1971 VOLKSWAGEN Camper T2

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1971 VOLKSWAGEN Camper T2

Background

The Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter van’s forward control layout endowed it with huge versatility and it was configured in a bewildering number of variants, from a hard-core panel van that lacked both rear seats and side windows through to the (reasonably) luxurious Samba Deluxe with its full-length headlining, eight passenger seats, and two-tone paint finish.

They all shared common mechanical underpinnings though, including the Beetle’s - and later Porsche 914’s - infamous flat-four, boot-mounted and air-cooled engine. The Type 2 might have started off modestly but it gained both capacity and power over the years, ending its life in Germany with a 1600cc, 47bhp engine and, in America, a two-litre, 65bhp unit.

It is perhaps best known for the Type 2 campervan, which is ubiquitous; from the early days when homebrewed concoctions were seen in places as exotic as Iran and Afghanistan.

What they all have in common are a rock-and-roll double bed, some sort of sink and cooker unit, and a raising roof for more headroom and extra sleeping space.

Now more likely to be seen in Cornwall than on the Hippy Trail, a whole new generation are discovering the delights of a life that includes a T2 camper; whether being used as a day van that that provides hot drinks and shelter for hard-core surfers, or a long-term home for overlanding and exploration, few things in life are as faithful and reliable as a Type 2 Transporter.

By the time production ended almost 1.5 million Transporters of various hues and roles had rolled off European production lines - and it’s fair to say that a significant percentage of them are still on the roads thanks to a fanatical following and an almost unparalleled spares and support network.

Famously robust, reliable, and hugely popular, the Type 2 remained in production in Brazil until increasingly stringent regulations finally killed it off in 2013.

The Vehicle

In the care of the vendor for the past 12 years and recommissioned in February 2019 by Auto Impressions, this delight Volkswagen T2 campervan is a genuine Westfalia that spent its early years the dry state of California. This means it’s got a legendary pedigree along with a better-than-average chance of outlasting you.

Used only lightly over the years before being placed into long-term storage, it’s solid and beautifully designed, with the emphasis placed firmly on pragmatism and practicality rather than fancy and frippery.

Its condition offers its new owner the opportunity to freshen it up and bring it up to the standards that will best suit its future use, giving hours of pleasure in refitting and refurbishing that clever heritage interior.

Could this 1.6-litre engined T2 might be the one that finally tempts you into the hugely rewarding world of classic campervan ownership?

On the Outside

Finished in a sensible solid white, the VW sits on a set of new steel wheels fitted with matching new tyres; few vehicles are more practical than a T2 and it seems like the emphasis has been placed on the sensible stuff rather than filling it full of chintz, so first impressions are good.

The panel gaps are even too, and the sheet metal itself is free of the sort of ripples that betray a restoration based more on filler than sound metal. More good news then.

And the good news continues with a pair of excellent painted bumpers (no rusty chrome to deal with after seaside forays), no silly period roof rack (you’ll be low enough to sneak into council car-parks for cheeky overnighters), and plenty of original air vents to keep you safe and the interior fresh.

All-in-all, it’s a lovely old bus and one that doesn’t set a single alarm bell ringing. We love it.

That said, you’ll want to keep an eye on the spiderweb cracking around the engine cover button (slide #185) and there are the usual stonechips and minor marks every car collects, no matter how carefully curated.

Oh, and a set of four chromed hub caps are included but we don’t know if they’ll fit the aftermarket wheels or not.

On the Inside

The emphasis on practicality over Orla Kiely-inspired frippery continues inside with a full suite of everything you need (bar a cooker) and the absence of everything you don’t. But, please don’t think this is a poverty-spec example that’ll leave you crying into your quinoa because it’s anything but; it’s just that this is a Westfalia interior rather than a hipster’s interpretation of one.

Which means you’ll find a stainless-steel sink and cold water tap, plenty of storage space with well-fitting doors, utilitarian vinyl upholstery, two fold-out tables (one of which has a hidden wine rack…), coat hooks, louvred windows with mesh insect screen, and a double bed.

There’s delightful headlining too, plus some period-style curtains for privacy and a pair of recovered front seats.

It’s all in a decent shape but that Westfalia originality and a half-century’s distance ‘twixt being built and being sold here also means you get good but scuffed door cards, a scratched steering wheel binnacle and a cracked plastic hub on the wheel itself, some discoloured switches and controls, and a host of bits and bobs that could do with freshening up including the replacement of the American-spec power points.

The front floors have some surface rust on them too, which could do with being caught sooner rather than later.

Still, it’s a solid, well-thought-out blank canvas that you can stamp your own mark on, which is much better than something whose beauty is literally only skin deep. And, being a genuine Westfalia, its value should hold up much better than that of a converted work van.

Plus, it comes with a period Californian map, presumably from its previous owners, plus a plethora of embossed metal plates confirming its status. How cool is that?

Underneath

The recommissioning work that Auto Impressions carried out in February 2019 (you know, before the world changed forever…) was comprehensive and has left the T2 in good shape. Please see slide #352 for details of what was done.

This invoice is supported by many others over the years, including one for an alternator conversion to boost its charging capacity; this has clearly been a much-cherished example of the breed and one on which people have spent the right money in the right places to keep it fit for purpose. The owner tells us that he tried to “future-proof” it over the years, fitting a new clutch and starter motor among other things.

That Californian start has clearly made life much easier for the metal underneath, and while you’ll want to keep an eye on it in the longer-term, some mid-life restoration and the advantageous early years means it’s a damn sight better than pretty much everything else you’ll have been looking at online.

The engine bay itself is a bit grubby but we’ve seen worse. The VW starts and runs well but could probably do with a service given its limited use in recent years.

History Highlights

The MOT has expired, and while the Volkswagen is exempt by virtue of its age we think the relatively small investment an MOT requires more than pays for itself in the reassurance it gives you as to your vehicle’s roadworthiness, which might be something your insurance company asks for should there be a problem...

It comes with two sets of keys.

What We Think

There has been a resurgence of interest in classic campervans recently, fueled partly by nostalgia but mainly because they’re so practical; that a genuine Westfalia conversion like this has probably finished depreciating only adds to its considerable appeal as it should make the cost of ownership much more reasonable than you think.

They’re also tough and reliable and can be repaired by a chimpanzee with a multitool and a hammer, an important consideration if you intend to wander off the beaten track and away from the main dealer network.

As to what it is worth, we think this one will sell for between £10,000 and £15,000, which is staggeringly good value: Remember, the true cost of owning a vehicle can only be accurately measured after you’ve sold it, and we’d be surprised if it didn’t return a small profit in the long-term given regular servicing and a modicum of care and improvement.

That it will also provide you with many rewarding hours fettling the interior to bring it up to your standards is just the icing on an already impressively decorated cake.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions.’

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

marcus123

  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 69744
  • Chassis Number: 2312101921
  • Engine: 1600
  • Gearbox: manual
  • Steering position: LHD
  • Colour: White
  • Interior: Vinyl
  • Estimated Price: £10,000 - £15,000

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