22 Jan 2020
The VW Camper Van - a Symbol of Freedom< back
(what you never knew you would love to know about camper vans and their history)
There is no more iconic vehicle than the VW camper van, representing a stylish life of freedom on the open road. Initially created as a workhorse in the ’50s, sales of the camper van have never been stronger than they are today, thanks to their huge following from those who love the genuinely unique driving experience they offer. Here we take a brief look at how the VW camper van began life and evolved into the universally loved automobile it is today
Ben Pon - A Man with a Vision
We have a Dutchman named Ben Pon to thank for the VW camper van’s existence, as he was an importer of VW Beetles into Holland from Germany during the ‘40s who had an inspirational moment after visiting VW’s Wolfsburg factory. This moment of inspiration led him to sketch out the first design of a new type of VW that used the Beetle’s reliability and effectiveness as its foundation. The engineers took Pon’s design and developed it into the VW T1 that was unveiled at the 1949 Geneva Motor Show. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Evolution of the VW Camper Van
This prototype would become the first VW camper van to be mass-produced and its distinctive split-screen design makes it one of the most recognisable vehicles in existence...even today. The T1 continued to be produced at the rate of 10 vehicles per day out of VW’s Wolfsburg factory until demand quickly began to outstrip production, leading to a move to a larger Hanover facility.
Over the ensuing years, the VW camper van was modified to include a rear air-cooled engine, a two-tone paint job and a passenger-carrying capacity. There have been over 30 different evolutions of the VW Transporter, making it more powerful and ultimately more expensive to own. In fact, if you’d have bought a new T1 back in 1954, it would have cost you the princely sum of £668 - representing a cost of £18,000 in today’s money.
Since the early days of the T1, we have seen the T2, T3, T4, T5 and the most recent addition of the T6, which was released as recently as 2015. And whilst the style of the newest model bears little resemblance to its heady predecessors, the unmistakable reliability and functionality of the VW Camper Van still remain.
What Does the Future Hold?
It would be wonderfully romantic to believe that the VW camper van will still be as widely used and enjoyed as it is today in another 70 years, as self-driving, low-emission electric cars seem to represent the long-term future of driving. However, nothing is ever certain and whilst there are still fans of the VW camper van out there, its spirit will remain alive forever.
At Stuart Camper Van Insurance, we offer affordable camper van insurance from just €275, with full 24/7 365 breakdown cover across Ireland. Complete with EU breakdown assistance and unlimited windscreen cover, we make sure your camper van experience is as safe and stress-free as it can possibly be. If you would like a quote, you can do so by visiting us online at www.campervaninsurance.ie or by calling our friendly team on 01-288 1779 today.