Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A breed apart: the VW camper

My grandparents loved their VW camper. I should say campers, as they had more than one over the years, but they were always the same color: orange. It was more practical that way, as my grandmother could transfer her homemade curtains and cushions directly to the new vehicle. I have many happy memories of the camper, with its fold-down table, pop-up top and the little cabinets tucked away in every nook and cranny. Apparently, I am not alone. Like every vehicle with character and style (bad or good is in the eye of the beholder), VW campers have a devoted fan club. The handbook of this fan club has to be Traveling with the VW Bus & Camper, by David and Cee Eccles. Filled with reminiscences, photos, old advertisements, and custom makeovers, this book is a tribute to the ultimate hippy-mobile. The camper has actually gone through five transformations since it was first introduced in 1950, but true aficionados don't consider the last three versions (post-1979) to be 'true' campers. The distinctive look (and sound) of a VW bus is a large part of its appeal, and the newer Vanagons just don't have that. This is a wonderful summary of a truly unique vehicle, and highly recommended for anyone from the Woodstock generation.

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