For those who grew up during the Swinging Sixties, there were two iconic vehicles of the 1960’s; the Volkswagen Beetle and the Volkswagen Westfalia camper van.
Also known as a microbus, the Westfalia was a conversion of the VW Type 2 campervan, these vehicles became synonymous with those making great journeys in the 1960s, and were often the vehicle of choice for those embarking on road trips.
Nowadays, Westfalia campervans are still popular to surfers, seasoned campers and those who like to keep a bit of historical quirk on their driveways. The vehicles are also becoming more commonplace in the world of mobile catering, with modified campers being used as food trucks popping up more frequently at festivals.
Westfalia campervans, with their forward-facing cabs and distinctive engine sound, are still very much in demand even after all these years, with enthusiasts still meeting to show off their vehicles, discuss maintenance and even making use of digital mediums such as online auction sites to source replacement parts.
So where can you look if you want to buy one of these classic campers?
Buying A Campervan
When you’re looking to get your hands on a classic campervan there are many options at your disposal, and with plenty of enthusiasts out there keeping the vehicles on the road, there are plenty of resources out there offering support as well.
As your first step, look locally either in the car listings or advertisements in the local media, you may find a vehicle for sale close to where you are, which will save on travel time and give you the chance to test-drive the vehicle.
When buying a vehicle, viewing the vehicle itself is essential, so make sure you can actually see what you’re about to buy. Auction sites can be a bit of a risk, especially if you’re buying from abroad, always be sure you have at least test-driven the vehicle before committing to a sale.
Many enthusiasts will take on older campervans as restoration projects, and there are plenty of options when it comes to finding replacement parts as part of your project:
- Breakers yards – with many yards having older campervans in their yards, they can be handy for finding replacement parts – including mirrors, hubcaps and even cookers – being sold for scrap
- Auction sites – these can be a goldmine for those looking for parts – anything from replacement roofs to the kitchen sink – many of the parts will be ‘collection only’ so be prepared to travel where necessary
- Fellow enthusiasts – there are enthusiasts out there who will have a great collection of spare parts available to sell to their fellow enthusiasts, so try seeking these out at motor shows or through your local campervan club
When buying a vehicle of any kind, knowledge is power, and the VW Westfalia still has quite a following of enthusiasts, so it can be worth looking into whether there’s a local campervan enthusiasts group near you.
Networking with fellow campervan enthusiasts gives you the chance to discuss the vehicles themselves, maintenance tips, buying advice and even discover new and exciting roads to travel on.
Some groups may even offer discounts on campervan insurance policies, so it could be worth having a look around and becoming part of a club.
Insuring A Campervan
When it comes to insuring these classic campers, a regular car insurance policy may not cover your vehicle due to its age and risk factor.
Because of this, there are specialised brokers that offer campervan insurance policies, so shopping around can be handy if you want to find one that’s right for you.
How Can I Reduce My Premium Price?
By keeping the vehicle in good condition and secure, you can help keep your insurance premiums low, so bear a few things in mind when owning a campervan:
- How many miles a year do you cover?
Mileage can be a big factor when it comes to motor insurance, the further you travel in a year, the higher your premium.
If you are only going to use the van at certain times of the year, such as to attend motor shows and other special events, it could be worth seeing if you can agree a ‘limited mileage allowance’ with your broker.
A limited mileage allowance essentially sets a maximum mileage for a year, which if you don’t exceed in a year can help save you money on your premium. It can be handy if you only use the vehicle for show purposes or as an occasional runaround.
- Where do you store the vehicle?
Vehicle location is another factor which can affect your premiums, especially when it comes to where you live. Those campers stored in secure parking areas and in garages are going to be seen as less at risk than those which are kept parked on the street.
- What security features does it have?
Making use of additional security features, such as alarm systems, wheel locks and even in-van CCTV systems can help to reduce your premiums. By investing in some extra security you can help to reduce your campervan insurance premiums in the future.
VW campervans still hold a place in our automotive history, and there are still plenty of enthusiasts out there who are keeping the spirit of the vehicle alive and much more who are taking an interest in these iconic vehicles.
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