VW Bus, van, splitty
The Volkswagen Camper idea
This german vehicle is as common today as it was when it was launched at the end of World War II, with today many versions of the VW camper being restored back to original spec.
During WW2 the Wolfsberg factory was taken over by the British, to ensure the German engineers could no longer manufacture weapons and vehicles for their armed forces. The Volkswagen factory ran extremely well before and after the conflict, however it had a glitch which meant production suffered in the early years. The German car plant needed to transport parts from one side of the factory to the other anightmare for engineers and mechanics,however this was solved by stripping down a couple of Beetle cars and loading them and ferrying the parts from one side to the other, essentially turning them into transporters.
In 1947 an importer from the Netherlands Ben Pon an importer sketched a picture bearing a striking resemblance to the Beetle based van from Wolfsberg. Two years later a similar vehicle to the sketch was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, people were amazed and in essence were seeing an early version of the camper, they immediately drew the conclusion it was a horse and cart with mechanics.
The first VW camper van was born from this concept. This idea started life as a box on wheels, a170 cubic ft box built over a four wheeled chassis. Over the coming five years 90 versions were released everything from delivery to ice cream vans, around 50 were purely for delivery purposes ranging from mobile milking machines to milk floats & mobile veterinaries.
The emergency services even jumped on the band wagon Police, fire, ambulances all camper based.
When these unique vehicles were released in the USA around the mid 1950's, they flew. The camper was a real home from home it came with a sink & large living space. By 1963 US citizens had bought well over 150,000 campers.
Spilt window (Splitty), Samba and Bay
The splitty shortened from Split window was the first camper released. This van is one of the most desired vehicles today in the vintage volkswagen market and sells from anything upto £25,000 restored. The Split ceased production in 1967 and was replaced by the Bay, this van was quite different to its predecessor, many refinements were added however the characteristic split windows disappeared to make room for winders, on the plus side the top speed was increased to 80 mph.
VW Bay camper ad
The Bay bus made the simple camper van a 1975 icon, The Hanover factory in Germany manufactured over 4,000,000 models, this spurred a range of engine sizes from the 1600 and 2000 cc all air cooled like the supercar manufacturer Porsche.
VW believed in the Bus Camper with such conviction that they offered a Gold watch to any driver who managed to get their bay campers over 100,000 miles, this turned out to be a bad idea, as over 160,000 watches were given to drivers due to it' s proven continual reliability. In 1979 production ceased and the T25 replaced it, even now it is still manufactured in South America along with the Citi Golf.
Over 5 000 000 VW were campers made and still are seen cruising all over the world, owners vary from surfers to enthusiasts even tradesmen.pa friends -