News that production of the iconic Volkswagen T2 camper van will cease in Brazil later this year will no doubt have left many of you feeling sad, but while the rear-engined original is gone, a new generation of Volkswagen campers ensure its spirit lives on.

The iconic camper van joined the Transporter line-up in 1951 but it wasn’t until the 1960s when it was adopted by a free-spirited generation. It became a cult symbol of an alternative lifestyle and images of vans painted in crazy colours and psychedelic designs enthral to this day.  The versatile, practical camper van captured the spirit of the times and has been the epitome of independent travel ever since.

Old and new campervans

The end of an era!

And those 60 years of globetrotting experience runs through the latest generation of Volkswagen campers – The California SE and California Beach.

Inspired by the past, built for today, the Volkswagen California introduces new standards of comfort, performance and safety, thanks to its modern purpose-built design and superb engineering.  But the ethos remains the same.  The latest evolution of Volkswagen’s iconic camper van still symbolises the fun, freedom and adventure that was such an appealing quality of the much-loved original.  The ability to go where you please, when you please is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s – maybe even more so.  Yes, there are those who love the nostalgia, but the appeal of the California lies across a generation.

Whether it’s a family camping holiday, a festival weekend, or a voyage of discovery road trip, the Volkswagen camper van gives you the freedom of the open road and provides a place to relax, eat and sleep.

Travel is not just about the destination, it’s about getting there, too.

Volkswagen Camper Van Milestones:

1949: The first ever Volkswagen Transporter van is launched at the Geneva Motor Show, with its distinctive smiling face.
1951: The Volkswagen Transporter is developed into the iconic Volkswagen camper van.
1960s: The camper van is adopted by the hippie generation, becoming a cult symbol of an alternative lifestyle.
1967: Second generation Transporter, known as the T2, does away with the classic, ‘splittie’ (split windscreen) design and introduces panoramic vision, gaining the nickname ‘Bay’.
1969: A Volkswagen camper van becomes the ‘Mystery Machine’ in hit cartoon series ‘Scooby Doo’.
1979: The T2 becomes the T3, boasting a more angular design
1990: The Transporter turns 40 and the fourth generation, T4, Transporter is launched.
2003: The fifth generation T5 Transporter launches to critical acclaim and provides the basis for the latest Volkswagen California camper van.
2013: Volkswagen California celebrates its 25th anniversary, with around 100,000 California camper vans rolling off the production line since the start of production.



The Volkswagen Golf has been named Used Car of the Year by What Car? magazine, Britain’s biggest car buyer’s guide.  The 2010 Golf SE 1.4-litre TSI five-door model claimed victory in the Family Car class ‘over £6,000’ category, before going on to win the overall Car of the Year accolade.  The Golf is no stranger to What Car? Used Car awards, having also won its class last year.


The What Car? Used Car of the Year judging panel was made up of experts from all areas of the motor industry including car dealerships, auction houses and What Car?magazine itself.

In commenting on the reasons for the Golf’s win, John McIlroy, Editor of What Car? said: ‘The What Car? used car of the year and family car winner, the Volkswagen Golf has consistently proved that you don’t have to buy big to get impressive cabin quality and refinement.  Volkswagen has got it right with the Golf, each generation of Golf gets better and better making it such a great used car buy.’

The Golf Mk VI is praised for offering buyers ‘genuine value for money’, thanks to an impressive and economical engine, a spacious and stylish cabin with an ‘exceptionally high quality look and feel’ and strong safety credentials.  In short, says What Car?: ‘No other small family car matches the Golf for fun and comfort.’

Collecting the award on behalf of Volkswagen was Head of Sales Operations, Ian Plummer, who said: ‘We’re delighted to win this award.  The seventh-generation Golf has claimed a number of high profile accolades since its launch so it’s tremendous for us that the previous generation is also still winning titles too.  Excellent value for money, high quality and a strong reputation mean the Golf is always a popular choice with new and used car buyers and we’re grateful that What Car? has recognised this.’

Volkswagen’s used car programme, called ‘Das WeltAuto’, ensures that customers not only get a quality product, but also high quality service when they purchase a car from a Retailer.  Rolled out across the manufacturer’s network in 2011, Das WeltAuto is designed to make the purchase of a secondhand car as appealing as that of a new car, with ‘Used cars you can trust. Guaranteed’.

Every car sold under the Das WeltAuto banner comes with a number of features, including a no quibble exchange policy, free servicing for two years when bought with Volkswagen Finance and a used car warranty.  Full details, as well as an online used car locator, can be found at

The full results of What Car?’s Used Car of the Year awards are published in the November issue of the magazine, out 19 September.

Hailstorm at car factory damages up to 28,000 Volkswagens

Volkswagen has blamed a hailstorm for a slump in its car deliveries last month, after golf ball-size clumps of ice hammered car parks full of 28,000 brand-new vehicles.

The storm, in the Wolfsburg region of Germany, where the manufacturer has a major factory, resulted in broken windscreens, dented bodywork and scratches on paintwork. It forced the manufacturer to halt deliveries while it hired inspectors to pore over each car, searching for damage.


Most of the cars were built to order for customers across Europe. Drivers have been offered a discount on the list price if their vehicle was damaged and then repaired by VW. They also have the option to wait for a brand new car to be built.

The German car company said that it was fully insured against the cost of the storm, which is likely to run to several millions of pounds, not least because it’s not the first time that its cars have fallen victim to severe storms. Last year, new Passats were damaged by hail at the car maker’s Chattanooga factory in America. In 2008, almost 30,000 cars needed repair work after another hailstorm in Emden, Germany, where cars are held before being exported.

Volkswagen said that delays caused by the latest storm had “significantly affected” deliveries of its cars, particularly in Germany, where most of the affected vehicles were due to be sold. The number of drivers taking delivery of a car there fell from 401,200 in the first eight months of 2012 to 364,300 for the same period this year.

Around 200 cars ordered by British customers were caught by the hailstorm. Of these, 75 are still being restored to factory condition. Affected owners have been offered courtesy cars.

Taken from with The Times

An old bus gets a timeless restoration

Enthusiast Jo Hamshaw loves to restore VWs. She has four parked outside her house on the southcoast of England all lovingly labored over by her and her partner; A 1957 Splitscreen campervan, 1971 Beetle, 1991 Golf MKIII and a 1998 T4 Transporter.


When Jo happened upon the 1957 Splitscreen it had been sitting in a workshop for 17 years, unloved and untouched. And, was in need of a serious overhaul.

In usual VW bus fashion, it had quite a charming past. One of the first generations of Volkswagon campers, the Splitscreen was shipped straight to Britain from Germany into the hands of a refrigeration company. After which it found its way into the hearts of a southcoast beat band called the ‘Southbeats’, where it spent it’s days as a DJ tour bus.

As soon as Jo laid eyes on the rusty old bus she was on a mission, and dedicated most of her spare time converting the camper back to its former glory. Which meant stripping the bus right back, and removing all the parts that weren’t in keeping with its original charm.

 “You know how people buy cars and tart them up with performance lights and alloy wheels, they did that in the 60s in a big way. As newer versions of the VW bus became available, they’d fit them up to give them a more modern look.”

 It took about a year of weekend tinkering to get the bus back to standard – but it was Jo’s attention to detail and patience that paid off.

 “I would trawl the internet all day looking for parts. My other half didn’t have the patience. It’s great if you love to shop, which I do. I would spend days finding parts from all over the world.”

 The buzz blue color was not uncommon for a van of that era, however to find the buzz grey hubcaps which featured on that style of bus took a lot of trawling, it was a rare feature on that style of camper and a lot harder to find.

She tracked down a company located in the US which sold the buzz grey color and had it shipped to England. It helped working for Essex firm VW Heritage spare parts when sourcing rare bits from all over the world.

 Jo’s handywork was also applied to the curtains and cushions, which she made out of a blue and white hibiscus fabric she sourced all the way from Hawaii, giving the bus that surf-wagon look it is so well known for. The woodwork and camping interior was made by a chap who specializes in the restoration of vans in British surf haven Devon, called Smith’s of Cornwall.

 Any tips for anyone out there wanting to restore a worn out old bus or any timeless piece of machinery?

 “Just get on with it. There are plenty of resources for anyone wanting to get involved in a restoration. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”

 As time moves on and the old beauties become harder to come by, a new generation of vehicles shift into the classic or vintage car space, re-defining what’s considered classic in the eyes of enthusiasts. For example, both the Golf Mk1 and the 90s Golf Mk2 are considered classic cars, and worthwhile investments. And the Mexican VW Beetle, which stopped production in 2003, is deemed a classic car just by definition, even though its only ten years old.

Jo Split

Although, if you’re thinking of going down the route of a conversion for investment opportunities, it’s worth noting that VW’s have a way of getting into the heart’s of their owners. And, as Jo discovered after lovingly nurturing her van back to its former self, parting with her big old blue bus would simply be out of the question.

 Megan McAuliffe is a writer, journalist and blogger covering ethical and sustainable issues in lifestyle, community and culture. You can find her on Twitter @Mxxsy