As you can guess from the picture at the top I am going to be using a VW Campervan, it is LHD, diesel and about 24 years old. Originally I thought that I might use the family Honda Accord being very reliable and very economical however the economics would flounder once I started paying for hotels or B&Bs along the way as I couldn't see myself putting up and taking down a tent every day. I knew very little about campervans (and even less about tents) but the internet is very good, I soon found out that the classic curvy VW Camper was not only smaller and slower, it was less economical (no diesel) and cost two or three times the price of the model that came afterwards. It looked as though the best one to go for was a Westfalia conversion from the 1980s and found what appeared to be a likely candidate on eBay. I asked a few questions and given the answers I successfully bid and won it. Picking it up involved a train ride down to London then out to Bristol and the ride home was uneventful if a bit slow. It did at least give me an idea of how it would be for long distances. Small warning bells had already started sounding when I picked it up after being told that the only key was for the ignition and there were no other keys to lock it. Once home I booked it in to a local motorhome specialist to check over the camping side of the van. Soon after taking it in I had a phone call to say that they couldn't do the work as half the equipment was missing, the fridge was loose and disconnected, the mains link up wiring had been removed, the two gas hobs were disconnected, the gas tank leaked and so it went on. Another company did a thorough check noting all these faults but adding in the catalogue of problems with the van side of things. It seems I was very lucky not to have had to do an emergency stop on my drive from Bristol as there were several places along the brake pipes that would have just burst. Add in none of the tyres were legal, brake mechanisms were sticking, shock absorbers were completely shot, exhaust was the wrong one and leaked, water system leaked, wires missing and the timing belt was the floppiest I have ever seen. There was more but I will leave it at that. This is a vehicle I will not be taking to Europe.
The van I will be taking was also from eBay but this time I went to see it before bidding. Yes it is a few years old and the dull paintwork does show this however underneath it is in a very solid state and the previous owners had looked after it very well. There was a large folder of paperwork which showed they had not spared the expense and I could see it had a reconditioned engine, new exhaust, new turbo, new alternator, new starter and was serviced regularly such that at the last MOT there were no advisories. When I took it to the companies who saw the previous one they all said that this was the one I should have bought originally, excellent condition, well looked after, service history, the lot. This one is not a Westfalia, it is a Carthago but it is still a very good German conversion, LHD and diesel. For those who don't know about campervans they usually have two gas hobs, a sink with a cold water feed, a three way fridge that can run on 12V, mains electric or gas, the facility to hook up to mains electrics at home or campsites and a range of cleverly fitted cupboards. This size of van though is too small to have bathroom facilities.
Fluffy likes this one.