The Club aims to help its members maintain their vehicles both as preserved historic vans and as restored, or otherwise reclaimed, going concerns keeping a family travelling and camping happily. From the technical team helping out with advice, to the mutual support of other owners chatting at events and camps, there is plenty to encourage even the most reluctant restorer. Our members are spread right across the UK, and the Club tries to provide activities and events that everyone can attend and enjoy. Mostly, we run camps and rallies where members meet up and relax. There are also valuations and restoration teaching rallies. Finally, we also have a strong presence at some of the country’s biggest VW events, including Camper Jam, BVF and Busfest.
Please allow 14 days following payment for your application to be processed.
If it is urgent you may be given a temporary membership number on an e mail request to the membership secretaries.
But it wasn’t actually the Microbus doing the “running” part, just like a 1985 Toyota Van Wagon made the old chopper go. This sideways 1976 Microbus shell, made by LeMons shitbox series legend Speedycop and named the “Trippy Tippy Hippy Van,” is mounted on a 1988 Volkswagen Rabbit and powered by a 1.8-liter GTI engine. Speedycop said the engine makes about 120 horsepower and will go from 0 to 60 in about eight seconds. Its speed caps off at around 100 mph.
Transporter Syncros are as desirable as T3s get. They can also go where no other VW camper would dare. Seeing one in America is a rare treat.
YouTubeClassic Car Club Manhattan
Volkswagen’s boxy Transporter Syncros were built in limited numbers for the European market from 1985 to 1992. Each came equipped with a four-wheel drive system added by Steyr-Daimler-Puch, the same people who brought you the Mercedes G-Wagen and the Fiat Panda 4×4. Only a handful have made it over to America.
Introduced for 1986, T3 Syncros featured rectangular headlamps, a tachometer, new fabric choices, a more effective air conditioner and a five-speed gearbox, with first being a crawl gear.
A Syncro at the 2017 VW Meet at the Hungaroring
The camper van the Classic Car Club Manhattan just bought from Tampa is powered by a 1.6-liter turbodiesel, producing 69 horsepower on a cold day. That means it will need 27 hours to cover 1200 miles, but that’s okay. It’s well-equipped, full of spare parts, and ready for all sorts of zombie apocalypse. Because yes, fuel economy will be a factor.
The way things are going, Nvidia stands to play a pretty big role in the future of self-driving cars. Its AI chips are already the driving force behind autonomous systems for Tesla, Audi and Toyota, and today it has added a couple more transportation powerhouses to its clientele, in the form of Volkswagen and Uber.
Interior of Volkswagen’s forthcoming I.D. Buzz van, which will feature Nvidia tech to power its autonomous systems
Volkswagen finally gave the go-ahead on the electrified Kombi van back in August, with plans to begin selling a modified production version in 2022. Dubbed the I.D. Buzz, it will start with level three self-driving capabilities, but the German automaker is hoping to achieve full autonomy by 2025.
At the heart of that, it was announced today at CES, will be Nvidia’s DRIVE IX Technology. The company bills this as not just self-driving hardware and software that relies on data from internal and external sensors to navigate through traffic, but as a kind of artificially intelligent co-pilot.
This means using deep learning networks to track the head movements of the driver to detect distractions and have conversations with them using speech recognition and lip-reading. It will also allow for owners to unlock the vehicle through facial recognition and control in-car settings with their gestures. Nvidia says these kinds of capabilities will be improved through software updates over time.
“In just a few years, every new vehicle should have AI assistants for voice, gesture and facial recognition as well as augmented reality,” says Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang. “Working with Volkswagen, we are creating a new generation of cars that are safer, more enjoyable to ride in than anything that has come before, and accessible to everyone.”
Also signing on to make use of Nvidia’s AI systems is Uber, which plans to place it at the center of its self-driving car and truck fleets. Uber has been making steady progress on its autonomous vehicle aspirations, with its Otto self-driving big rig delivering 50,000 cans of Budweiser in 2016 and Volvo recently agreeing to sell it 24,000 XC90 premium SUVs. These Volvos will be purpose-built to accommodate Uber’s own self-driving tech sometime between 2019 and 2021, with the XC90s used in the company’s trials so far already incorporating more basic Nvidia processors.
“Developing safe, reliable autonomous vehicles requires sophisticated AI software and a high-performance GPU computing engine in the vehicle,” says Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. “NVIDIA is a key technology provider to Uber as we bring scalable self-driving cars and trucks to market.”
Being armchair observers in the world of classic autos, we know these old buses have a storied history and are supported by a seriously devoted following. We also know they’ve been steadily creeping up in value for some time now. The thing is, these aren’t quite on the radar for many auto buffs, so we suspect there are many people like us wondering when – and how – a first-generation Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus ascended into the realm of six-figure collectible cars.
To find out, we dialed up a couple experts on the matter – one from the auction world and one from the enthusiast realm – so we may better understand the bonkers phenomenon that is the vintage VW hippie bus.
“A 23-window Volkswagen is as iconic as a 1965 Mustang Convertible, or a Mercedes Gullwing,” said Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s in an interview with Motor1.com. “It’s one of those things that relates to any age, and to any level of collector. It appeals to someone that only ever wanted a 23-window bus, or to the type of collector that has Ferraris, vintage American cars; a wide range classic, iconic vehicles.”
Or course, there’s more to a $207,200 sale price than just an iconic status. Duff explained that a perfect storm of features, restoration quality, and venue played into the sale of this 1960 Microbus. He also noted that color combination makes a big difference, saying that the right shades can add as much as 20 percent to the value. On the flip side, he said having the same van with 21 windows can drop the value by half. That’s still $100,000, which isn’t exactly cheap.
Now that we better understand the why, let’s take a look at when. For that, Duff points to the pre-financial crash world of 2007-2008 as the take-off point, which is roughly the same timeframe identified by VW guru Adam Hurlburt. Aside from being a proper motoring fanatic and journalist, Hurlburt actually lives the VW bus lifestyle with his own first-generation ride – a 1965 Riviera camper.
“Split-window price hikes began in the early 2000s,” he explained. “Before then then you could nab a clean 23-window for $10,000 or less. In the 1990s you could buy one off a street corner for as low as $500. Boomer nostalgia really drove prices up, much like it did with muscle car values.”
Since then, several vintage busses have eclipsed the $200,000 mark at auctions. In 2011, Barrett-Jackson sold a restored 1963 23-window for $217,800. Just last year, a 1965 21-window bus actually topped $300,000 at Barrett-Jackson, though with a tweaked engine, custom interior, and 17-inch wheels, it wasn’t entirely stock.
Will the prices go up from here? Trends are suggesting the top-dollar buses are stable, but that doesn’t mean other models might not inch up. Hurlburt bought his 1965 Riveria for $5,000 back in 2010 and feels he could get at least $22,000 for it now, but both Hurlburt and Duff say the first-generation 23-window models are where the really big money will likely stay.
Who knew that one of the biggest symbols of the 1960s would become such a high-dollar collectible? For now, anyway.
In 1945, major Ivan Hirst convinced the British Army to rebuild the bomb-battered VW factory in Wolfsburg and by the following year the plant was producing 1,000 cars every month
By Mark Hodge
4th January 2018, 1:04 pm
Updated: 4th January 2018, 3:43 pm
EUROPE’s biggest car giant Volkswagen is a byword for reliability and strength – however its dark past has more than a few bumps in the road.
After being started by Adolf Hitler in 1937 as a scheme to give ordinary Germans an affordable family car, VW quickly became part of the Nazi war machine.
But out of the ashes of war, British army major Ivan Hirst rescued the plant from being dismantled and helped transform the company into what is now the world’s second biggest car maker behind Toyota.
When was Volkswagen set up by the Nazis?
Created by the Nazi trades union organisation in 1937, the company was named Volkswagenwerk GmbH in 1938 and had a factory built in the city of KdF-Stadt, now Wolfsburg.
Hitler demanded that Germany’s “people’s car” should carry two adults and three children and would cost no more than a motorcycle.
Designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the car had an air-cooled rear engine and was encased in a “beetle-style” shape – a design which eventually became synonymous with the swinging sixties.
Despite over 300,000 Germans signing up to a scheme in which they could buy the car through monthly savings, very few vehicles are actually produced before the outbreak of World War II.
During the conflict, the firm became a supplier for the Nazi army using 15,000 slave labourers shipped in from concentration camps.
How was the Volkswagen transformed following WWII?
After the bomb-battered factory came under the control of the British military in May 1945, the plant was set to be dismantled with parts being sold for war reparations.
But, the firm was rescued by 29-year-old Major Ivan Hirst, who had a background in watch and clock manufacturing, who convinced his superiors of the potential of the factory and the beetle’s unique design.
And while the plant itself had been heavily damaged, and looted by US and Russian soldiers, much of the machinery remained intact in numerous outbuildings.
Along with partner Colonel Charles Radclyffe, Hirst rebranded the company as Volkswagen.
The British Army placed an order in September 1945 for more than 20,000 green Type 1 Beetles to assist with the running of post-war Germany.
And by 1946, VW was producing 1,000 cars per month.
The Beetle has since become a classic and one of the biggest selling cars ever with more than 20million produced.
Who was major Ivan Hirst?
Hirst was born to a family of watch and clock manufacturers in Saddleworth, Yorkshire in 1916.
After attending Hulme Grammar School in Oldham, he studied optical engineering at the University of Manchester before setting up his own optical repair firm.
While at uni he was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps contingent and eventually became a lieutenant in the Territorial Army in 1937.
After joining the war effort in 1939, Hirst became a Mechanical Engineering Officer in 1941 and eventually joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.
After the D-Day landing, he was in charge of tank repairs for the British Army in Belgium.
With one of the greatest histories of any vehicle, the VW Camper, (or Kombi, T2, T5, California, “van” or “bus”, or any other term of endearment owners choose), is one of a handful of models that has a true claim to the title “iconic”.
It started life as the VW Type 2 (hence T2), as it arrived after the Type 1, which was that other iconic VW, the Beetle.
While the T2 remained the lovebus of generations of hippies and lovers of the Sixties, counter-culture, Woodstock vibe, the T5 Transporter, which launched in 2003, took on a substantially different air, with a more corporate design, for smart local businesses, and middle-class weekend surfers. the current facelift, the T6, is, in camper van mode, the California, which proves beyond doubt is surfing aspirations. At £50,000 a pop, it also shows how far it has traveled from the transportation of broke hippies, to the weekend second-car of wealthy active families.
This is a good-looking campervan, especially in vibrant blue, with a svelte front end and softened corners. Inside, it’s a tardis-like work of genius to fit in the mod-cons every owner expects these days, especially for the money, and when Mercedes has its Marco Polo version breathing down VW’s neck.
Up front, the driving position is very, very comfy, with an upturned steering wheel and automatic gear-lever positioned high in the centre console. Dash surfaces are predictably plasticky, but not in a cheap way. A little knob up by the rear-view mirror raises and collapses the extending roof for a double-mattress space which is illuminated by mesh windows and smart, soft electric lighting.
In the back, the rear bench seat slides forwards so the children are within reach, or right back to enable the little side table to be raised. One side is flanked by a sink and gas stove, with smart glass lids creating a smooth surface over them. There are plenty of cupboards and storage bins, and the rear bench folds flat to enable another double mattress to slide over the top, creating a decent bed for two six-foot adults. Blinds cover all windows to block out the light.
Of the 200bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine? Perfectly acceptable – 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds etc – but it’ll be the performance of the stove, the battery, the way the water supply hooks up and the surfaces wipe clean that really interest owners of this vehicle. We took it to the Isle of Wight for the weekend and let four children clamber all over it. On that basis, it performed remarkably well, mud thankfully washing off the pale fabric seats, roof-raising and lowering more than was strictly necessary, without a glitch. Also, it might be long, but it’s pleasingly narrow and, with that very short front overhang, is easily maneuverable into tight parking spaces.
You’re either a diehard, lifelong fan or just don’t get the appeal. Not being a hippy, a surfer or with a particular need for a van, I confess I didn’t get it… until I got in this one for the weekend with a seven-year-old and four-year-old, who thought it was the coolest thing ever. Suddenly, weeks in the Lake District beckon, sleeping, walking, camping and cooking over an open stove. The “upstairs” space is brilliant for two children, and this is the easy way to face the Great Outdoors. Frankly, it’s just as appealing a thought to leave the kids outside the house in it for a night and treat it like an extension.
I was alerted to this rather awesome-looking Volkswagen California XXL camper van by our policy editor and chief Ars van aficionado David Kravets. Based on the VW Crafter, this is a 21st-century descendent of the iconic VW bus (aka the Bulli/Camper/Kombi/Transporter/Type 2). It’s also perhaps the ultimate expression of car camping, short of one of those Russian things that are a spinoff of the armored personnel carrier.
Under the hood is a Euro 6-compliant TDI engine, pneumatic suspension, and a Haldex all-wheel drive system, but that’s pretty boring compared to the rest of this tricked-out ride. For one thing, the rear section has been stretched to provide room for a proper-sized bed, big enough for two adults to sleep comfortably.
In addition to the big bed upstairs, there’s another sleeping area at the back for smaller humans, and both areas feature heating and cooling (presumably just like the seats). Oh, and did I mention the van uses underfloor heating for all-year appeal?
And when they’re awake, the California XXL is tall enough inside to stand up, with 7.2 feet (2.2m) of head room, beneath a massive panoramic roof for watching the skies. But wait, there’s more. Putting a small kitchen in a VW camper is old news, as people have done that since the 1960s, but this one includes two gas burners that retract down into the aluminum work surface at the push of a button, not one but two fridges, and an integrated espresso machine.
Perhaps more impressive than the kitchen, this one also features a pull-out wet room that includes a toilet and shower—complete with rainfall shower head. When not in use, the wet room compacts down behind a door. And for those times when the great outdoors gets a little boring (or clouds make star watching impossible) there’s a built-in LCD projector that you can control (along with just about everything else on this ultimate tourer) via a mobile app.
“That is by far the sweetest VW I’ve ever seen,” Eurovanophile David Kravets told me on Ars Slack this morning. Sadly for David and anyone else in the US who thinks this thing would be ideal for driving vacations, VW has no plans to bring any of its commercial line of vehicles here to the US, despite a Facebook petition with more than 5,500 followers.
The multi-award-winning sixth-generation Volkswagen Transporter has already set new standards for comfort, style and safety features. But now customers can take their ownership and driving experience to a new level with the introduction of an Edition model.
Available to order now, the new Transporter Edition model is the most comprehensively equipped model in the range and features a design package that is guaranteed to make it stand out from the crowd. Based on the already generous specification of the existing Highline model, the new Edition features 17” Cascavel black diamond surfaced alloy wheels on 150 PS models, and 18” Springfield black alloy wheels on 204 PS models. Other design additions include high-gloss black roof and mirror housings, unique Edition decals and blacked-out LED tail lights.
Inside, the Transporter Edition gains Volkswagen’s feature-packed Discover Media Navigation system with App-Connect, while driver aids include front and rear parking sensors with rear-view camera, LED headlights and power latching on the nearside sliding door. Panel van models are fitted with a tailgate without window, while kombi models feature a tailgate with window. Customers can choose from a palette of five colours; Candy White, Grape Yellow, Cherry Red, and Indium Grey or Onyx White (at additional cost).
Naturally, all Edition models combine all the features and qualities that make the Transporter range the best all-rounder in its sector, including standard Front Assist and City Emergency Braking systems. All models have a substantial payload and the same well-shaped, easily accessible load area as other models in the range. Volumes range from 3.5m3 for the kombi, to 5.8m3 for the panel van version. Edition models are available in short wheelbase, low roof form only.
Both panel van and kombi versions can be specified with either a 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS or a 2.0-litre TDI 204 PS engine. Both are equipped with a six-speed manual transmission as standard and are available with a seven-speed DSG gearbox as an option.
Despite its comprehensive specification, the new Edition represents exceptional value for money. Transporter Edition panel van prices start at £28,990 (RRP basic ex VAT), while kombi prices start from £30,620. Order books are open now, with the first deliveries expected in November.
For more details on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ award-winning range of products and services, or to find your nearest Van Centre, please visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk.
Transporter Edition prices
Transporter Edition technical data
Transporter Edition weight data
*Automotive World is not responsible for the content of this news release.
The Caravelle is the modern version of the iconic vehicle, beloved by surfers, hippies and generations of holidaying families
A family camping trip to France was on the cards, and not ones to travel light, myself, my wife and two boys needed as much space a possible.
It was not exactly glamping but we had a huge tent, fridge, inflatable sofa, cooker grill, scooters and even carpet to fit in.
So that made the latest generation six Volkswagen Caravelle the obvious choice to for the road trip.
As someone who toured around the Scottish Highlands as a child in a 1970s VW camper van the idea of taking the Caravelle had an added nostalgic appeal.
The Caravelle is the modern version of the iconic vehicle, beloved by surfers, hippies and generations of holidaying families.
For our two weeks in Dordogne we had a sedate dark Starlight Blue metallic short wheelbase Caravelle. If we didn’t have the tent there is sleep pack optional extra which turns the rear bench into a double bed.
Or for full family fun the California has a hinged pop up fabric roof with another bed, and is kitted out with cooking facilities and a kitchen sink.
A culinary basin seemed to be one of the few things we didn’t seem to be bringing with us.
One of the strongest features of the Caravelle is the way the seven-seater can be easily reconfigured to suit your needs.
Standard setup has two individual armchairs as a second row and a three seater bench on the third row, along with a fold up table. The whole system is on rails running the length of the floor so they can all be moved forward and backwards. The individual rear seats can also be spun round to face the rear bench.
There is also the option of taking out all the seating and table turning it into a fully-fledged van.
As we just had our two boys Leo, seven, and Monty, five, out came the two individual chairs and table. It took less than 15 minutes but due to their weight it is a two-person job.
We then pushed the rear bench forward leaving them with plenty of leg room, and fitted their child seats into the ISOFIX points. With the rear-sliding doors and elevated seating position, buckling them up each trip was made considerably easier than a conventional car.
This left us with a cavernous rear loading space which made packing more of a chuck-and-forget exercise that the usual Tetris experiment.
With the destination set for Portsmouth ferry port on the standard 5” touchscreen via the upgraded Discover Media Navigation System Plus (£1,410) , which also adds Apple Carplay, we were good to go.
The Caravelle comes with the option of two petrol engines, 2.0 litre but with 150PS or 204PS and two similar capacity diesels with similar PS power but more torque.
Our car was the lower power petrol engine with the seven-speed DGG gearbox.
Once on the move we realised how much room there is up front, there was space for a cool box to go between the driver and passenger seats. Plus high and low level glove boxes, a centre dash top cubby hole and dual door pockets on each side. In addition to cupholders there are holders for two-litre drinks bottles.
On arrival a the ferry port for our rendezvous with the 8.15am Brittany Ferries boat to Caen it was evident that we were in good company. We were parked up with more than a dozen identical vehicles plus several older VW Campers.
For a holiday in western France the eight-hour boat trip takes a large chunk out of the distance of driving from Calais.
We went to the cinema, the restaurant and there was even a TV in our four-berth ensuite cabin.
If you are a fan of the high up driving position of SUVs, they are nothing compared to the Caravelle. The driver’s seat is perched higher than any Range Rover and with the upright panoramic screen and windows all around viability is excellent.
Which is a good thing as with a vehicle which is 197cm tall and almost 5m long, you need to take note of height restrictions and any sharp left or right turns.
The huge glassed areas were also perfect for taking in the sweeping French dual carriageways as we ate up the miles of flat countryside in Normandy and the Loire.
With the twin armrests for driver and passenger and softly sprung suspension the Caravelle is happy cruising along at the French motorway speed limit of 80mph. With a top speed of 112mph and a 0-60mph time of 12 seconds it shows its foundations are built on a commercial platform rather than a MPV’s car specification.
Overtaking is not a issue though, but it helps to knock the seven-speed DSG gearbox into S for sport on some occasions.
With an overnight stop at a guest house alongside the historic Le Mans race circuit we had 200 miles left to reach our campsite in the Dordogne.
If it has the underpinnings of a Light Commercial Vehicle you would not tell it from the cabin, which has the materials and fit and finish familiar to any VW car owner.
It comes in three trim levels SE, Executive and Generation Six. Standard in the base model like ours was DAB, a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system, fabric upholstery, USB Connection, 17” wheels and body coloured bumpers and mirrors.
Options you may want to add that are not included are parking sensors, automatic lights, heated seats, sat nav and cruise control.
Some of these are included if you spec the higher trim levels or can be added individually.
As we went deeper into the Perigord Noir region on more challenging winding roads our pace slowed somewhat.
The engine is up to the job of hauling around the weight, but the suspension reminds you off it commercial roots. On the twisty stuff it is no SUV, despite coil springs and independent rear suspension it cannot be driven hard through the beds without a fair bit of wallow.
But a we set up camp with all the extra kit we could carry that was soon forgotten.
Plus with a fortnight to explore with an unloaded vehicle the kids enjoyed the novelty of the extra space and it helped keep arguments to a minimum.
During our trip we covered 1,400 miles and averaged just under 30mpg, which seems fair for a fully-loaded 3-tonne vehicle.
The huge of 4,000-litres of load space makes packing for a holiday a liberating and carefree experience.
The nature of the ride and performance suit the relaxed summer holiday ethos, if you are in the mood to channel your inner Cliff Richards.
Buying a Caravelle is a lifestyle choice, amazing on the school run and high days and holidays, but less in a supermarket car park or small city streets.
Caravelle SE SWB 2.0 TDI
Basic price inc vat £41,941 (£47,905 as tested)
Engine – 2.0 litre petrol four-cylinder
Gearbox – 7 speed DSG automatic
Top speed – 112mph
0-62mph – 13 seconds
CO2 emissions (g/km) 158
Power – 150 PS
Fuel consumption (official combined mpg) – 46.3
Vehicle weight – 3,000kg
Dimensions – 490cm L, 229cm W and 197cm H.
Brittany Ferries operates the longer routes from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth direct to Brittany and Normandy saving miles of unnecessary and costly driving. Travel overnight by luxury cruise-ferry in the comfort of your own cabin with en-suite facilities or be whisked across the channel in as little as 3 hours. We travelled from Portsmouth to St Malo, and returned from Caen to Portsmouth. Cross Channel fares start from £79 each way for a car+2, and from £109 with a motorhome. Book online at www.brittanyferries.com or call 0330 159 7000.
It will be featured on one of the days leading up to the annual celebration on Saturday, December 2, as part of the “Small Biz 100” list, led by American Express in conjunction with the Federation of Small Businesses and Enterprise Nation.
“One of my favourite events is working at the University of Nottingham open days,” said Mrs Walker. “The students and particularly the parents love it.
“They are really interested in the city and what it’s like and are always asking us questions.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase Nottingham and the importance of local coffee and local businesses.”
Reflecting on her nomination in the awards, she said: “I am thrilled to be nominated. It’s brilliant to keep the money local and also to be chosen as one of the top 100 small businesses in the UK is incredible.