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Camper van: Don't pull pegs yet!

2013-09-27 13:09

NOW, AND THEN: A 2103 VW California (left) and a Camper Van from 1967. Image: VW

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 ensures its spirit lives on.  

The iconic camper van joined the Transporter line-up in 1951 but it wasn’t until the 1960's that 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. Now those 60 years of globetrotting experience run through the current generation of Volkswagen campers – the California SE and California Beach.

VW says the California introduces new standards of comfort, performance and safety but the ethos is the same.


"The latest evolution of VW’s camper van still symbolises the fun, freedom and adventure that was such an appealing quality of the much-loved original," the company says.

"The ability to go where you please, when you please, is as relevant today as it was in the 1960's – 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 VW 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 also about getting there.

Volkswagen Camper Van milestones:
1949: The first Volkswagen Transporter van is launched at the Geneva auto 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 split-windscreen design and introduces panoramic vision, gaining the nickname ‘Bay’.
1969: A VW camper van becomes the ‘Mystery Machine’ in the hit cartoon series ‘Scooby Doo’.
1979: The T2 becomes the T3, with a 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 reaching 100 000 California camper vans rolling off the  lines since the start of production.

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