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Iconic VW California turns 25

2013-04-11 12:08

A LEGACY OF CAMPER VANS: Volkswagen will display its California camper vans at the Techno Classica show in April 2013.

Volkswagen is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its iconic California camper at the Techno Classica show in Essen, Germany, from April 10-14 2013.

To date 100 000 California vans have been built since the launch of the T1 in 1988 to the current T5.

For many years Westfalia built its Joker camper van based on the VW Transporter.

TRIMMING THE JOKER

The basic layout of this custom camper van proved to be very practical and popular over the years. The model had a folding bench seat for two which could be laid flat for reclining. It also had a narrow kitchen counter with a refrigerator, gas stove and sink along with storage space.

This type of layout leaves a large space for entry through a wide sliding door. The Joker became unaffordable for the average customer and Volkswagen stepped in. The automaker trimmed the features of the Joker and launched it a a then familyh-friendlyh price.

According to VW, “air travel was expensive, tents were no longer in vogue. The camping vacation in a camping van experienced its greatest boom in the 1980s. As in years before, visiting and exploring southern Europe was the primary attraction – but no longer with a tent, towed camper, car or train, but with a camper van purchased especially for this purpose".

“This led to an entirely new type of vacationing – two days here, three days there. Greater individual freedom could hardly be experienced – far removed from everyday obligations. For Volkswagen, this was reason enough to put its own camper van on wheels: the California.”

Unlike high-roofed vehicles and those with a long wheelbase, the California featured a “pop-top” roof that articulated at the rear.
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