New legislation to improve motorhome safety

Motorhomes fitted with rear travel seats, which are built to European Type Approval standards, are set to become safer across Europe when new legislation comes into force at the start of November

The new rules mean any manufacturer that builds to European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA) standards – and most large British and European manufacturers do – must subject the backs of forward-facing rear seats to ‘pull stress tests’ that replicate the forces seats are subject to in a crash.

Motorhome manufacturers across Europe have been subjecting their seats to the tests in advance of the new rules coming into force. Front seats in motorhomes are already fully tested and approved. Now the only difference between the tests carried out on motorhome passenger seats and those for cars are those related to head restraints and the fittings for child seats.

Head restraints are currently not mandatory on rear seats of motorhomes and nor are Isofix anchorage points. Isofix are used to fasten childseats to the frame of a vehicle. Some motorhomes now have Isofix and many now come with rear seat head restraints, despite neither being mandatory. But, where head restraints and Isofix are fitted by manufacturers into motorhomes, they have to comply with the relevant European regulations concerning passenger vehicles.


Chris Evans – My Kings of the Road – No7 – Volkswagen T5 Transporter

The VW Camper T5 is the best all-round vehicle I’ve owned. Whenever I’m not testing a car or treating myself to one of the old brigade, the T5 becomes my daily driver

The VW Camper T5 is the best all-round vehicle I’ve owned. Whenever I’m not testing a car or treating myself to one of the old brigade, the T5 becomes my daily driver
I spent longer hunting this down than any vehicle I can remember. I travelled far and wide to ascertain whether or not to go for the more classic and cute T2, which is gorgeous but not if you actually have to drive one anywhere. Or to forsake the nostalgia and go for modern cool and 100mph plus. This is how I got to the T5, though the story didn’t end there. Next was the decision to go new or used. I went for used to see if we got on before perhaps going bespoke for 2015. There are various power options, the 180bhp auto box being the dream. The best I could find in the two months I gave myself was a 140bhp manual with only 17,000 miles and one owner. The result was BUZ as he is named after his number plate suffix, and the best all-round vehicle I’ve owned. Whenever I’m not testing a car or treating myself to one of the old brigade, the T5 becomes my daily driver. From now on I will always have a T5 in my life and it may well always be the one we already have.

New from £36,238

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Leisuredrive launches Crusader CT campervan for 2015

Slide out toilet in classic layout

if you like the manoeuvrability of a campervan but aren’t sold on the restricted toilet facilities, then camper conversion specialist Leisuredrive has a model for you. The new Crusader CT is a camper based on the VW T5 SWB with a 2.0-litre engine and comes with metallic paint and air-con. It uses a traditional side kitchen layout but the ace in the hole is the slide-out electric cassette toilet. The toilet can be brought into play when needed, with privacy provided  by dark, tinted side windows, and features an electrically operated flush which uses a heavy-duty electric pump. The toilet can even be used when the bed is down and in the sleeping position. When done, slide it back in out of the way. The key feature is the waste cassette empties from outside the camper so there’s no chance of unfortunate and smelly accidents inside.

Other features include a large, top-loading fridge which operates from the mains or 12v electric supply, Tambour wardrobe door access, window blanker to offside rear and it’s available in elevator or high-top formats. Base price is £39,999 onwards or you can supply your own VW T5 and have it converted, prices starting at £27,990.

Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show prepares for 2015 show




Olympic champion Sally Gunnell, and TV presenter Matt Baker are among the main attractions at this year’s Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show.

The start-of-season holiday showcase will feature a host of well-known personalities with a love of the great outdoors at the NEC on 17-22 February.

“It’s fantastic to have such well-known personalities coming to our show and I am sure they will be a hit with visitors of every age,” said Andrew Whalley, NCC Events managing director.

“All of them have a passion for the outdoors and visitors to our event will see how a caravan, motorhome or tent can be the enabler to getting outside as a family, enjoying quality time together and being active.”

The show is set to host more than 350 exhibitors, showcasing the latest season’s models from the major caravan and motorhome manufacturers to holiday inspiration and accessories.

Highlights will include the Learning Zone, cookery demonstrations, onsite campsite and activities including a show first ‘outdoor-style’ fashion show for kids and adults.

The show, formerly called the Caravan & Camping Show, changed its name in August 2014 as a result of consumer research and a strategic review. 

The name change is designed to make the show all encompassing for visitors and better attract people to their specific areas of interest, organisers said.

The new show will be zoned accordingly, with distinct caravan, camping and motorhome areas, supported in pre-show activity and show content.

TV and radio personality Matt Baker will also make an appearance on opening day. He will play host to a range of activities on The Caravan Club Stand. If that wasn’t enough, professional surfer Melodie King from Cornwall, will appear throughout the event in the Expert’s Theatre.

Sally is better known for her golf medal winning run in the 400m hurdles at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She is now seen as part of the BBC Sport team and has made appearances in numerous TV shows, A Question of Sport and Total Wipeout. Sally will appear on Wednesday 18 February.

Professional surfer Melodie King, is one of the sports rising stars, being only 17-years-old and currently placed fifth in the UK in the under 18s ladies division. Melodie will be present for the entire event. Two time BAFTA winning presenter, Matt Baker, will appear on Club Day, Tuesday 17 February.

‘First and oldest’ Type 2 VW campervan up for £75,000 at auction

A Volkswagen campervan thought to be the first and oldest in the UK is expected to sell for more than £75,000 at auction.

The vehicle is the first, and thought to be the only surviving, VW Type 2 Samba Microbus imported into the UK.

The right-hand drive bus, built at the original VW factory in Wolfsburg, was delivered new into the UK in November 1955 by John Colborne-Barber, the founder of the first ever VW dealership in the UK.

Sambas were never officially imported new into the UK, and as such ‘SGP 62’ is thought to be the only surviving example of the few Wolfsburg-built Type 2s in the country

Colborne-Baber’s long association with Volkswagen started as a result of John being approached by former army officer George La-Haye.

After the end of the Second World War, La-Haye, who was stationed in Germany, purchased three new Volkswagen Beetles, the last of which he returned to the UK with.

Colborne-Baber showed an immediate interest in the Beetle and made George an offer on a part-exchange for a Wolseley 6/80, which he accepted.

Colborne-Baber was so impressed with the Beetle he’d acquired, that he then approached Volkswagen in Germany and began importing Volkswagen vehicles into the UK in 1949

Mr Colborne-Barber, who started selling VWs after falling in love with the Beetle, imported the car from Wolfsburg and converted the interior so he could take it on family holidays.

He had the unmistakable motor fitted with a fridge and stove by renowned specialists Devon Conversions.

The car dealer held onto the campervan until the early 1960s. It then disappeared for the next 30 years until it was rediscovered in 1992.

It has been comprehensively restored to original specification with a few additional safety and convenience features, whilst retaining its completely original appearance.

The iconic camper will be sold at Silverstone Auctions’ Race Retro Sale, which takes place at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire on the 21st and 22nd of February.

It is being offered with an estimate of between £70,000 and £75,000.

Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, said: said: “This is a fantastic piece of Volkswagen history and as such we expect a lot of interest when it comes up for auction.

“These vehicles are hugely popular around the globe and collectors are now paying some incredibly sums for them.

“This is a beautiful and rare Samba Microbus, historically important in terms of its VW legacy in the UK. It’s ready to be appreciated and enjoyed and I hope the new owner will love it just as much as the Colborne family did.”

In 1992 ‘SGP 62’ was rediscovered in the West Country after 30 years in storage. It has been professionally restored over the last 18 months as a faithful reproduction of its condition as used by the Colborne-Baber family but with a few additional safety and convenience features whilst retaining its completely original appearance.

A new bespoke period-correct Devon interior, modelled on the design that was enjoyed by the Colborne family, was created by VW expert Kevin Morgan – including an correct Osokool fridge and Dudley stove.

These rare items were sourced specially for this bus and are in mint condition. The vehicle also comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Stiftung Auto Museum Volkswagen as well as a personal letter from the son of Mr Colborne-Baber regarding the bus.



Competition – Design your own VW camper van exterior – ends 31st Jan!!!

The best exterior design will win a week’s holiday in a customised camper van in either Bergerac, in the Dordogne, or Girona, in Catalonia

It’s pretty cool to take off in a WeDubYou camper and explore the beaches and byways of the South of France or Spanish Catalonia – but to jump into a classic Combi you’ve designed yourself has to be beyond cool. Our competition gives you the chance to do exactly that – send us your boldest and quirkiest camper van design and we will choose one we love, customise one of our best campers, and send you off to enjoy admiring glances for a whole week in 2015, free of charge! We’ll even throw in up to four return flights from the UK to Bergerac or Girona.We’ve created a blank template of a camper van that you need to download and use for your design. Either scan your effort and send it to or post it to VW comp, C/O Sunday Times Travel (newspaper), News UK, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF by 31st January 2015. We will choose the winner by the end of February, allowing you time to decide when in 2015 you’d like to meet and drive your special WeDubYou van.Download the template hereAlong with your entry, please send us:

  • Name
  • Age (if under 18)
  • E-mail address
  • Mobile number

Terms and conditions

1. Open to United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland residents aged 18 or over only, except employees of the Promoter, News Corp UK & Ireland Limited, and their associated, affiliated or subsidiary companies, their families, agents or any other person(s) connected with the competition, including third party promotional partners2. Competition closes at 11.59 on 31st January 2015 (the “Closing Date”). Entries received after the Closing Date will not be counted.3. You may submit more than one entry.4. To enter you must paint, draw, crayon or photo-shop your creation (which can either be your own or a joint effort) before 31st January 2015. You may either send the design to VW comp, C/O Sunday Times Travel , News UK, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF or download and print out this exterior plan, which can be decorated, scanned in and sent to Entries must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Entries which are or appear to be plagiarised will be disqualified. Entries (including but not limited to text and photographs) for this competition must not contain any content that is defamatory, libellous, racist, homophobic, derogatory, pornographic, obscene, sexist, illegal, and/or otherwise inappropriate. Entrants must not do anything illegal and/or dangerous and/or that would put themselves or others at any risk. You must get the prior consent of anyone who features in your entry.5. All entries must be received by 31st January 2015 and we will choose the winner by the end of February, allowing you time to decide when you’d like to meet and drive your special WeDubYou van.6. There will be one winner and one prize.7. The winner will be the entrant whose entry, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates originality, flair, enthusiasm and creativity. There will be at least 1 independent judge on the judging panel.8. Winners will be notified by email or phone or using the other contact details provided by the winner within 28 days after the Closing Date. All reasonable endeavours will be made to contact the winner during the specified time. If a winner cannot be contacted or is not available, the Promoter reserves the right to re-draw another winner from the valid/correct entries that were received before the Closing Date.9. The prize is to see your design printed on one of the company’s fleet of Type 2 Combi vehicles, and four return flights to Bergerac or Girona for you and three friends.10. Prize is a holiday for four to Bergerac, France or Girona, Spain only. Prize includes use of a WeDubYou Type 2 Combi vehicle featuring your winning design for a one week period (Saturday to Saturday only). Prize includes return economy flights from UK airport to Bergerac or Girona. Exact flight date/time will be selected at prize provider’s discretion. Prize excludes all airport transfers. Winner and guests are responsible for getting to and from UK airport at their own expense. Subject to availability, prize must be booked in advance. Prize must be taken before 31 December 2015, subject to availability. Winner and his/her guest(s) must travel on same itinerary. All parts of prize must be used in conjunction with same booking. Winner and his/her guest(s) are solely responsible for ensuring they have valid travel documentation (e.g. passport/visa/visa waiver as may be required) and obtaining adequate travel insurance at their own expense. Unless expressly specified otherwise in these terms and conditions, holiday prize excludes food, drink, fuel for the van, spending money and any other costs connected to the prize.11. The prize is non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives to the prize in whole or in part.12. The winner and guest will be required to participate in reasonable publicity relating to this competition.13. The promoter of this competition is Times Newspapers Limited (publishers of The Times and The Sunday Times (the “Promoter”).14. General terms and conditions for competitions apply*.

Seasick Steve’s camper heads for sale at Coys

Blues Artist, Seasick Steve’s, Volkswagen splitscreen camper van is going up for sale at Coys‘ 10 January auction at the Autosport International racing car show.

The camper is in excellent condition, with a number of upgrades, including an uprated 1598cc flat-four with twin-carbs – it sports an estimate of £30,000-35,000. The interior features varnished wooden cabinets, leather seating and a fold away double bed and table.

The 1967 11-window Combi was imported to the UK around 10 years ago. The interior was updated, and features varnished wooden cabinets, leather seating and a fold away double bed and table. ‘Type 2 Detectives’ have recently repainted the vehicle in its original Velvet Green paint and detailed the USA-specification bumpers in their original Volkswagen Lotus white.

Chris Routledge of Coys said:’There will also be seven motor cars present from the hit television production For the Love of Cars for a live auction, featuring car fanatic Philip Glenister and internationally renowned car designer Ant Anstead.’

Other entries include a 1985 Austin Mini Mayfair, with only 3241 miles from new, offered at no reserve and a 1952 MG TD MkII, one owner from new, estimated at £20,000 to £30,000.

Keith Adams

Sweet ride! Feast eyes on VW camper van that takes the biscuit – because it’s made out of GINGERBREAD

Mechanics and workers at Volkswagen made the bizarre Christmas treat out of sponge cake, chocolate jam and icing, and auctioned it for charity

When it comes to bizarre Christmas treats, the engineers at Volkswagen really take the biscuit – because they’ve created a camper van out of GINGERBREAD.

Fourteen mechanics and assembly workers at the German manufacturer’s HQ created a life-size biscuit version of their iconic VW camper van.

And they’re now set to auction it off to raise money for a children’s cancer charity.

CEN Gingerbread camper van
Craft work: The gingerbread casing was stuck together with melted chocolate

Showing a sense of humour, some would consider rare in the Teutonic auto business.

But the plant workers in the city of Hannover, Lower Saxony, crafted the rest of it with sponge cake, chocolate, jam, and icing.

The GTi – or Gingerbread Tastes Incredible – took 150 painstaking hours to make and needed 280 kilograms (617 lbs) of biscuit dough, held together with melted chocolate.

CEN Gingerbread camper van
Cookie cutting: The icing version of the iconic VW badge takes form

Then the plant’s paint finish experts – who used eight litres of food colouring – took over, spraying layers of icing all over, followed by white and red chocolate to give the final touches.

And then – showing the precision German engineers are famous for – the team painstakingly recreated the world famous VW logo.

CEN Gingerbread camper van
Double vision: The gingerbread version next to the real thing

The camper was then sold at auction, raising £1,975 for a local children’s cancer charity.

Creator Dr Elke Eller, 43, VW trucks’ human resources head, said: “This project has been fantastic because it was fun and has let us help children who are ill with cancer.

“But on top of this we have been able to give our camper van a bit of a Christmas feeling.”

German car dealer Rudi Dietl, 45, first had the idea for the full-size Volkswagen bus made of gingerbread and was also there at the unveiling of the gingerbread camper van.


AT-AT-VW, LEGO Mashup of an AT-AT Walker From ‘Star Wars’ & A Volkswagen Bus


AT-AT-VW is a custom-built a brilliant LEGO mashup by Denmark-based LEGO design lead Craig Callum that merges an AT-AT walker from Star Wars with a classic Volkswagen Bus. It was photographed last year by BrickJournal. We have previously written about a real-life Volkswagen Bus that was transformed into an AT-AT walker.

photo via Mark Stafford

via The Brothers Brick

Insanely Useful Camping Gadgets

Every weekday, our friends at Faveable compile a list of awesome gadgets and gear that men would love to discover.


Dreaming of the warmer summer months and days spent lolling about the campsite? Or, perhaps you’re trying your best to find a sweet gift for the camper in your life. Whatever your reasons, we know how you feel. And, that’s exactly why the faveable team has put together this list of the most incredible and insanely useful camping gadgets available now. These gadgets make it easy to feel at home in the wild. Think hot showers, comfy beds, fresh (real) coffee and electricity when you need it most. Featured image above is of the iPhone Binoculars that attaches itself to an iPhone for making the phone’s screen a viewfinder and easy video recording. We bet you’re dreaming about camping now!

Eton Scorpion Multi-Purpose Solar Powered Digital Weather Radio

Eton Scorpion Multi-Purpose Solar Powered Digital Weather Radio
This all-terrain unit is solar powered, crank powered and is a flashlight, a radio, a USB cell phone charger and possibly your new best friend.   Learn more »
$62.00 | Save: $15.46 (25%)

Powertraveller Power Monkey Extreme Solar Charger

Powertraveller Power Monkey Extreme Solar Charger
This eco-friendly portable solar charger utilized advanced solar technology to charge even in low-light or cloudy conditions, making sure that you will never be without much needed power. Learn more »
$200.00 | Save: $20.01 (10%)

Brunton Hydrogen Reactor

Brunton Hydrogen Reactor
A self-contained unit combines hydrogen from rechargable cells with oxygen to generate power. Learn more »
$169.99 | Save: $54.10 (32%)

SnowPeak Mini Hozuki Lantern

SnowPeak Mini Hozuki Lantern
Add ambiance and camp lighting to your outdoor adventure, with these mini lanterns. Durable and water-resistant design provides up to 70 hours of light. Learn more »

The Netted Cocoon Hammock

The Netted Cocoon Hammock
If you’ve been camping in the middle of summer then you know that mosquitoes can ruin your trip by not allowing you to sleep at night. Luckily there are ways to keep the pests away and still sleep in comfort. The netted cocoon hammock helps to keep the creepy crawlies off of you.  Learn more »

Folding Cooler Bag Chairs

Folding Cooler Bag Chairs
Combine the convenience of a insulated cooler with a folding chair and you have a portable folding chair cooler.  This affordable and versatile chair is a great gift item for everyone! Learn more »
$40.43 | Save: $11.43 (28%)

Exped MegaMat 10 Sleeping Pad

Exped MegaMat 10 Sleeping Pad
Gone are the days of restless nights during your camping trip – MegaMat 10 Sleeping Pad keeps your comfortable when you sleep, with adjustable firmness. Simple to set up with a quick-filling, self-inflating foam. Learn more »
$219.00 | Save: $43.84 (20%)

Weather Alert Wristwatch

Weather Alert Wristwatch
This digital watch has integrated weather instruments and an alarm that alerts when extreme weather is imminent.  Ideal for tracking weather conditions when hiking, biking, or engaging in other outdoor activities. Learn more »

Selk Bag 4G Lite Sleeping Bag

Selk Bag 4G Lite Sleeping Bag
Lightweight sleeping bag, perfect for outdoor and indoor use. Comfortable and durable, with polyester shell. Great for camping!  Now in its 4th Generation, the Selk’bag Sleepwear System is now offered in a new Lite version that is 30% lower in weight than Selk’bag 3G. Learn more »

The 30 Day Lantern

The 30 Day Lantern
The 30 day lantern from eGear does exactly what it’s name implies. It provides up to 30 days of reliable light on a single set of batteries which make it great for extended stays in the wilderness. Learn more »

iPhone Binoculars

iPhone Binoculars
Awesome outdoor binoculars that attach to an iPhone for easy viewing and recording. Learn more »

Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink

Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink
Convenient and portable solution to having a sink during your outdoor and camping trips. This unique design won’t collapse or tip while in use, and easily stores into a compact case. Learn more »
$26.95 | Save: $7.96 (30%)

Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System

Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System
Flash is an all-in-1 design, combining burner and cooking vessel in a single, compact unit. The system lights with the click of a button and within 2 minutes provides 2 cups of boiling water for cocoa, coffee, instant soup or a gourmet freeze-dried meal. The newly designed burner secures the igniter, protecting it from bumps along the road. Learn more »
$99.95 | Save: $12.51 (13%)

ROK Manual Espresso Maker

ROK Manual Espresso Maker
No need for pods or capsules, the ROK is the non-electric, hands-on way of making espresso just how you want it. You choose the coffee and provide the power, by using hand-powered pressure. Learn more »
$250.00 | Save: $40.01 (16%)

Flapot – Folding Pot

Flapot - Folding Pot
Simple and flexible design, this folding pot is perfect for camping. Learn more »

Columbia River Knife and Tool – Eat N’ Tool

Columbia River Knife and Tool - Eat N' Tool
This multi-tool combines a spoon, fork, and bottle opener into one. Learn more »
$14.99 | Save: $4.16 (28%)

Eton Rugged Rukus Wireless Sound System

Eton Rugged Rukus Wireless Sound System
Enjoy your stereo on the trail, in the garden or at the beach, with these solar powered, water resistant and tough speakers. Learn more »
$129.99 | Save: $61.03 (47%)

SLXtreme 5 – Waterproof iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S Solar Case Charger

SLXtreme 5 - Waterproof iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S Solar Case Charger
Keep your iPhone 5 and and iPhone 5S out of harm’s way and extend its operating time with the SLXtreme 5 – Waterproof iPhone 5 and and iPhone 5S Solar Case Charger. Learn more »
$149.99 | Save: $22.72 (15%)

Solar Camp Shower

Solar Camp Shower
No need for cold showers when camping! Made from PVC-free materials, this holds five gallons, allowing you to fill with water and hang in the sun, to enjoy warm showers. Learn more »

BioLite Wood Burning CampStove

BioLite Wood Burning CampStove
Cook your meals while you charge your gadgets, on campsite, combining the benefits of a backpack stove and power charger. Learn more »