Pictures from Bristol Volksfest 2017

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Bristol Volksfest was a smash-hit in its new home at the weekend, with crowds enjoying a feast of cars, music and entertainment.

The festival, at Birches Farm in Long Ashton, featured music sets from Soul II Soul star Jazzie B, DJ Krafty Kuts, West Country legends The Wurzels and many more – and the event even had its own festival beer, from Bristol brewers beerd.


It was the show’s 25th birthday – and also the 50th anniversary of the Bay Window van and to pay tribute there was a special collection of 50 Bay Window vans on display.

Aside from the V-Dubs of all colours and modifications, there were vintage American street vans and other classic vehicles.

How did the VW camper turn into a £90,000 icon?


Only a handful of cars have ever managed to be considered both cute and cool at the same time. Fewer still acquire the kind of status that makes them sought-after collectors’ pieces in old age. Volkswagen’s original camper van has been firmly in this category for some time, and its position appeared to be confirmed after auctioneers set a top guide price at a record £90,000 for a pristine example due for sale.

These days, the VW camper is a ubiquitous feature of festival season or the summer surf scene, but it started life as a direct descendant of that other German classic, the Beetle. It came about only because of a suggestion and accompanying drawings made in 1947 by Dutch VW importer Ben Pon which imagined a cargo carrying vehicle or transporter on the chassis of the VW Beetle.

The concept of a small transporter was not new to the world. Europe’s bakers, tradesmen, plumbers, and others had been relying on compact vehicles with around half a ton of load capacity for decades. What was new after the World War II though was the idea of shortening the vehicle as much as possible to make it easier to manoeuvre in European cities, and to maximise cargo space.

VW wasn’t the only manufacturer trying to plug this gap in the market. All delivered an improvement over the long-bonneted, space-inefficient vehicles from before the war, but equally they all still had at least a bit of a “nose” which took up a sizeable portion of the vehicle’s overall length. Even worse, the pug-nosed vehicles built mostly by French companies managed to keep the length in check, but at the expense of driver comfort, pushing their engines in between the front seats to save space.

The pug-nosed Citroen H. Simon Harrod/Flickr, CC BY


The VW van – sometimes known as the Type 2 (the Beetle was Type 1) – changed all this by shifting its air-cooled engine to the back altogether, allowing the driver and passenger to enjoy a relatively spacious compartment without much engine noise or engine heat. Driving the Type 2 was, in fact, a surprisingly refined and comparably quiet affair because of this, but also because of the very advanced suspension system VW employed.

This was an independent suspension for all four wheels, adapted from the Beetle. It did away with the crude, rigid axles and leaf springs that made rival vans a punishing experience, and offered road holding and handling that was superior even to some family cars. It might seem a quaintly ramshackle drive by modern comparisons, but the advanced and unconventional technology the van used in the middle of the last century helped build the reputation and customer affection that survives to this day.

Body construction was adaptable, and a large number of different types emerged over time, including delivery vans and micro passenger buses with any number of windows and window configurations. There were pickups, crew cabs with four doors, and, obviously, campers – some with folding roofs or raised roofs.

In a field of its own. Joss Wickson/Instagram, CC BY

This cheap, durable, economical, comfortable vehicle spread all over the world, gaining a following everywhere it went. Its popularity reached the point where VW decided to produce it in more countries, including Australia, Argentina, and Brazil. Production continued in Latin America well over four decades after production of the Type 2 had ceased in Germany in 1967.


No competitor has ever managed to duplicate the factors that made the VW van such a success, or find the secret sauce behind its charisma and desirability.

One key reason for this may well be coincidence. You see, the VW Type 2, in all its guises, became closely associated with the hippie movement through the 1960s and 1970s, and with the progressive intellectual concepts of the time. An image was built that lasts till today. Mention the word “hippie van”, and no one thinks of a Toyota. The image that comes to mind is a flower-adorned VW camper with big eyes, being driven down a coastal highway in California by counterculture types in flared trousers, playing guitars and nursing impossible hairdos on beaches south of San Francisco.

Peace, love and brand loyalty. RG-vc/Shutterstock

VW really lucked out by having a monopoly at the right time as the sole purveyor of friendly-looking, economical campers that were easily recognisable as non-American just when that counterculture movement struck in the US. Friendly people with flowers in their hair began to drive them, live in them, attend open air festivals in them, and generally made them into the vehicle we all associate with the hippie movement to this day.

That combination of simple, wholesome German design and a dope-fuelled, tree-hugging spirit fulfilled some fundamental needs. Many can afford and run a small, reliable, well-engineered vehicle, especially when you can also live in it. Fuel consumption was low by comparison with US trucks at the time, and the possibilities for personalisation and adaptation allowed a break from conformity.

Driving a Type 2 meant being a rebel, and so it came about that the Type 2 spirit remains very much alive and valued among festival goers, middle-class enthusiasts and collectors alike. Whether endorsing a mainstream hippie image actually honours the real hippie founding spirit is a debate for another time, but it doesn’t matter; the vehicle symbolises the philosophy in one handy package, and that’s that.

VW has never quite managed to rekindle the concept; the Type 2 has been a hard act to follow for its maker as well as its rivals. The current version is a refined, quality vehicle but frankly rather dull. Perhaps, though, the next VW to capture the imagination of enthusiasts with £90,000 to spare could come from the new frontier of automotive tech, just as the Type 2 did in its time. No one can fail to see the powerful echoes of the original VW camper in the company’s plans for the ID Buzz – a familiar looking, timely, electric, self-driving van launched earlier this year.

Pick of the Day: 1969 Volkswagen Westfalia camper bus

The VW camper bus is said to be ready to roll on a cross-country road trip
The VW camper bus is said to be ready to roll on a cross-country road trip

It’s spring, and the open road is calling. And what better craft for an extended road trip than the Pick of the Day, a 1969 Volkswagen Westfalia camper bus with all the trimmings.

According to the Sonoma, California, dealer advertising the VW camper on, this Westy is ready for a national tour. The flat-four engine has been rebuilt and bored out to 1,176 cc, the ad says, which should help provide enough muscle for these typically underpowered vehicles. The key to driving any VW microbus is to abide by one simple rule: never be in a hurry.

Westfalia was the factory camper brand
Westfalia was the factory camper brand

The transmission was professionally rebuilt recently, and it shifts crisply, the seller says, adding that the suspension and braking are excellent and the steering box was rebuilt less than 500 miles ago. The paint was redone not long ago and remains in decent condition, according to the ad.

“The interior is in excellent shape with recent new seat covers, insulation, front rubber flooring and custom, kitschy curtains,” the seller says. “It has a new tent and cot. The wood looks good and the sink, icebox and both fold-out tables are present.”

The Westfalia designation for VW’s iconic camper buses comes from the German company that built the interior furnishings and trim, including the special side-window treatments and pop-up roof. Although there are many acceptable aftermarket conversions for microbuses, the factory Westfalia versions are the most desirable.

The 1969 bus is a later-generation model, which has less-detailed styling than the earlier buses and a broad “bay-window” windshield instead of the classic split style. As such, this is a less-collectable year compared with the early ones, at least it is for VW enthusiasts and classic car investors. But that shouldn’t matter so much to someone who just wants to go camping in style.

The bus is outfitted for outdoor living
The bus is outfitted for outdoor living

The paint and bodywork are described as “driver quality,” which generally means there are visible flaws but still presentable. The seller notes that the floor up front was repaired, and while safe and usable, it could be more attractive; a new set of correct floor panels are provided with the sale for whenever the eventual buyer decides to weld them in. From the provided information, I would say: not a deal breaker.

One thing that the seller does not refer to is the low mileage of 33,246 showing on the odometer. I would figure that considering the extensive work that has been done on the bus, the five-digit odo has most-likely turned over, making it 133,246 miles. But that’s not terribly relevant if it’s been entirely refurbished, as claimed.

The asking price of $18,500 is not bad for what seems like a very usable VW camper bus in apparently very good condition, rebuilt mechanically and cosmetically with upgraded engine performance. The extensive gallery of photos with the ad shows that it’s very clean inside, outside and in the engine compartment.

“All in all, this is a good-looking Westy in excellent mechanical shape,” the seller concludes. “It looks great and is ready for fun summer camping.”

Rusted VW ‘splittie’ campervan ‘wreck’ sells for £23,000 at Tennants of Leyburn

TREASURE: This rusted shell fetched £23,000 at Tennants of Leyburn

TREASURE: This rusted shell fetched £23,000 at Tennants of Leyburn

IT looks like a rotting wreck – and to many people that’s probably just what it is – but to others it’s an automotive treasure.

The heavily rusted shell of a classic VW campervan proved to be among the most eagerly sought after items at a vehicles and automobilia sale at Tennants of Leyburn.

Despite first appearances, the VW was a very rare 1960 Split Screen 23 Window Samba campervan. Despite a pre-sale estimate of £15,000 to £20,000 it eventually sold for £23,000

Volkswagen first introduced the campervan in 1950, and it has since gone on to achieve near-cult status remaining much in demand today.

Of particular appeal to connoisseurs, this example retained its original VIN and chassis number, and M-codes which revealed that it was originally supplied to Ramsgate.

Elsewhere in the sale, good prices were achieved for vintage Rolls-Royces, such as a 1965 Silver Cloud III, which sold for £25,000.

Vintage motorcycles, too, performed well – a 1949 Douglas Mark III made £3,200, and a 1937 Carlton 125cc made £3,500. However, the top lot of the sale was a 2016 Onyx EB37 Bugatti Recreation, which sold for £28,000.

Me & My Car: ’67 VW bus immaculately restored

Me & My Car: ’67 VW bus immaculately restored

David Krumboltz/for Bay Area News Group

Mike Crawford, of Concord, appears with his 1967 Volkswagen van.

When you see an older Volkswagen bus or van, many people think of the hippies of the 1960s, as it was a popular vehicle for the counterculture crowd.

There were different names for this vehicle: Microbus, Splitscreen, Splittie, but the VW company called it Type 2. As you may guess, Type 1 was the Beetle or Bug. The van had a split windshield for better aerodynamics, thus the names. About five years after the end of World War II, VW’s first vans were built using an 1100-cc air-cooled, flat-four-cylinder “boxer” engine mounted in the rear of the vehicle that produced 24 horsepower. The bus was pretty much unchanged during the 17-year run from 1950 to 1967 except for minor improvements. Gradually the horsepower was increased from 30 to 54 in 1967 with slightly larger engines.

There were a lot of different uses found for this VW vehicle. They were used as hearses, ambulances, police vans, fire trucks and campers. There was even a flatbed truck. All in all, VW produced about 356,000 of this model in various forms with America being their largest export market.

But in the early 1960s, the sale of VW pickups and commercial vehicles to the U.S. market was greatly reduced as a result of the “chicken tax.” There was a “chicken war” going on between the United States, France and West Germany. Those two European countries had placed a tariff on U.S. chickens, and diplomatic channels failed to settle the dispute. Two months later, when LBJ became president, he put a 25 percent tax on things like potato starch, brandy and light trucks. At least as late as 2015, the “chicken tax” remained and affected light trucks manufactured in all countries.

Mike and Kathy Crawford have a 1967 VW Splittie with 13 windows. The buses came with a different number of windows. The base bus was an 11-window model, but also available was a 13-window, a 15-window, a 21-window and a 23-window model. The 21- and 23-window models, called the Samba, had eight panoramic windows in the roof and offered a soft sunroof. The price range was $2,150 to $2,665 ($15,459 to $19,161 in today’s dollars).

“We got it 2007, and she was pretty beat-up, kind of a rust bucket. We found it in Martinez parked in a field. Somebody owned it and wanted good, good money for it in its poor condition. I had to pay $5,000 cash for the rust bucket and I probably have well over $30,000 into it now,” Mike said.

Was he looking for a VW bus, I wondered.

“Oh, it’s my wife,” he said showing a little frustration. “She wanted one. She had one and she’s from that generation.”

Not surprisingly, it goes back to her hippie days. I’m beginning to see the labor and management factions in this Concord couple’s acquisition. It was Kathy who wanted and found this VW bus. Mike showed me some pictures of the vehicle when acquired and he did not exaggerate that it was a rust bucket.

“We went from there,” he said, “she orchestrated a lot of the parts finding, interiors and color schemes of Velvet Green and Pearl White, which were the original colors. She insisted we keep it originally stock.

“She kept me in check with some of the things because we were spending a lot of money.”

Mike thinks the vehicle is worth about $40,000 but an expert in the field said he could probably get about $80,000 for it. However, it has not been officially appraised. It’s an academic situation anyway, as Mike doesn’t believe that Kathy would ever part with her bus.

Mike has worked on many cars in the past, but this is his first complete restoration. He said once they had purchased the VW, he sort of became a fanatic about doing the job right. Except for the upholstery, he did everything and did it at home, in his double garage including the fantastic paint job inside and out. Everything is meticulous, there are no flaws, scratches or dings. The interior was beautifully done by Armand’s Auto Upholstery in Walnut Creek.

Mike and Kathy are not big into car shows, but they did enter their VW bus in one show and won first prize in 2013. Neither of the Crawfords drive their prize vehicle very much. To them, it is a work of art, like a painting or sculpture, and they enjoy owning and viewing it. But Mike has another good reason he and Kathy don’t drive it much. With only one very thin sheet of metal separating the driver and front passenger from the vehicle directly in front, it’s difficult to think of a vehicle offering less protection if there were a collision. Well, maybe a skateboard.

How the Volkswagen Kombi became a family heirloom

The last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom appreciate ...
The last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom appreciate in value so quickly that many owners may not know the value of their car could soon eclipse the value of their home. Last Saturday, January 21, 2017, a 21-window Volkswagen Samba sold for $302,500, indicating that the trend is further accelerating.

Collector cars that appreciate in value are normally associated with aristocratic marques such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, not the proletarian brands personified by Volkswagen, the “people’s car.

The auction marketplace is a reflection of sentiment of the population though, and the same post-war baby-boom that reshaped society during the 1960s has now come of age and controls the vast majority of the world’s wealth.

The society-changing force generated by the youth of the sixties is now becoming evident on the auction block, and the last five years has seen one of the enduring icons of sixties personal freedom begin to soar in value across the globe. The van pictured below best captures the way we all saw the Volkswagen’s Samba van in its time. It was the boomers’ freedom machine, pitch-hitting as a mobile bedroom and lounge room too.

The post-war baby boom now controls the world’s investment capital, and the alternative culture that was championed by this age group is no doubt at least partially responsible for the rise of cars, sports and entertainment memorabilia as legitimate alternative asset classes.

This trend was highlighted yet again when a 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba (below) sold for $143,000 to set a new record for the model at the Scottsdale round of collector car auctions just outside Phoenix, Arizona. Just to emphasize how hot the market has become, the record lasted just 24 hours before another 21-window Deluxe Bus took the outright world record with a sale of $302,500, more than doubling the 21-window record of just 24 hours prior. The 1965 21-window Samba is pictured above.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the sale was that, although the US$302,500 price is a world record for the 21-window Deluxe Samba Bus produced from 1964 to 1967, the previous model 23-window Deluxe Samba Bus has always been considered even more valuable.

Above is a sampling of record-setting Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Sambas. The American record price for a Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) of any model at auction was held by the vehicle at top left prior to this week. It’s a 1963 model 23-window Deluxe Samba sold by Barrett-Jackson in 2011 for $217,800. Top right is the former European and World T2 record holder, a 1955 model Deluxe Samba that sold for €190,000 ($236,639) at Auctionata in Germany in November, 2014. At bottom left is the Australian record holder, a 1960 Deluxe Samba (in right hand drive configuration) that was sold for AUD$202,000 (US$157,690) in February, 2015. At bottom right is the British record holder, a 1960 Samba Deluxe that sold for £91,100 ($143,347) at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in August, 2015.

Quite clearly, people power is flexing its muscles once more, and although the prices of rare 21- and 23-window Deluxe Samba vans are the most visible sign of the boomers exercising their preferences, the rising water mark has seen the value of all Volkswagen Kombi vans grow likewise over the last few years.

Paying $200,000 plus for a collectible car isn’t nearly as perception-challenging if the badge on the grill reads Bugatti or Bentley, but the Volkswagen T2 is now moving into that category, too.

That is, it is appreciating in value at the same time as it is still being used by mobile street vendors around the world for selling coffee, fruit, veggies and alcohol. Indeed, many of those vendors may not even be aware that their trusty workhorse may soon eclipse the price of their home.

A prime example of just how much the market for T2 variants has been influenced by the banner-carrying 23-window Deluxe Samba is the crew-cab Kombi above ,which spent most of its life as a tradesman’s workhorse but is currently advertised for $100,000 in Germany.

The following T2 Volkswagens are the most valuable to have been sold at auction to date. To track this global phenomenon, we’ve converted any non-American sales into American dollars at the prevailing exchange rate on the day of the sale.

$123,200 | 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$126,500 | 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$126,500 | 1964 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$126,500 | 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

Gooding & Co Auction Description

$128,700 | 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$129,719 (£85,500) | 1964 VW 21-window Deluxe Samba

Bonhams Auction Description

$140,250 | 1962 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

Gooding & Co Auction Description

$143,000 | 1967 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$143,347 (£91,100) | 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba

Bonhams Auction Description

$148,500 | 1961 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$157,690 (AUD$202,000) | 1960 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba

Shannons Auction Description

$217,800 | 1963 Volkswagen 23-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

$236,639 (€190,000) | 1955 VW 23-window Deluxe Samba

Auctionata Auction Description

$302,500 – 1965 Volkswagen 21-window Deluxe Samba

Barrett-Jackson Auction Description

Personal Reflections on the Kombi marketplace

I always figured that at some point in the distant future, one or two of the motorcycles I have owned would be worth a lot of money and that I would one day regret selling them. In my misspent youth, I used an identical vehicle to the $100,000 crew-cab Kombi pictured at the beginning of this article to transport my racing motorcycles. I bought it for an insignificant amount of money and when my adrenalin habit finally allowed me to buy a V8 utility vehicle for transporting the bikes, I sold the Kombi for chump change without a second thought. If I’d kept and restored it, it would now be worth more than any other motorized transport I have ever owned. Go figure!

I learned to drive in a 1961 Volkswagen Beetle with 250,000 miles on the clock and I’ve subsequently owned several Kombis – I am a fan of both models. I’ve watched their star rise at auction, and after doing the rounds of the global auction and classic car show marketplace over the last few years, I believe that if you are in the market for a T1 or T2 Volkswagen, Germany’s annual Techno-Classica show is the place where you can pick up a well-restored classic Volkswagen at the most reasonable price.

That’s a pic from last year’s Techno-Classica above and again below. The show this year runs from April 5 to 9, 2017 and if you are serious about procuring a vintage T1 or T2 Volkswagen, the Essen show is in the heart of the motherland and the epicenter of knowledge and expertise for the marque. Our Techno-Classica show report from last year will give you an idea of just how remarkable this gargantuan classic car show is.

One of the more interesting vehicles that didn’t make our Techno-Classica report was the above Volkswagen flatbed T2, along with one of the prototypes of the racing car that came from the same family – the Formula Vee. It was for sale on the show floor for €295,000, though it also came with the racing car and had been authenticated as one of the original transporters that hauled around the Formula Vee cars in the infancy of the series that gave the world drivers such as Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi and Keke Rosberg. It’s a lot of money but there aren’t a lot of T2 Volkswagens with any kind of provenance. Unlike the Bugattis, Bentleys and Duesenbergs that were purchased new by movie stars, captains of industry and royalty, the provenance of most Volkswagens constitutes a who’s who of unacclaimed people.

That might indeed be the secret to their popularity.

Why Volkswagen keeps making microbus throwbacks it never intends to sell

Volkswagen unveiled another new microbus concept in Detroit — a total blast from the past that probably won’t have much of a future.


The I.D. Buzz is an all-electric, fully autonomous vehicle meant to harken back to Volkswagen’s glory days of peace signs, bellbottoms, and flower power. If the company actually builds it, the Buzz wouldn’t be the fastest electric vehicle out there, with a top speed of only 99 miles per hour. Nor would it be the most powerful or longest ranging EV, with a 200-kilowatt electric motor and a charging range of only 270 miles.

What it does have, though, is an ability to make a direct appeal to two important demographic groups: nostalgic baby boomers who want to relive Woodstock and retro-obsessed millennials who are addicted to technology. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy, but the question remains: will Volkswagen ever build this thing?

Volkswagen claims the microbus could make it into production by 2025, but that seems overly optimistic. The German automaker released a different minivan concept last year, the BUDD-e. And neither of these cars appear to have much basis in reality. But that doesn’t make them any less fun to obsess over, especially with futuristic features like mood lighting, retractable steering wheels, and driver seats that can swivel 180 degrees.

Another sweet add-on is Volkswagen’s ID pass, a cloud-based user profile that stores specific settings for both drivers and passengers. That means every time you get in, the car will automatically adjust everything to your liking: seat position, air conditioning, music. You name it.

While the exterior of the I.D. Buzz is playful and inviting, the interior leaves something to be desired. The swivel seats are cool, but the controls are totally bizarre and not entirely intuitive. The foot pedals feature dopey “play” and “pause” symbols, and the dash is almost entirely non-existent. The center console is a bit too much like those arm rests on airplanes that hide foldable tray tables. And there are so many USB ports in this thing it borders on overkill.

But it’s important not to let all these cool concepts distract from Volkswagen’s larger problems with its ongoing diesel emissions scandal. The company has a history of using genius marketing strategies to distract from unsavory business practices or toxic affiliations. Lest we forget, VW was the vehicle of choice for both Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson. Just saying.

“The microbus design inspiration is absolutely a blatant feel good effort,” said Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst at Navigant Research, “but I think there is a place for minivans in the future mobility ecosystem.”

Certainly, VW’s entire electrification strategy is partly driven by a desire to move past the diesel emissions scandal in which the company finds itself currently embroiled. Just before the Detroit Auto Show kicked off, a senior executive at the company was arrested by the FBI on conspiracy to defraud customers in the US. And just today, VW announced a preliminary $4.3 billion settlement with the US government. The carmaker says it will continue to work with law enforcement as the investigation into the cheating scandal plays out.

The I.D. Buzz isn’t the only concept built on top of VW’s custom-built Modularer Elektrifizierungsbaukasten, aka Modular Electric Drive kit. At the Paris Auto Show last year, VW unveiled its new all-electric, fully autonomous concept car, all-electric, autonomous the I.D., a sleek silver-and-blue vehicle meant to harken back to the iconic Beetle and Golf.

Volkswagen will always have a place in America’s cultural identity. Vehicles like the Bug and the microbus are icons, and it’s really cool to see the company continue to play around with these classic models as it looks further into the future.


This modular camper van is one for the dogs (and their owners)

At camp with Dogscamper


Dogscamper is the latest camper van brand from Martin Hemp, whose work also includes the versatile Volkswagen and Mercedes van creations of Terra Camper, and the delightfully retro VW Flow Camper. The cornerstone of Dogscamper’s design is what it calls the Vari-Modular System, a series of grid walls that mount to the floor rails inside the van, allowing the owner to create kennels of different sizes and layouts as needed.

The Dogscamper's ramp helps dogs get in and out of the van

The system is designed to save on weight and bulk when compared to a permanent dog room or portable crate, while offering a more comfortable, adjustable space for one or more dogs to relax in during the ride and at camp. The Vari-Modular dog area closes securely and keeps dogs safely in place during the ride. Interior and exterior doors can be opened up at camp, allowing dogs to roam in and out of the vehicle and retire for a nap when desired.

Some quality bonding time in the Dogscamper

The dog area mounts neatly below the folding bed, so that humans also have a comfortable place to spend the night. The pop-up roof offers a second bed, providing sleeping space for four people.

Other helpful features for dog owners include a ramp that lets Fido or Fifi board and deboard through the liftgate with ease, a dog food/accessory case that hangs on the back next to the spare tire, and a wall mount/hook system that provides a place to hang up leashes, as well as other items, like coats and lanterns.

Beyond its dog-friendly features, the Dogscamper is a smartly laid out camper van that relies on Terra Camper’s expertise in modular furniture design. It features an indoor/outdoor driver-side kitchen area with removable camping stove and slide-out refrigerator. The fridge can be accessed from inside or out thanks to a pull-out that rides right through the sliding side door. The sink includes a sprayer hose to double as an outdoor shower, another feature that promises to be quite handy for dog owners.

The Dogscamper's sink doubles as a spray cleaner for the dog

The kitchen equipment is secured to the floor rails, allowing it to be easily removed, and the van can then ride as an open cargo van or as a passenger van with seating for up to six, making it a truly versatile work and play horse. Owners can also add other removable modules, such as a toilet. The modules feature an aluminum and composite construction for a combination of light weight and durability.

Dogscamper offers its conversions for both the Volkswagen T6 Kombi and the Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer. Volkswagen versions can be ordered in short- or long-wheel base and front-wheel or 4Motion all-wheel drive with engines ranging between 101 and 177 hp. The Vito version comes on the long-wheelbase model only and can be configured in front-, rear- or all-wheel drive with engines between 87 and 188 hp.

Dogscamper doesn’t have a price list on its website, but a number of German motorhome publications list the starting price as €49,900 (US$52,000).

North Americans aren’t out of luck with this camper van, the way they often are with cool European-designed vans. California-based Terra Camper North America just launched its Mercedes Metris (American market Vito) camper vans and is offering the Dogscamper as an optional equipment upgrade on the Tecamp model. The Dogscamper package starts at US$1,799 for the front and rear walls, each with a door, the ramp, and a bumper pad to prevent the ramp from scratching up the bumper. Additional kennel walls are available optionally.

The Dogscamper is available in Europe on the Mercedes Vito (pictured) and VW T6 and in...

The Tecamp conversion with pop-up roof with bed, folding cabin bed, floor rail mounting system, indoor/outdoor kitchen, two removable seats, and accompanying cabinetry and equipment starts at $35,900. That price is for the conversion only and doesn’t include the price of the base Metris Passenger Van, so you’ll be up around $70,000 for the entire Dogscamper, possibly well over that figure if you start darkening option boxes.

Most motorhomes aren’t nearly as pet-friendly as the Dogscamper, but there are a few other man-dog camper designs out there. One of our favorite motorhomes of 2016, the NOAH Cross City Capsule, showed what a compact Japanese-designed canine-friendly camper van looks like. And if you’d like to try out a dog-friendly motorhome without committing to buying it, Germany’s 4pfoten-Mobile (4paws Mobile) rents one with a dedicated dog compartment with padded floor, anti-dribble water bowl, camera system to keep an eye on the dog during the journey, dedicated exit/entry with non-slip ramp and other dog-friendly features, not to mention plenty of amenities for the humans, too.

Gibsons releases official VW Campervan puzzle



Gibsons has released a brand new addition to its Iconic Brands Collection, in the form of The Official VW Campervan Jigsaw.

Packaged in a mini tin replica of the classic 1960s RHD campervan, the 500 piece puzzle is a montage of the quirky campers that were a common sight during the ’50s,’ 60s and ’70s.

The puzzle features images of the iconic ‘split screen’ campervan and another with a crazy flower power pattern, with the tin offering an ideal way to store small items.

The VW Campervan jigsaw puzzle joins other branded classics from Gibsons including Marmite, The Great British Bake Off and Pringles

VW transporter specialist drives forward expansion plans

Image result for leighton vans rotherham

Leighton Vans, a VW transporter customisation specialist, has bought an 11,800 sq ft company headquarters and showroom in Rotherham as part of expansion plans.

Sheffield law firm Wake Smith advised on the six-figure sum purchase of the former Bradken manufacturing unit at Dodds Close on behalf of Leighton Vans’ owner, enabling the company to double its workforce and triple its sales and production space.

A £1m funding package from NatWest and Lombard Finance helped Leighton Vans finance the new premises.

The automotive business, which has become a hit with the outdoor and lifestyle community nationwide, is the brainchild of Mike Leighton who spotted a gap in the market four years ago.

“Not only do we sell, rent and lease VW transporters but we create unique, high specification vans which can be colour coded, body styled, upgraded and modified to what our client requires,” said Leighton. “We really wanted to find premises that suited our business needs, and allowed for growth.”

Paul Gibbon, director at Wake Smith’s commercial property division, added: “The business model established by Mike works extremely well and he has developed a strong customer base across the country, tapping into the popularity of outdoor sports and people wanting to enjoy the countryside.”

Leighton Vans, a spin off from Leighton’s former used car business, supports professional mountain bikers including Sheffield’s Steve Peat, Scotland’s trial cyclist Danny Macaskill and World Cup circuit rider Brendan Fairclough.

NatWest relationship manager Aaron Carter said: “Leighton Vans is a dynamic and ambitious business. It has been really rewarding to work with the management team to progress their growth plans, which are helping to create new jobs locally.”

Rebecca Schofield, partner at Knight Frank, which marketed Dodds Close, added: “This industrial warehouse unit is in an established location and ideal for Leighton Vans’ expansion needs.

“It will allow them to have a much improved base with office, showroom, customer area and workshop – all under one roof.”