T2 Campervan is the UK’s favourite classic car, according to insurance company


Classic cars have proved a great investment – better than ploughing your money into FTSE 100 shares, art, wine and jewellery, according to the latest Frank Knight wealth report.
And it seems people in the South are the ones pumping their money into classic vehicles, with new research showing Kent, Essex and Surrey are the three counties with the highest number of classic-car owners.

But they’re not throwing their money at Ferraris, Porsches or Lamborghinis; the most common classic is actually the VW Camper.
The data has been pulled together by insurer Carole Nash’s ‘Cherished vehicle division’, which identifies a classic car as any model that is at least 15 years old, is not the owner’s main car and has a low yearly mileage.
It used all 13,650 cars that are currently covered by its classic car insurance policy to work out which models and manufacturers are most common, and which regions have the highest number of vintage vehicles.
Carole Nash found six per cent of all UK-based classics resided in Kent, with 5.4 per cent kept in Essex and another 4.8 per cent owned by people in Surrey.
Despite the stats showing a southern-UK domination for classic-car ownership, it was Nottinghamshire that took fourth spot with Norfolk a close fifth.
Many of these classic car enthusiasts are buying British brands, too. Of the most common carmakers, MG, Triumph and Land Rover all placed in the top five.
But collectible Volkswagens are the most owned classics in the UK — a flicker of light for the German carmaker that’s still embroiled in its emissions-test cheating scandal.
Carole Nash says in Kent alone, 142 out of its 827 classic cars were Volkswagens. The next most-owned vintage was MG, making up just 77 of the total count.
The insurance firm said VWs made up 15.2 per cent of the classic-car market share.
The T2 Campervan is the model most are opting for.

The study discovered that 78 per cent of all Nottinghamshire classics are second-generation Campers, while 74 per cent of vintage-car collectors in Lancashire have the mk2 VW bus.
Experts in the classic-car division of Carole Nash said it was easy to see why the Campervan was so popular.
Their enduring appeal has been highlighted by the fact that renting them out is a business in itself. In recent years, companies have been able to profit on the growing demand for these iconic motors,’ it said.
‘By offering fully restored and serviced Campers to the general public, companies such as Old School Camper Hire in Leeds and South West Camper Hire in Devon have flourished as more and more people opt for something a little bit different when booking their summer holidays or countryside retreats.’



After almost 10 years, Volkswagen is getting rid of ‘Das Auto’


A Volkswagen company logo adorns the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany December 8, 2015.  REUTERS/Carl Recine

Volkswagen company logo adorns the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany

BERLIN – Scarred by a public relations thrashing over its “Dieselgate” scandal, Volkswagen is planning an image offensive, and its “Das Auto” global advertising slogan is an early casualty.

Launched in 2007 under ousted boss Martin Winterkorn, the slogan has had the advantage of simplicity, merely meaning “The Car”. However, the German carmaker’s leaders, anxious to proclaim a reformed corporate culture, have criticized it as out of step with a company trying to show new-found humility.

A Volkswagen spokesman would not pronounce “Das Auto” dead quite yet, but said it would no longer accompany the famous VW badge in the coming advertising campaign.

Its replacement is hardly radical.

“Wherever our logo appears in future, it will be backed by the new brand slogan ‘Volkswagen’,” the spokesman said. “The slogan will be rolled out in stages across the world.”

VW has been largely on the defensive since U.S. authorities revealed in September it had admitted rigging exhaust emission tests on some diesel-powered models. For weeks, it volunteered little information about the extent of the cheating, instead reacting guardedly to a flood of revelations and allegations.

The new campaign, discussed last week at a closed-door meeting of 2,000 group managers, is VW’s latest attempt to regain the initiative in rebuilding its reputation following a sharp drop in sales in some markets, including the United States and Britain.

While the group produces everything from Bugatti supercars and Ducati motorbikes to heavy-duty Scania trucks, the meeting in the eastern German city of Dresden focused on the main VW brand.

According to a manager who was there, Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess described the Winterkorn-era slogan – which could suggest that VW alone can define the modern motor car – as absolutist.

Such an image of regal arrogance ill fits the reality of VW today: a company facing huge costs from recalling and modifying cars to meet emissions regulations, plus likely regulatory fines and a welter of lawsuits.

Volkswagen needed to show humility, the manager said, and the slogan ‘Das Auto’ was pretentious. The old slogan also failed to convey VW’s technological ambitions in areas such as electrically-powered vehicles, the manager said, requesting anonymity.

VW said the Dresden meeting discussed the task of leading the company through the crisis and its future strategy.

Diess is a relative newcomer to VW, arriving from Bavarian rival BMW only in July. Since Winterkorn’s forced resignation on Sept. 23, the group has reshuffled its management through internal promotions and external hires.

New chief executive Matthias Mueller formerly ran the group’s Porsche sportscar unit, while the compliance chief was hired from rival Daimler.

VW tried to engender a new atmosphere at the annual pre-Christmas conference in Dresden last Thursday. For instance, male staff were encouraged to remove their ties – an unheard of suggestion in the buttoned-up Winterkorn era – and managers even folded shirts in a team-building exercise.

All this, along with VW’s first news conference on the scandal earlier this month, suggests it is finally becoming a little less defensive and trying to shape events from a public relations perspective rather than merely reacting to them.


Group communications chief Hans-Gerd Bode acknowledges frustrations have built up while VW tries to establish who did what and when to deceive the U.S. authorities, but he denies deliberate dishonesty in VW’s communications.

“I can assure you that we certainly did not, at any point, knowingly lie to you,” he told a group of reporters. “We have always tried to give you the information which corresponded to the latest level of our own knowledge at the time.”

VW’s PR response in the first three months of the crisis drew criticism from regulators, customers and politicians. There have been several missteps.

On Sept. 22, the company dismissed as “nonsense” a German media report that Winterkorn would be replaced by Mueller. The following day, Winterkorn resigned and Mueller was installed as his successor on Sept. 25.

In November, its luxury Audi division denied that its three-liter models had been fitted with illegal software, only to admit three weeks later that in fact they had.

Three weeks into what has become known as ‘Dieselgate’ VW communications staff began insisting media questions be submitted by email for consideration by teams that included lawyers as well as compliance staff. Often answers came back hours later or even the following day.

More recently the flow of information has improved, with Mueller and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch updating reporters for two hours on Dec. 10 on the state of VW’s internal investigations.

But it had taken VW almost three months to hold its first free-flowing news conference. Prior to that, Mueller had largely stuck to reading out carefully worded statements, departing without fielding questions.


One advantage of the long delay was that VW won time to come up with a forward-looking plan that it could present at the news conference, rather than having to dwell on its past misconduct.

“The earlier you communicate, the more backward-looking you have to be,” said Katja Nagel, chief executive of Munich-based crisis communications consultancy Cetacea.

“To be able to look forward and talk about prevention of such cases in the future – this is a strong position to be in. To do so, you need time to substantiate your plans before publicly talking about them.”

Sometimes haste can be counterproductive, such as when Winterkorn was forced out within a week of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealing VW’s admission. This left Mueller to pick up the pieces immediately, rather than having Winterkorn stay for a while to handle the fallout.

“They jumped on it a bit quickly by pushing Winterkorn out of the door, so the scope for him to take the flak was limited,” said Robert Haigh, communications director at Brand Finance, a London-based brand valuation consultancy.

In PR terms, VW was on the backfoot from the outset, allowing the EPA to reveal its cheating, putting others in charge of the message.

Only occasionally did it show initiative. On Nov. 3 – six weeks after the first revelations – VW volunteered it had discovered carbon dioxide emissions and fuel usage of up to 800,000 cars sold in Europe had been overstated.

It was later able to say that only a much smaller number of cars was affected and the cost could be relatively minor, in contrast to the figure of at least 2 billion euros ($2.20 billion) it had first estimated.

VW said the initial estimate of 800,000 cars was a worst case scenario and it was able to reduce the number of affected vehicles following measurement checks.

This was a success under the rules of public relations; by initially estimating the costs of a setback at a high level, a company can subsequently present a lower number as good news.

But PR industry experts gave VW low marks for announcing that only a small group of employees had been responsible for the cheating without naming them – suggesting it did not yet know who they were.

VW has called in German PR firm Hering Schuppener, as well as Finsbury in Britain and Edelman and Kekst in the United States. But Bode made clear VW was still making the final decisions on crisis communications.

“What we also need is a view from outside. They are excellent sparring partners for us,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Writing by David Stamp; editing by Janet McBride)

Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter

St Ives funeral director with VW hearse officially opens


A St Ives funeral directors with a VW hearse was officially opened last week.

Saints Funeral Services, which is St Ives’ policeman Darren Saint’s new business, was formally opened by St Ives Town Mayor Linda Taylor on Wednesday December 9.

The family-run funeral directors have their own dedicated Chapel of Rest, Mortuary and offices and operate in St Ives, Hayle and the surrounding areas.

They are staffed by local people and provide a professional, dignified service catering for all requirements.

The funeral directors offer a fleet of traditional vehicles such as a black hearse or limousine or less traditional vehicles such as their VW hearse, which is a converted VW camper van.The directors also have their own celebrant for non religious funerals.

Darren said: “We are really pleased to open our doors to the public and we are really excited about the future”.

St Ives Mayor Linda Taylor said: “I think it is really good to see a new venture in St Ives and I’m hoping that it will allow people in St Ives some real choice. I’m very aware that funeral costs can be expensive and its about providing customers with more options through competition. I wish all at Saints Funeral Services every success.”


Annual Tucson Bus show is a holiday tradition


Vintage VW Bus Show



Now in it’s fifth year, a vintage VW bus show has become a holiday tradition on North Fourth Avenue

On Saturday, Dec. 26, the show will feature more than 25 buses that date back to the 1960s and ’70s.

And while the show is free, visitors are encouraged to donate to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona by voting for their favorite bus in three categories: Best of Show, Best Hippie Bus and Best Ugly Bus. Votes cost $1 each, and all proceeds will benefit the Community Food Bank.

Last year the event raised $753, organizer Bruce Hilpert said.

Vintage VW Bus Show

Hilpert said the show will feature customized buses, vintage restorations and some rusty hulks.

The show runs from 2-5 p.m. at The Hut, 305 N. Fourth Ave.

According to Hilbert, 1960s VW bus prices have skyrocketed in recent years, with some bringing as much as $200,000.

Some members have owned their buses for several decades and have attended many a Grateful Dead show in them.

Yellow VW camper van loan is boost for charity


A charity that supports adults with learning difficulties has been lent a yellow VW camper van rent-free for a year by a generous businessman.

Flower Pod manager Jane Hufton with delivery van Cathy, donated by the owner of Sherwood Restorations, Mr Richard Ellis.

The 1972 van was spotted by Mrs Anna Joyce, events organiser at Reach Learning Disability — a charity with bases in Southwell, Newark and Mansfield, that supports more than 150 adults across the county with learning disabilities.

Reach also runs a social enterprise project, called Flower Pod, at Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst campus, Southwell, which sees clients from the charity run their own flower-cut business, and supplying flowers to events such as weddings and funerals.

Mrs Joyce said when she saw the van on the forecourt of Sherwood Restorations, Upton Road, Southwell, she took a picture of it and put out a jokey message on Twitter asking if anyone wanted to get it for them.

Mrs Joyce said: “It has always been one of our dreams to get a van so our clients can sell their flowers out of it and hopefully one day employ them and our volunteers as paid members of staff.”

Soon after she sent the tweet, the owner of Sherwood Restorations, Mr Richard Ellis, of Mansfield, got in contact with the charity saying he would lend them the van as a pilot project in the hope it would promote the Flower Pod.

“The charity was overwhelmed by the generosity of Richard,” said Mrs Joyce.

“It is really vital that we get our clients out into the community and to break down the barriers in society.

“It is a good marketing tool for us.”

The van is named Cathy after Mr Ellis’ niece and would cost £9,995 to buy.

Mrs Joyce said clients from Flower Pod hoped to start using the van in March to sell their flowers.

One of Mr Ellis’s conditions of giving the van was that the charity must promote giving blood and flyers will be given out from the van.

A video about the camper van has been made by Mrs Joyce’s son, Mr Dominic Joyce, who is a film maker.

It can be seen at www.vimeo.com/147830444

VW Caravelle gets Golf GTI power while Caddy goes petrol too


Caravelle Front

The sting of dieselgate strikes as an assortment of petrol engines make their way to the Caddy and Caravelle range

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has announced it will be bringing a range of petrol engines to its commercial vehicle range in 2016. The Volkswagen Caddy panel van and Caddy Life people carrier, along with the Volkswagen Caravelle MPV, will be offered with petrol engine options ranging from 1.2-litre TSI to the 2.0-litre TSI that’s found in the Golf GTI hot hatch.

The Caddy and Caddy Life will be available with three petrol engines – a 1.2-litre 83bhp mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, a 1.0-litre turbocharged 101bhp engine from the Golf Bluemotion, and a 1.4-litre engine with 123bhp, which has a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic.

The Caravelle is offered with a 2.0-litre engine producing 148bhp or 201bhp – the same engine used in the Golf GTI. The lower-powered engine comes with a six-speed manual, while the top engine is exclusively available with a seven-speed DSG auto. These engines are only available on the short-wheelbase Caravelle SE, and not the Transporter panel van – yet.

The new engines may be a response to the ‘dieselgate‘ scandal, where software in VW models was found to be artificially lowering the NOx emissions in official tests. Many potential buyers may have been put off the idea of diesel as a result, and the new petrol additions to Volkswagen’s range could offer an alternative. The commercial vehicle market is dominated by diesels but advancements in turbocharged petrol engines may see this shift.

Read all the info on the Volkswagen emissions scandal here

The new engines will emit from 123-137g/km of CO2 in the Caddy, and 206-210g/km in the Caravelle. Fuel consumption ranges from 47.1mpg to 53.3mpg in the Caddy and 30.7mpg-31.4mpg in the Caravelle.

The petrol Caddy range starts from £14,475 excluding VAT, while the petrol Caravelle’s come in from £30,230 excluding VAT.

Zelectric (z)electrifies classic Volkswagen split-window bus



After starting up in 2012, Zelectric Motors has quickly made a business out of retrofitting electric powertrains to classic Volkswagen Beetles. The San Diego-based shop also performs its electric magic on other classic cars, including Porsches and Manxes, and recently completed what we’d call its coolest conversion yet: a 1964 Volkswagen Type 2, complete with signature first-generation split windshield, sunroof and sliding door. It’s a beautiful example of iconic 20th century automotive design updated with 21st century drive technology, or as Zelectric likes to say, “retro future.”

Zelectric says its motor doubles the original horsepower and provides about 70 miles of range

“Midcentury cars were made for a different world – one that had what seemed like an endless supply of cheap gasoline and no air pollution,” Zelectric explains on its website. “But unlike cars today, they were designed with timeless character and endless appeal. Zelectric Motors offers the best of both worlds, where iconic high style fuses with today’s future-forward technology to provide an exhilarating driving experience.”


The classic Beetle, dubbed the ZelectricBug after transformation, remains the company’s bread and butter, but it’s also turned some attention to Beetle-related models like the Type 2. It converted this particular Microbus earlier this year and has been showing it at car shows, including last month’s LA Auto Show, where we gave it a thorough looking at.

In place of the air-cooled boxer engine you’d expect to find mounted at the rear, Zelectric has fitted its electric motor. The company was advertising the same 80- to 100-mile (129- tto 161-km) range as the Bug in LA, but CEO David Benardo admits that the Bus prototype is more likely to get around 70 miles (113 km) before needing a recharge. He also says that more batteries could be added to double or triple that range.

A peek inside the back of the Zelectric bus

The lithium batteries are mounted under the middle bench, and Zelectric says drivers can expect a lifespan around 160,000 miles (257,500 km). Charging time takes between three and four hours from a 240-volt outlet. The e-Bus looks best for rolling down the coast at cruising speed, sunroof peeled back, but with a top speed falling somewhere between 80 and 100 mph (130 – 160 km/h) – Zelectric hasn’t quite zeroed in on the exact limit – it also has the giddy-up for highway driving.

A peek inside the front of the bus

Benardo says Zelectric doesn’t have any current plans to offer a turnkey electric Bus, the way it does with the Beetle, but it is offering the conversion package starting at US$55,000, including the electric motor, reworked four-speed transmission, disc brakes and LED lights. The company doesn’t cut or weld the original vehicle during the process, so the bus could be converted back to gas if the owner ever wants to do so. Zelectric is already working on two other Type 2 conversions for clients

VW Microbus to go electric at CES tech show


Classic Camper van will return with all-electric derivative to showcase VW’s vision for autonomous tech, safety and connectivity

The Volkswagen Microbus will make another return with an electric concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month, prior to an official announcement confirming the iconic van’s return to the German car maker’s line-up.

Described as a close preview to a planned production version of the Microbus to be produced at Volkswagen’s Puebla factory in Mexico from 2017, the concept is set to showcase a newly developed electric drive system among other contemporary connectivity technologies.

The zero local emission driveline, which relies on the Volkswagen Group’s latest lithium-ion battery technology as used by the Audi R8 E-Tron and Audi Q6 E-Tron Quattro concept, is claimed to provide a range of between 400 and 500km (250-310 miles) depending on the driving conditions.

The German manufacturer, which is seeking to rebuild its reputation in the wake of the emissions scandal, will show off the car during a keynote speech by Herbert Diess, head of passenger cars for Volkswagen, on the eve of CES.

In his address Diess will lay out Volkswagen’s vision for electric mobility and sustainability.

The all-electric Microbuss is planned to be offered alongside more conventional turbocharged four-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants on the production Microbus, which senior Wolfsburg sources describe as being smaller than the latest Multivan.

Speaking at the New York show earlier this year, a Volkswagen spokesman revealed that VW engineers and designers were working on a new Camper van concept using a small electric motor driving the front wheels and battery packs stored under the floor.

The spokesman told Autocar that the design of the original VW van was “so iconic” that any attempt at a new model would have to have three “very important” design cues: “First the wide, solid, D-pillar, second the boxy design of the centre section and, thirdly, the front end must have a very short overhang. The distance from the A-pillar to the front end must be very short.”

The key to achieving the unique front-end design is the fact that an electric motor would allow a much lower ‘bonnet line’ than a conventional petrol engine. This, in turn, would allow the A-pillars to be placed much further forward than in a conventional MPV.

The news of VW’s new EV concept was confirmed by Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive of the company which organises CES. He said the car would be a “groundbreaking electric vehicle that will further illustrate the synergy between the Internet of Things and the automotive industry”.

Shapiro added: “We are pleased Volkswagen will use the CES stage to unveil a concept car displaying its latest developments in safe and energy-efficient electric vehicles consistent with VW’s long history of innovation in the driving experience.

“When we agreed to a Volkswagen keynote earlier this year we, along with the world, did not know much about emissions testing, but after talking with Dr Diess I felt the CES audience would be interested in his vision and curious about his plans for a new type of sustainable car.

“Now, VW has an opportunity at CES to show the world its designs for the future and how the company views electric mobility and sustainability.”

Diess’s keynote speech, which will take place on 5 January on the eve of CES’s opening, is likely to expand on comments he made last month about how Volkswagen was “repositioning itself for the future”.

“We are becoming more efficient, we are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus and we are creating room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up the efficiency program.”

Diess also hinted that “a new standard with regard to connectivity and driver assistance systems is to be defined”, and it seems likely that the CES show car will showcase autonomous driving technologies.

Volkswagen’s production car range already includes fully electric vehicles such as the e-Golf and e-Up in some markets.

Loch Ness Caravan Park wins Loo of the Year for second consecutive year


Loch Ness Shores

Scottish caravan park scoops prestigious loo award

Loch Ness Shores Camping and Caravanning Club Site has scooped a gong at the prestigious Loo of the Year Awards, for the second consecutive year.

The Site has been crowned the overall 2016 UK winner in the Eco Friendly Loo of the Year category, beating its performance in 2015 when it won the award for sites in Scotland.

The 100-pitch Loch Ness Shores Camping and Caravanning Club Site welcomes thousands of visitors each year, keen to explore the stunning Highland scenery and experience the first-rate eco-friendly facilities found on site.

Developed to boost standards in away-from-home washrooms everywhere, the Loo of the Year Awards crowned winners in sixty categories, from shopping centres through to camping and touring sites at the 28th annual Loo of the Year Awards ceremony on Friday 4 December. The event helps to focus attention on the thousands of washrooms across the UK and promotes the highest standards.

Each toilet block entered into the scheme is rigorously assessed on strict criteria, which includes signage and communication, décor and maintenance, security and cleanliness.

Franchisee Lyn Forbes welcomed the latest award for the busy site, saying: “We wanted to improve the economy of the area, in a way that wouldn’t impact on the environment and believed a touring campsite was the way forward.”

The opening of the Loch Ness Shores site marked a culmination of a decade of work by the Forbes family, who were tenant farmers for generations before buying Foyers Mains Farm on which the campsite was built.

The campsite has been open for two years and serves to drive traffic to other attractions locally, including Foyers Village Shop, Waterfall Café and new businesses including Cameron’s Tea Room and Morag’s Crafty Bothy.

The Loo of the Year Award is the latest achievement for Loch Ness Shores, coming hot on the heels of a win in the 2015 Green Tourism Awards, when the site won gold in the best Environmental Management category.

The site has also been awarded 5-star certification by Visit Scotland.

Bob Hill, the Club’s Sites Director, said: “I’m delighted that the 2016 Eco Friendly Loo of the Year Award now joins many others won by Loch Ness Shores Club Site.

“Lyn and Donald have taken great strides to make their campsite sustainable, including a solar thermal system and a pioneering water-to-water pump that heats the water for both buildings on site.

“This recognition is a fitting reward for all their hard work.”

The Club’s Skye site also won a Platinum Award and the National Category Award for Camping & Touring Sites in Scotland at the Awards Ceremony.

For more information on the Loo of the Year Awards, click here.


Redline turns the VW T6 into a comfy limousine


Van artists love nothing more than to have new clay to mold, and the Volkswagen T6 has already served to make some very nice sculptures. We’ve seen it as a versatile camper van in the Tonke Van, and now Redline shows it can be an equally convincing luxury limo. The Russian tuning studio has transformed the T6 Multivan into an ultra-comfy chauffeured van with 2 + 1 cabin.

Those rear seats fulfill the mandate of a more comfortable cabin because Redline ripped out the stock bench and replaced it with cushier BMW 7-Series seating with massage, heating and ventilation. There’s also an electric retractable footrest below each seat on the rear bench. The front seat was designed for the client’s child and offers 180-degree swiveling.

To keep parents and child entertained, Redline has added an entertainment system with 27-in television, digital TV tuner, Apple TV and mobile Internet connection. The television is mounted to an electrically activated slide that repositions it from left to right, depending upon which passengers are watching.

Redline has split the driver’s cab and passenger cabin with a partition wall that includes a power window, with an intercom keeping the rear passengers and driver connected when the glass is up. Additional upgrades include an ambient lighting package, an electric folding table and mirror on the back of the front child’s seat, window curtains, and leather and wood trim. Redline says a refrigerator is available as an option.

Redline’s T6 isn’t quite as luxurious as the Sprinter-based Brabus Business Lounge we scoped out at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but we’d definitely be happy if our local airport shuttle service swapped a fleet of Redlines in for the stock vans and SUVs – not a bad look for the new T6 at all. Redline is now moving on to its second T6 conversion, which it promises will be quite different from this one.

The 1.5-minute video clip below provides a closer look at the T6’s features, including its many electrically adjustable components.

Redline's VW T6 Multivan conversion offers options including window curtains and a refrigerator

Retractable footrests slide out from below the rear seats