Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's a Love Affair with This Bus; Dub Delights: Chris and His Wife Vanessa with Their 1975 VW Camper. Inset, How Bruce Looks Inside Now

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's a Love Affair with This Bus; Dub Delights: Chris and His Wife Vanessa with Their 1975 VW Camper. Inset, How Bruce Looks Inside Now

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS FOLLEY

The VW camper is an icon of the roads - even if a sometimes unreliable one. Chris Folley gives 'Bruce' a taste of modern life with a much-needed refit

YOU'RE bound to have seen them bumbling along the M4 slow lane or struggling up some Cornish hill in first gear.

They can be expensive to run and parts hard to find, yet our love affair with the VW camper seems to be as strong as ever.

My interest began when I lived in Australia, and saw a small fleet lined up at Byron Bay. But only last summer did I do anything about it.

With five seconds left on a bidding war on eBay, I landed the killer blow: for ?5,600 I was the proud owner of "Bruce", an orange 1975 Australian import T2 Bay window. It took a fivehour train trip from hell to pick him up in deepest Devon, but that's another story.

Perhaps inevitably for such an old van, Bruce has developed a rather bad habit: breaking down.

But it pays to stick with them even in these days of tightening wallets, Vee-dubs hold their value.

Joseph Moaz, owner of Quality Campers in Fulham, says: "Obviously taking care of the engine is important but it's the interiors and bodywork which count.

The Westfalias are the best, particularly if you get one with original wood furnishings.

Good vans are proving harder to find, so if you have one already it's worth spending the extra money on it."

We chose an Australian import because they're always likely to be more rust-free than damp Brit versions.

As for the interiors, while there's always going to be retro interest, your bed, fridge and cupboard units are likely to be just worn out.

Our three-quarter length fold-out bed you can get full-width ones but you lose storage still had its original foam, so no surprise that we had sleepless nights.

Most Bays have all the units along one side from behind the driver's seat, you get a fridge (usually a three-way 12v gas model), a two-burner hob and grill, a sink and then cupboard space. …

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