Own one of the best Early Bay RHD VW campervans in the UK... Emigration forces a very reluctant sale. I'm a retired engineer and now spend most of my time abroad. I'm not in a hurry to sell Thumper and have owned him for around 30 years, it is currently in storage at my parent's house. Please Email me for a viewing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please read all the details; I've tried to be as thorough as possible so we don't waste anybody's time... this vehicle is well worth a look before you consider any other in the price range, it is genuinely very 'useable' as a daily drive. If you work in London this historic vehicle is tax and ULEZ exempt and will therefore pay for itself within 3 years. I have spent significantly more on it (probably double) than I'm asking for it. I am currently travelling, the camper can be viewed but it is winterised, so can't be driven without arranging this.
A photographed restoration and conversion has been ongoing for several years, completed before the Pandemic and put into storage. I restored the van fully throughout and upgraded it all round as necessary or was required using original VW parts and panels. It is a Devon conversion (pop top) and comes complete with most VW camper accessories available including; a VW double bike rack for the rear door, a JK tailored awning, table & chairs, crockery, modern double din stereo with DVD player and USB, a port-a-poti with tent. I've travelled from one end of the UK to the other in it without issue... with diesel reliability and economy (read on).
I've covered approximately 10,000 miles on a reconditioned 1.9 turbo diesel engine, it now has approximately 93,000 original miles on the clock. The gearbox was overhauled with warranty in 2019 (before CoVid) and a new clutch was installed, it has done less than 500 miles since. This is a 1960's Early bay window VW that it's hard to put a price on. Similar new (imported) Type 2's are in the region of £40-50k+ and I genuinely think mine is far better; restored with all original VW parts and panels instead of newer, thinner recycled metal replicas from Brazil.
It has been used as my daily drive and driven over longer distances at weekends. I don't find it physically 'that big' to drive, (and now, after my upgrades) it runs and performs around town very similarly to the average diesel estate car. Hi-40's MPG, decent acceleration, free road tax, very affordable classic insurance (£120), MOT exempt; a full MOT was undertaken in my absence, Sept 2020... it passed without issue.
This isn't an ordinary bus, as you will find out during a test drive: I tried to iron out as many of the 1960s early bay problems that VW wasn't prepared to or couldn't. I really can't say how much time and money I've put into this project, let's just say 'a lot'. The right buyer will be relative to the sale as I'm very attached to my van after years of hard work and investment. I want to sell it to somebody who wants to use it regularly and appreciates it for what it is... a daily run around. I also want first refusal on any re-sale.
So, what makes it one of the best in the country..? If you are a VW air cooled purist you might as well stop reading now. I (we) renovated this as a project in order to use it as my daily drive; not to win competitions. The van isn't 'concourse', it is fully functional. I wanted to do what VW was unable to with the original Type 2... modernise it for todays traffic conditions. We accomplished 'some of' this and at some cost. It looks the same and drives very similarly to the original bus. However, I upgraded and changed almost everything in order to make it safer, reliable and efficient, it will/should serve you well into the future. (hopefully another 50 years... it was restored to do just that!)
Firstly, I got rid of the original 16mpg, (gutless) air-cooled engine and replaced it with an efficient, more powerful, reliable, liquid-cooled 1.9 Turbodiesel that gets up to 3 times more MPG...approx. 50MPG at 50MPH (seriously 40s+). The MPG makes it very usable and the engine easily keeps up with modern traffic, it cruises comfortably at 55-65MPH, as it should... if you want to go any faster, (it will/could) but seriously... don't buy a Type 2. The diesel conversion is well-known on VW camper forums (Peugeot 1.9TD) but this is one of a kind with the work being undertaken as a favour by race mechanics and a VOSA inspector. We undertook this as a bit of a challenge with little expense spared.
The van now has a more modern engine and an upgraded gearbox (using the original 2.0L VW gearbox). It has similar power, consumption and acceleration as a family diesel estate car. We retro-fitted 2 radiators into the VW rear air intakes in order to provide adequate liquid cooling to the engine and also give it a cab heater that actually works to clear the windscreen, unlike the original air-cooled heaters that were often ineffective. The gearbox was stripped completely and rebuilt to accommodate the difference in torque and lower rev speed from the new diesel engine. All of this work was done keeping in mind 'access' to make it easy to maintain and work on by any mechanic; a VW Type 3 style work hatch is fitted above the diesel engine with an inbuilt tool kit alongside in the re-purposed wheel well... for easy maintenance.
The brakes & hubs were upgraded from the old-style drums to the more modern (Type 2) disk brakes, no need to stamp the brake pedal through the floor. It has all the working functionality of a newer T2 but all the original features and looks of the T2 early bay window… which is (almost) exactly what I wanted. A lot of time, thought, effort and money went into this restoration. I had new chrome/stainless bumpers fitted along with all the associated chrome trim... you will struggle to find another chrome trim VW T2. This vehicle really is a one-off and catches every eye as it passes, without fail. Long term ownership has allowed me to add the extras that many other vans won't have... for example; original brass trim around the front headlights, which is rare...they shine more than the chrome when polished.
I fitted central locking on the front 2 doors for easier access, modern fobs instead of keys. The interior has been colour coded red to match the exterior and re-upholstered in burgundy and white. The Devon conversion includes the pop-top roof and comes with upgraded matching kitchenette & appliances, 12v/240v/gas fridge, sink, hob, top locker plus a rock n roll style bed and includes a 12v LED spot-lighting system. A 240v conversion kit goes with the van... I don't want to cut a hole in the rear panels to install it, (your choice). I also have an electric window conversion kit (*needs fitting*) ...
The windows are specially tinted, darker at the rear than the front (*front O/S one needs replacing*... £50 TBA). The sleeping area can't be seen from the outside; it's like sleeping in a one-way goldfish bowl giving breath taking waking views of the surrounding scenery wherever you're parked. However, there are also internal window blinds fitted if that's not your thing...you can opt for complete privacy. It comes with a VW cab-over roof rack for extra carriage space or a tent/awning (included) and a VW bicycle rack. You can also buy bunk beds to fit in the Devon pop top roof to accommodate 2 bunks for kids if needed... I don't have, but I tried to tick all the boxes...
It will run on Vegetable oil or biodiesel if needs be; it has a Bosch fuel pump fitted and I have a new oil Pre-heater kit to run on veggie oil if required. Personally I thought it too much hassle to do this, it's easier to run on normal diesel but the option is there should you wish it, I don't. None the less, you are NOT going to find a cooler, safer, cheaper to run VW Type 2 in the country... GUARANTEED. I did all my research on this so if you've got the money, want a vehicle that you can actually use and look cooler than a snowman day in day out, this is the vehicle for you... as well as a future asset that will hold it's value.
I have a vested interest in keeping this vehicle on the road and will provide you with all the support and necessary; mechanic's details, related contacts, everything that you require as well as my WhatsApp etc. However, I have to say that if you're a hobby mechanic, this car is straightforward to work on... a simple and basic diesel in a standard VW configuration. A complete engine change in less than 4 hours is not a problem; very little difference to the original air cooled VW.... a couple of electric plugs and a few bolts.
Unfortunately, you can’t take the 1960s out of the original design and engineering. With well over £40,000 drip spent on this vehicle, it still drives like a 60's bus even with (literally) everything new, replaced or upgraded, I could easily spend more on it. If you know anything about VW's you will find they become a friend/enemy as well as a hobby. You will never stop spending on it whichever one you buy... so, be warned, it's a relationship you're getting into. I can easily see this vehicle lasting ANOTHER 50 years, it has had everything possible done to ensure so; original replacement panels, wax-oiled & undersealed fully, it is a unique, usable investment.
I really would not sell it if I wasn't leaving the UK to live in Mexico where I have a newer T2 pickup... it isn't as good. These are the reasons why I think my VW T2 is way better than most, if not all of the others that are currently available; but of course, I'm biased... all VW owners are! I will take £25,000 as it stands... don't consider offering less and appreciate that I have spent close to double this amount renovating it. There are many more pictures available if required, here is a link to some of them: