Retro Classics VW CampervanYes it”s true, we all love the VW campervan. It is a real classic – but why? Some of them are not in particularly good condition, yet they still manage to look cool.

So is it the vehicle, or is it the image?  Probably a bit of both I think.

The history of the VW campervan dates back to post-war Europe, when in 1948 Volkswagen developed a van version of the Beetle. Quite simply, the Beetle was known as the Type 1, and the van version became known as the Type 2.

The van was aerodynamic, simple, and above all reliable. It was used for a number of purposes such as delivery van, milk-float and of course as a campervan.

For this purpose, its look was adapted to include the more “bay” type window (formerly it had a “split” window), although many feel that this took away some of the character. The engine size was also upgraded and the VW van of the 1970s became even more reliable, but also considerably quicker.

So much so that VW launched a campaign to reward gold watches to owners who exceeded 100,000 miles – it is said that around 160,000 watches were rewarded.

But could reliability explain its popularity both then and now?

Not entirely – it”s popularity was associated with the hippy generation of the 60s and 60s, and then with surfers. More recently, it has been associated with “glamping”. This refers to the new generation of glamorous camping enthusiasts – these are generally “cool” groups of people.

But it goes beyond being a “cult” thing. It goes across generations. There are people of all generations who consider the VW campervan to be a classic vehicle. It is not unusual to see couples in their 50s or more, travelling around in their VW campervans. Many have personalised the look of their van and there are versions in all sorts of colour combinations on the road.

In fact, there are also many VW campervan businesses. They are available to hire for holidays, or even weddings. And of course, there are plenty of people who are interested in buying a VW campervan and therefore there are plenty who make money by restoring and selling this classic vehicle.

Recently, I was chatting to my uncle, telling him enviously of friends who had gone on a two week camping trip in France in their blue VW campervan. These friends are successful and fairly wealthy. My uncle just could not understand why they would choose to take off in an old VW, instead of buying a newer and better-equipped campervan. I suppose that it was a logical point of view. He just couldn”t see the appeal or the coolness of the old VW.

And I guess that brings us back to the title question posed in this article. It”s not the most comfortable. It”s not the most modern. But the VW campervan is by far the most original, collectable and coolest campervan on the road. It is considered to be an absolute classic. It is most representative of the idea of the campervan – freedom!

I for one always stop and look when I pass one. One day, one day…after all VW made nearly 5 million campervans so there must be one out there for me 🙂

Emma Jones


This article was written and published by Emma Jones.  Emma works for Trade Classics as an in-house journalist and copywriter and has many years” experience in the classic car sector.  Why not write a reply on this article below – she”d love to hear your thoughts on her thoughts!Google


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