all sorts of accessories – a bike, a tent or the dog – in the back with ease. Keep folding chairs, a roll-up table, disposable barbecues, picnic rugs, crockery, cutlery, board games, ball games and much more in the back. There’s a lot of storage capacity – a surprising amount of cupboards and space. Then, you’re ready to go and to do whatever, or go wherever, the whim – or rather your transporter camper – takes you.
As in many things in life, it’s the people that make the experience of owing a classic Volkswagen all that it is. And the best place to meet them is at the numerous shows that take place. These events take place all over the UK and Europe; even the world. Park up in a field filled with other enviable vehicles and it’s like one chilled-out little festival. There’s plenty of easy ways to break the ice with your neighbours – just ask them how long they’ve had their van and you’re off. So if you want to buy a VW camper van, it’s well worth giving the idea serious consideration.
Find out more about Cooking in a Campervan HERE.
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