1978 Volkswagen Camper Westfalia


• Owned by ‘Hairy Biker’ Si King
• Outstanding restored condition
• 2.0 engine 

The Background

The Type 2 Volkswagen needs little in the way of an introduction. Named as such due to it being the second vehicle ever produced by Volkswagen, the Type 2 was designed to offer versatile, reliable mobility for the masses. It could be had as a van, as a minibus, as a crew cab, as a pickup and most popularly of all, a camper. Initially a split-screen design, the Type 2 would go on to evolve into what we have here, the ‘bay window’ version. It was a bit bigger, a bit more powerful and as such, was even more popular. 

This Type 2 is not only in utterly glorious condition, it’s also the much coveted Westfalia version. This means the transformation into camper is far better than what Volkswagen itself offered. The Westfalia versions are arguably the most sought after, and when you look around this stunning ‘78 example, it’s not hard to see why. 

The History

Owned by Si King of Hairy Bikers fame, this camper was the result of a long search for the right vehicle. Si wanted a Type 2 bay window, but he didn’t want a rot-box, and so took his time in finding one. 

In the end, he happened upon this stunning example, which had lived the majority of its life in the dry climate of California. It’s an original Westfalia model, and being a dry state, it has never been welded, and is as solid as a rock. 

Of course, this means it is left-hand drive, but given that the visibility is excellent, and that it’s not often required to overtake anything, it’s not too much of an issue. 

Upon collecting the camper in 2012, Si set about improving the camper and bringing it up to what is an excellent standard. 

The mechanics have been overhauled, the suspension, the brakes, the steering, the fuel system - it’s all tip top. The body has been repainted to a good standard, the rubbers are new, the original interior has been restored and slightly upgraded with modern electric points and three-pin plugs. 

Having had the best part of a decade of use, Si’s understandably busy schedule means it won’t get out to many campsites any time soon. As such, it is now being offered for auction. And bid you should, because ‘Peapod’ as it’s affectionately known, is a belter. 

The Paperwork

There is a nice collection of paperwork with the camper, all relating to the upkeep and running. “I have my family in this; my nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews. 

If it wants anything or needs anything, it gets done, no matter what.” Explained Si. Certainly, the condition would suggest as much. As for the paperwork, the past MOTs with no advisories are testament to how well it’s maintained. Though when it did have some in 2014, they were addressed immediately. 

Further paperwork includes invoices for servicing, for upgrades to the stereo, additions such as the bamboo shelving under the dash, new gas, new canopy, new ‘drive away’ awning, paintwork, new oil pressure and temperature gauges and more. This van has wanted for nothing. 

Finally, there is paperwork that has various insurance valuations, starting from £25,000 back in 2012 up to £38,000 in more recent years. Proof that this camper is both in excellent order, and is also an appreciating asset. The reserve is far lower than that later valuation, so this could be your chance to grab a bargain! 

The Interior

As the pictures go to show, the interior of this camper is in excellent order. The only observable issue, if you can call it that, is some cracking of the upper dash pad due to heat. It’s not severe though, and doesn’t draw the eye. The rest of the cabin is excellent and in no way hints at the age of the vehicle. 

The carpets are excellent, the Westfalia fixtures and fittings are all present and correct, including the ice box, sink and hob unit. There is a new gas bottle fitted, as per the paperwork. The seats are all in good condition, as is the foam padding above the engine section that is used as part of the bed. 

The pop-top, which is also a bed, works as it should and has good seals. The hinges are in excellent condition, too. Operation of the roof is a one man affair. Were also told that there is a hammock that occupies the cab section, and can sleep a child. This is in storage though, so isn’t in the pictures. 

The dash fascia is excellent, the dials a clean and clear, there are extra oil pressure and temp gauges and there is also a retro-style head unit with modern, Bluetooth internals and USB connectivity via the glovebox. Oh, and the vacuum wiper system has been binned in favour of an electric motor. Not that it ever rains in England. Ahem. 

The Exterior

As you can see, ‘Peapod’ as it’s affectionately known is painted in a rather fetching shade of green. The paint has been done to a high standard, and while the work has a few years under it now, it’s still holding up very well. There is one small (touched up) scrape on the lower offside panel, and there is a small chip on the body line on the same side (pictured) but this is camper than has been used for camping, so a bit of life is to be expected. The paint has a rich gloss to it, and presents very well indeed. 

The window seals are all excellent, the door handles too. As we mentioned earlier, the pop-top is in excellent condition and again has good seals fitted. There are no leaks here! The glass is all clean, clear and free from any scratches, and the painted bumpers and wheels are all excellent, too. 

Looking underneath, there is plenty of rust protection in place, and as one would expect from a Californian import, there is no no serious rust to be concerned by, nor any evidence of past repair. It is a very, very solid old machine. 

The Mechanics

Powered by a 2.0 flat-four mated to a four-speed manual transmission, this Camper fires up without question and sounds glorious when it is running. 

There are no rattles or clatters, just that familiar chirp of an air-cooled unit. It has been recently serviced, the ignition has been overhauled and converted to a more modern electronic setup, new plugs, belts and fluids have been installed. The fuel sender has been refurbished, too.  It’s all very healthy. 

Looking in the engine bay, there is lots of clean metal on display. No leas, no rust. There are two modern batteries fitted, as well as an engine bay mounted fire extinguisher for peace of mind. 

The transmission has had new linkages/bushes, and so gifts without issue. The brakes have been overhauled, as have the steering components and suspension. It’s no Lotus Esprit, but for a VW Camper, it handles very well indeed. New steering dampener, arms, front axle rebuild, it’s all been done.

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The Appeal 

There are many, many campers out there. So why should you bid on this one? Well, for starters, there is the insurance valuation of £38,000 and a reserve much lower than that.

This could be an investment. But taking money out of the equation, this has to be one of the nicest campers out there.

It’s true to what Volkswagen and Westfalia envisaged back in the day, it has been cared for fastidiously, it has wanted for nothing and as such, it is ready for many, many summers of camping.

It’s got the better 2.0 engine in it, it’s got some nice modern touches to make it more usable such as the electrics, the stereo and the electric wipers and, well, just look at it. It’s beautiful.

Who wouldn’t want to spend a week away with Peapod as their home away from home? 

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1978
  • Make Volkswagen
  • Model T2 Westfalia
  • Colour Green
  • Odometer 89,406 Miles
  • Engine size 2000
  • Location Tyne and Wear
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
45 bids
  • Ma•••• £33,250 05/08/21
  • Fr•••• £33,000 05/08/21
  • Ma•••• £32,750 05/08/21
  • Fr•••• £32,500 05/08/21
  • Ma•••• £32,250 05/08/21
  • Be•••• £32,000 05/08/21
  • Ma•••• £31,750 05/08/21
  • Fr•••• £31,500 05/08/21
  • Fr•••• £31,250 05/08/21
  • Ma•••• £31,000 05/08/21

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