Celebrity fans include Jamie Oliver, The Who’s Roger Daltry and madcap comedian Milton Jones. It provides transport and trendy sleeping quarters for festival goers, surfers and freewheeling hippy types. Its styling is so iconic you can find its silhouette on everything from mugs, caps and t-shirts. It could only be one thing: The Volkswagen Campervan.
News spread fast this week that the German marque will cease production of its world famous wagon because stringent safety laws clearly state that all vehicles must have airbags and ABS braking systems. Unfortunately, VW deem it too costly and troublesome to fit them on its 63-year-old design.
Most will be under the impression that the humble Camper died out with Lambretta scooters, flared trousers and ABBA but production continued (and will continue until 2014) in Brazil, where safety laws are more, erm, relaxed than they are in Europe.
But even the deepest jungles of South America can’t evade the long, beige jacket-wearing arm of the health and safety man and sadly, the ‘Kombi’ is no more.
The news will sadden die-hard Camper fans who regularly meet at festivals across the world each year to show off their ‘pimped out’ vehicles, but this family of Camper-loving nutters will unlikely put a stop to public displays of affection.
Long-term owner Adrian Ward, 45, has more than 25 years experience restoring Campers and runs a dedicated Camper van garage in Bournemouth. He said to the BBC: “They force you to take it easy, force you to slow down, if you’re in a hurry then forget it,” he explains.
“There’s a driving position you develop – this slouch with your elbows resting on the wheel and you leant over it. All of a sudden you can take it easy and watch everyone fly past you.
“There’s a well known phrase: ‘it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’ – that’s very apt when you’re in a Camper.”
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