Happy Birthday VW Camper Van
A confession from me which may bring down the wrath of the some readers. I didn’t know that it was still being made. I had thought that all those vans I see were ones that had had replacement engines and were being bought by Aussie backpackers who were “doing” Europe on a wing and a prayer before they returned home!
It’s probably one of the very few vehicles, other than the motorhome or winnebago that typifies that holiday mood of years ago. Caravans had to be towed. You just got in a camper van and drove off. It had beds, cupboards, a stove-all you needed to just take off for holidays in Devon or to catch the ferry and drive around Europe. There can’t be many of us oldies who didn’t at some stage take a holiday in one. In the film, The Italian Job (the Michael Caine version not the newer one), it was a camper van that took some of the thieves disguised as tourists for a football match around Turin. In countless TV programmes of the 60’s and 70’s, camper vans took people on weekend breaks. I’ve seen them in the middle of Australia, on Salisbury Plain on bank holiday weekends, on Rannoch Moor in the Highlands, at umpteen county shows and in India. In fact wherever tourists are you can find a camper van.
Strange to think then that originally, it wasn’t even conceived by VW. A Dutchman, Ben Pon, took a few years to get VW to create the van. Now they are holding a event to celebrate the fact in Hannover, Germany from October 5th-7th. Up to 3,000 camper fans are expected to take their own vans let along the number who will make their own way there by other means. Estimates are that perhaps a 100,000 people might attend.
There are fewer ones around compared to when I was a child but as soon as you see one, you can almost bet that the people inside are off on a holiday!