Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mellow Yellow...Rejoining the V Dub Camper cult!

EX AA Van Camper Conversion
It must be over ten years since I owned a camper van-V Dub of course- and I've always planned to get another one day. I started looking on eBay and Autotrader in the summer and couldn't believe just how much even beat up old bay campers from the 70's, in need of restoration were going for! Volkswagen has always enjoyed an iconic status in the field and despite the competition from other makers like Renault, Peaugeot, Ford, Fiat and the Japanese manufacturers,these other makes just don't cut the mustard in the 'cool' stakes whatever their practical and mechanical merits.

I was watching Cameron McNeish's excellent BBC Scotland programmes aired over Xmas on iPlayer at the weekend and Cameron was waxing lyrical about his state of the art camper complete with every home from home comfort you could wish for. I think it was a Hyundai and these modern campers can set you back over £40k these days. You could buy a house in Blaenau Ffestiniog for that! In a way, impressive though these luxury campers are with regard to creature comforts, I'm more inclined towards the more basic facilities provided in an older bus like the earlier VW's. Let's face it,you will have to use one of these luxury buses a lot to make it financially worthwhile given that you can hire a cottage quite cheaply these days. Especially through AirB&B

When I bought a V Dub Camper back in the day I would often roll up at someone's house where I'd noticed a neglected camper sitting in the drive. More often than not they would be willing to sell and for as little as £125 I've bought a V Dub bus to restore and sell on at a profit. That was then and this is now. As I've mentioned above, those days are long gone and V Dubs of all types fetch top dollar. With this in mind, I'm in the process of buying another VW camper which I noticed on my travels. Like a lot of bright yellow campers, it's an ex AA van which has been well converted into a camper with a raising roof,cooker,fridge,sink and ro-ro double bed. Unlike my previous campers this has a turbo diesel engine so I'll expect about ten mpg more than the gas guzzling 1600 petrol engines in the bays which would struggle to deliver 25mpg.

I'm not planning any trips in the next few months but I've pencilled in the Lakes for a maiden voyage around April. After that, well the Scottish west coast, Northumbria and Cornwall are on the summer agenda. Not being a fan of commercial camp sites I'll be checking on isolated locations where you can park up for the night. Google Earth is good for this. As the late Ian Dury wrote..

soon I was rumbling through the morning fog
with my long haired children and my one eyed dog
with the trucks and the buses and the trailer-vans
my long throw horns playing Steely Dan

Wagon's Roll!

1 comment:

  1. Oh no...get a mercedes Vito! VW vans are for the institutional, professional, outdoorsie brigade! An Illegal Vito is a pirate ship, behind enemy lines on logging heists, with a keen-eyed lurcher looking for sheep... & anyway my son, Wolf, has one just like yours, which means I will be waving at yet another yellow van thinking it's him! john Redhead