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VW Camper vans

This page is specifically about VW camper vans. There is a dedicated page to VW Transporter vans (i.e. VW vans that are not campers).

VW popularized the camper van concept when in the 1950s they asked Westfalia to convert their Type 2 Transporter vans into compact vehicles that allowed transport, sleeping and cooking. Westfalia did this, and continued producing camper van conversions until 2003.

Type 2 T1

There were many variations of different models produced over the years, but the most popular remains the Split Screen Type 2 T1, produced between 1950 and 1967. These are highly sought after vehicles are the remaining examples are worth a lot of money, especially in the USA and UK.

Type 2 T2

Westfalia continued converting the later Type 2 T2 model, knows as the Bay Window model.  These conversions are also very desirable.

T25 and T3

The T25 or T3 models proved just as popular as the older Type 2 vans.  There are lots of examples available today, from various conversion companies..

T4 and T5

In the 1990s VW introduced the modern T4 Transporter van, which caused a resurgence in VW camper popularity. VW T4 and the newer T5 Transport vans are also very popular camper vans.

Builders of VW camper vans

Westfalia the best known converters of VW camper vans, but there are many others:

  • Westfalia
  • Winnebago
  • Devon
  • Dormobile
  • ASI / Riviera
  • Danbury Motorcaravans
  • VW Sun-Dial

VW Camper standard equipment

There are a number of things you'll find as standard in VW camper conversions

  • Foldout seating doubling as a bed
  • Birch plywood interior panels
  • Laminated cabinetry for storage
  • Ice box or cold-box
  • Sink (some models)
  • Water storage and pump
  • Electrical hookups
  • Curtains
  • Screened Windows
  • Laminated folding table

VW Camper optional equipment

A lot of options were available over the years by the different converters

  • Attached "pop up" tops with tent
  • Attachable stand alone tent
  • Attachable side awnings
  • A portable chemical toilet
  • A camping stove
  • Various camping equipment
  • Child sleeping cot in driver cab
  • Storage box which matches interior. Can be placed between front seats by sliding door.
  • Air conditioning
  • Rear swing table
  • Small map table mounted on dash

VW campers in popular culture

VW campers have become popular culture icons throughout the world, but particularly in the USA (especially in California), the UK, Australia and South Africa. The VW camper particularly became associate with hippies and surf culture, where it remains a firm favorite.

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Comments (16)

  • Peter Singleton's picture

    This comment has been moved here.

    Dec 27, 2008
  • Ali's picture

    Great Web site. helping me delay work even further!

    Feb 23, 2009
  • Nic's picture

    Hi

    does anyone know of a reputable camper coverter? I'm interested in converting one/two into mobile food/drink outlets.
    Any info would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks
    Nic

    Sep 03, 2009
  • Darren's picture

    Where abouts are you based?

    Sep 05, 2009
  • Rui Ferreira's picture

    good afternoon .... I wonder if you have the
    store has high ceilings fiber to implement a van vw t3 of 1985 ... I sent the link. thanks

    Nov 15, 2009
  • Louise's picture

    Hi
    Thanks for putting the website together Dan. I am really keen to get a campervan but it will stretch my finances ao I am trying to do as much research as possible. If anyone can give me info on the points below I would very much appreciate it.
    a) Has any one looked into a sharing scheme with these ..ie buying with a group of friends.
    b) Alternatively what is the situation on hiring out when we dont need it? Would insurance be riddiculous pricey. Any other points I need to consider?
    c) If we keep this for our personal use it will be our only vehicle. We will need five seats though will be taking a tent so it only needs to sleep two. I want to keep it as economic as possible so a small van with a pop top. Has anyone got recommendations on good reliable vehicles?
    Thank you in advance.
    Louise

    Apr 26, 2010
  • Darren's picture

    a) Group sharing a camper is a good idea. But I bet you'll be fighting for it over weekends and summer hols :)
    b) I think insurance would be expensive. Also, if you run the venture as a business rules for things like insurance will change and probably become expensive.
    c) A vehicle that seats 5 people is hard to find. The best option is to find one with a drivers single seat, a twin seat also in the cab, and another twin seat in the rear. Make sure all seats have seatbelts though. VW, Mercedes and Toyota are generally considered the most reliable. However, any vehicle can be reliable if cared for properly.

    Apr 27, 2010
  • Anonymous's picture

    I want to buy a camper van. Problem: I live in Portugal and I need a LHD system, inestead of the UK/RHD. Where can I go to find this? Thank you for your help

    Jan 06, 2011
  • Darren's picture

    I assume you cannot find a good camper van already in Portugal?
    If not then I think the best place to try is Germany. There are lots of vehicles to choose from there. They are all LHD.
    I do not know how easy it is to re-register a vehicle in Portugal, but I know someone who took a German vehicle into the UK and it was fairly easy.

    Jan 06, 2011
  • john cowie's picture
    john cowie (not verified)

    Great site. I've had many VW beetles over the years but never a van. Thats my new pipedream but instead of a VW van I wound up with a Dodge minivan that I'm converting. Good luck everyone.

    May 08, 2011
  • Wanderer007's picture

    Two VW's but I am struggling which on to keep both are in great shape. VW T4 is a J Reg 1991 with only 58000 on the clock, with the Petrol Engine 1968cc just gained an MOT and reconditioned the Alternator. Drove great for 30 Miles now developed a miss fire now and then :) and back fires. I have to get it sorted its the Richard Holdsworth Model with the forward facing seats. High top. one of the first VW T4 with a wind out awning and is an high roof. 2 birth. White in Colour

    My other option is a VW Type 25 Reimo 4 birth with the rock and roll bed with a pop up roof, again in original condition with a recondition engine and new clutch. Done 14100 miles interior is in fabulous condition, I picked this VW up from Canterbury and drove all the way back to Bolton run like a dream in the middle of the night, managed on a full tank of petrol. It did not miss a beat. The last of the type 25 on a July 1990 Model.

    I am split 50-50 which one to sell, if I am honest I wish I can keep them both :) but I have to be real.

    The is a VW Garage near me who just works and T4's and told me to fit a diesel Engine (which he has with 58000 miles) with everything plus power steering fitted. £1200 this will come with a 6 month warranty. Advise me please I need to sell one before easter. Please give your reasons why and options.

    Mar 14, 2012
  • Darren's picture

    I'd go for the T4 as I like the shape more, and the newer technology.
    The petrol engine is a bit of a nuisance. If you are going to be doing more than a few miles then the diesel engine will save you money.

    Mar 14, 2012
  • Anonymous's picture

    Hi

    Can anyone recommend a good company to do restoration work on a VWcamper van in east Sussex area

    Jan 14, 2014
  • Karen James's picture

    Hi, was wondering if anyone can help. I'm trying to find a 7 seater old style vw campervan to hire for my daughters prom in July. I live in the Bolton, Lancashire area & it would be for a couple of hours. Looked on Internet & bridal websites & I'm really struggling, didn't know if anyone could help, thanks

    Feb 09, 2014

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