The ‘bay window’ Type 2 Volkswagen Camper arrived in 1967 and was initially built in Germany, as is the case for the example listed here. Later, the T2 would be built in Mexico, Brazil and even Argentina. Volkswagen was keen to simply update the T1 Type 2, not reinvent the wheel, so to speak. The Type 2 had proved itself to be a hugely popular and hugely versatile vehicle, and the execs at VW didn’t want to mess with that. As such, the T2 version embodied the same philosophy of being simple, reliable and usable. And in doing so, Volkswagen created what is arguably the most popular version of the Type 2. While some were indeed available as split-screen models, it’s this, the ‘bay window’ with its large windscreen, that is the first top pop into your mind when asked to think of a VW Camper.
Of course, all Volkswagen Campers are popular, but the T2 ‘bay window’ is the one at the top of the pile. It has the purity of the T1, but is perhaps more affordable and easier to live with in respect to parts and maintenance. There is a thriving and vast aftermarket for the T2, which means parts are never far away. It also means that restoring/modifying one to your individual specifications is a breeze. It is perhaps the ultimate in VW Campers.
One thing that we always like to see with a classic car is a bit of service history, and this 1976 T2 has a raft of it. Over the course of its life, the old Volkswagen has had a number of owners, but it seems a great many of them were keen to keep hold of every invoice and receipt. As such, the winning bidder will be presented with evidence aplenty of service, restoration and maintenance work from years gone by.
The most significant points in this Camper’s history are 1997, the late 2000s and 2017.
In 1997, the Camper received a new 1,600cc engine, which was fitted by a specialist. This engine remains in place today, and is in excellent health having been recently (2019) serviced by the current owner. It’s also proven itself to be a trusty unit, having covered 101,000 miles since! But as any VW fan will know, these engines will go forever. There is no smoke from it, and there seems to be no evidence of end float.
During the late 2000s the Camper was subject to a complete restoration, which involved a full strip down, the fitment of new floors, new doors and repair panels. Inner and out front wings, chassis outriggers, jacking points and pillars have all been professionally repaired. The rest of the body was stripped back to bare metal after which it was painted in the white over blue you see it in today.
In 2017, various work was carried out to freshen up the Camper as can be seen in the photographed documents. A small bit of welding, some service parts, a repair to a chassis leg which involved fresh metal, seam sealer and rust protection - all documented.
Since then, the Camper has been maintained by a number of air-cooled VW specialists, and has been regularly serviced and from looking at the paperwork, has never wanted for anything. And it’s all there, on paper. With full invoicing for parts and labour. It’s the kind of peace of mind you’d be thrilled with for a modern used car, let alone a classic 1976 Volkswagen.
Further works over the years have included the fitment of a new leisure battery, a Sony stereo system and new insulation has also been fitted. The current owner has serviced it and maintained it to the standard set by the previous owners.
As you can see from the pictures, this is a wonderfully presentable example of Volkswagen’s second-most recognisable vehicle. The Camper is an unforgiving vehicle when it comes to flaws and issues, however, as you can see in the pictures there’s no worrying rippling in those vast side panels, there is no sign of serious rust and the underside is in excellent order. It’s also completely stock externally, meaning that there are no dubious past modifications to contend with. This is a VW Camper as the designers intended.
Of course, it is a vehicle from 1976, so there are some minor imperfections. There is some light bubbling/rust at the rear end of the passenger side sill, there is some corrosion on the rear panel to the right of the engine cover and there is some bubbling/rust coming through just below the passenger front door. However, none of the rust is by any stretch terminal. Nor is any of it all that noticeable. It’s all pictured, so you be the judge. For us, it in no way detracts from the aesthetic.
The steel wheels are in average condition, with some light corrosion and pitting on the chrome hubcaps, but it suits the age of the car. The tyres are perhaps a little on the aged side, with some cracking in the walls, so this may be something to change in the future.
Internally, it’s basic but delightfully functional. In the cab area this Camper has two brown vinyl seats, of which the driver’s has had to be repaired with some tape. The dash is in the decent order, and while it wears some age, it’s free from damage or cracks. The owner does inform us that the heater works, but the cables aren’t affixed, and as such, only cold air blows through the vents. The headlining is intact and in good condition, all the glass is free of scratches and damage, and all the doors into the Camper function well with no hang or striker issues.
In the back there is a full-width rock-n-roll bed with cushions, two ‘hammock’ beds above, a complement of brilliantly period curtains and some simple storage options like a small set of draws. The floor has been covered with a wood effect lino. One huge bonus of this Camper is the functional and original pop-top, which opens up the space inside considerably. Also, there is a full set of seatbelts in the back.
It could be used ‘as is’, as a sort of ‘light’ camper, or you could go the whole hog and fit more camping equipment such as kitchen facilities and so on. The pleasing simplicity of it means it could be used in a number of ways - and therein lies the beauty of owning a classic Volkswagen Camper.
As you can see from the pictures, this Camper is riding on original specification suspension. There is no sagging, the shocks seem to be in good health and while it’s no sports car, the body roll is largely to a minimum. In short, this classic Camper drives as you would expect it to, and there are no nasty surprises to be found. It’s been subject to a great deal of care and regular attention, and it shows on the road.
Do we need to sell you on the appeal of a classic Volkswagen Camper? If you’re here, if you’re reading this and if you’re repeatedly scrolling through the photographs, you’ve probably already fallen in love with the old bus. And we can’t say we blame you. This is a lovely machine that has been cared for and while not a concours machine, it is one that is ready to be used. No messing about. Bid, buy and bring a sleeping bag with you when you collect it and go camping straight away. It’s ready for it. It may be lacking the kitchen and water etc of other campers, but that’s fine because in doing so, it’s a more usable vehicle when not on a camping trip. It has seatbelts and space aplenty. It’s perhaps the perfect all rounder.
The history, the level of care afforded to it and the overall condition in which it’s presented today should be enough to motivate you to clock that bid button. The reserve for this classic VW is refreshingly low, too, so there is a potential bargain to be had here. But more than that, you’d be buying one of motoring’s icons. And who can say no to that?