There’s been a lot of talk about people taking a ‘staycation’ rather than going abroad for their holidays. Put off by the increased hassle of ever-tougher airport security checks, would-be holiday makers could be forgiven for not wanting to make a trip abroad.
Besides which, there’s plenty to see in the UK, and while many might be familiar with the Costa Blanca or Costa del Sol, know nothing about the UK, and all it has to offer. After all, Chancellor George Osborne has made great play of his UK camper van holiday, so its popularity extends to the great and the good.
It’s surprising more classic enthusiasts don’t consider a classic camper van for a great way of seeing more of this country. There’s the opportunity of getting to different places, not being tied to one hotel or self-catering location, and being able to pack more into a week.
The classic camper movement might be dominated by Volkswagens, but there are many more models out there that are worth looking at – and possibly considerably cheaper too. While it’s not uncommon to see VW Type One ‘splitties’ busting the £20,000 mark and later Type Two ‘bay windows’ easily commanding £10,000 to £15,000, a Mark One or Mark Two Ford Transit won’t be anywhere near that, and Bedford CFs trail behind Transit prices.
Then there are the more unusual – a 1970s Fiat 850T camper is small, but it’s highly rare and that bodywork can suffer from terminal rot – hence the reason so few have survived. Luckily VW models are very well supported which makes ownership easier, although not necessarily cheaper, but when it comes tod riving a Mk1 and Mk2 Transit probably drives better while the Bedford CF trumps the Ford when it comes to performance and car-like all-round capabilities.
For one-upmanship in the classic camper stakes something American takes some beating, especially for fixtures, equipment and ‘furniture’, although fuel economy might not be quite so easy to stomach.
But for ease of use, good spares support but a great practical quirkiness, the Citroen C15 Romahome is one of the best all-rounders, and it’s old enough to be considered classic. With a well-fitted camper body, the C15 is relatively pokey too, and no matter how hard it’s driven, won’t deliver less than 40 to the gallon. It’s as near to a car as driving a classic camper can be, and it’s not too expensive – yet – although increasing interest will soon put paid to those pleasingly affordable prices.