Beginning with the original iconic Volkswagen Type 2, known affectionately in the U.S. as the Microbus, VW camper vans have been popular recreational vehicles. With conversion subcontracted to a company called Westfalia, VW campers in various generations of the automaker’s people-mover were sold in the U.S. from the early 1950’s up to 2003, and remain coveted by outdoor enthusiasts and collectors alike. First-generation 23-window Microbus models reportedly command six-figure prices in mint condition.
VW’s camper vans are more compact and far more nimble than full-size conversion vans and even the smallest motorhomes. Unlike foldaway campers that must be towed to a campsite and stored when not in use, a VW Camper Van could be parked anywhere and double as a daily driver. Typical features included a folding table, various seating arrangements for sleeping, water storage/pump, a cold box, electrical hookup, storage cabinetry, and curtains or blinds on the side windows. Some came with attached pop-up canvas tops to create added headroom while parked, along with fold out awnings or side tents.
In fact, the automaker’s commercial-vehicle division still sells a camper van, based on the current-generation Transporter, but it’s not offered in the U.S. However, Volkswagen is planning on introducing a modern-day full-electric homage to the original Microbus for the 2021 model year to be called the I.D.Buzz, and we’d bet a Camper Van conversion will eventually surface.To help commemorate vacation season we’ve compiled the above slideshow that highlights some of the best – not to mention quirkiest – VW Camper Vans we’ve come across.