Campers can also be classics

Auto Motor Klassiek » Special » Campers can also be classics

Oldtimer campers are popular. There is therefore a lively trade in these vehicles, both online and regular and both with private individuals and professional dealers. These classic travelers generally offer slightly less comfort and less sophisticated options than modern motorhomes, but there is a very large dose of charm in return. They are ideal for people who do not have a side, because there is not much speed. It is not uncommon that such a classic is therefore (long ago) equipped with an engine that is (somewhat) more powerful than the original.

Classic motorhomes in Europe

In Europe, the Volkswagen T2 is a symbol of the classic camper. After all, it is one of the very first vans that were used in large numbers as a camper. In that corner Westfalia is also a winner. In the big America (America was still 'great' at the time, at least if you were white, male, young and healthy and had a job) the T2 buses had already been discovered as a funmobile. But in principle they took the concept a bit bigger. An 'RV', recreation vehicle 'from the States can easily be the size of a Dutch city bus (think' Winnebago '), but the van (with or without V8) from GM and Ford was also used a lot.

Ex works or own construction?

But there are also serious European classic motorhomes: the older Hymers, for example, are in turn the symbol of today's integrated motorhome. The characteristic Hobby 600 series was also a very progressive semi-integrated camper in its time. In addition to campers that had already been delivered as a motorhome from the factory, there was and is of course also the possibility to restore a classic van and at the same time set it up as a motorhome.

Ford Transits, Peugeot J7s, VW LTs and Mercedes S550 are also major players in this sector where HYs are currently being used to the maximum to make food trucks. You also regularly come across Bedfords, the European version of the A-team bus.

Rust and overdue maintenance

There are quite a few classic motorhomes that have been seriously affected by rust and rot. Generally little attention was paid to conservation. You can often buy a barn find like this for next to nothing and then seriously lose money financially when you lack sheet metal and welding experience. Add to that the fact that the brakes and the interior usually also often have to be 'done' and that an engine after 10 years of dreaming also requires more than average attention. But if you have the time, the space and the patience, you usually come a long way. And if, like Ruud Bozelie of the DIY garage Rubo from Spankeren, you really want to roll up your sleeves, then a thick Benz with accommodation for two bouviers is not a good purchase.

When purchasing a project, consider whether the car does not have a truck registration, if you as a buyer do not have a 'large' driver's license. The conversion to a 'normal' license plate sometimes requires no more than the documented mounting of a rear axle plus springs that are 'under 3500 kilos'.

Having space is always nice

Making such a (large) camper ready for travel is of course a more radical process, but it also has an advantage: you can determine more broadly what its layout will look like.

Also read:
- Volkswagen T2b Amescador, original Dutch VW camper
- The motor homes of Westfalia
- Austin Camper: cozy
- VW T3 by Hans Rump and an original restoration
- Peugeot J9: Convert a van

If a little more space is appreciated


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  1. nice article with good photos of mainly American campers from the distant past. I thought it was beautiful then, but now mainly 'nostalgic'.

  2. God better, an "article review." If even classic writers are already judged on 'performance', then I can only conclude that even AMK has not been able to escape 'modern management'.

      • Hi Charles. Noticed sharply. Management is the scourge of our time and is considerably more difficult to combat than the Corona fever. Fortunately, this was an assessment that is standard in the WP system. Otherwise, as an AMK freelancer, I would have been protesting with a borrowed tractor for about 100 years or I would have blocked with my Ural Ulft. AMK is still made by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. Fortunately only 🙂

  3. Once such a HY was converted for horse transport and in summer a mattress was placed in it during a holiday to France and then we went. Despite its box design a very special look, the engine power was the only downside somewhere in 1979. If only I had it ...

  4. for $ 2.650.000 (US dollars) there is a nice Liberty Coach for sale just across the border. Fortunately for me that the border is locked!
    A few years ago I drove to Yuma, to camp there for a week in a “Motorhome”. We roughed it up! drove from Yuma to Mexicali, without working “cuisine-art” We had to make the ice cubes small ourselves, terrible. The built-in generator for the washer and dryer was a 4 cylinder Subaru engine mounted in front of the gooseneck of the rear bathroom. We also visited a tree, weird one in Arizona! Then rather a Relay.
    Greetings from a warm YVR,

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