Learn About The Iconic Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

Key Features
Air-cooled engine, split rear window, sliding door.
Upholstered seat, kitchenette with sink, gas burner and storage cupboards.
Available in different wheelbase lengths.


The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, also known as the ‘Kombi’, has been an icon of adventure and hippy culture since it first hit the market in 1950. The classic van was designed to be a comfortable and efficient way to travel with family, friends or on your own during the post-war years.

It quickly gained popularity for its practicality, affordability and roominess. Throughout the decades, it has remained a symbol of relaxation, freedom and exploration.

The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van was originally introduced in 1950 as a commercial vehicle, manufactured by the German automaker Volkswagen.

It was initially based on the company’s Type 2 model, though it was heavily modified to provide more space and comfort while still retaining its practicality.

The camper van featured a modified front cab, a flat cargo area in the back and a high roof that allowed for standing capacity. It was ideal for carrying goods but was quickly adopted by people who wanted a motorhome or a recreational vehicle for camping and road trips.

The car was also popular with surfers and beachgoers who were seeking a functional vehicle for transporting their boards and other beach equipment.

Brief History of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, also known as the Bus or Bulli, is a classic car from the 1950s and 1960s. The car was originally designed by the Dutch automobile manufacturer, Ben Pon, and first hit the streets in 1950. It instantly became a smash hit among young travellers who loved the iconic design and signature features of the car.

The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van was continuously produced and sold by Volkswagen until 1967 when it was replaced by the larger and more powerful T2 model. Despite its age, the T1 Camper Van remains popular with vintage car enthusiasts who appreciate its unique style and flexibility.

The original Volkswagen T1 Camper Van was equipped with an air-cooled engine and had seating for up to six passengers. The car was manufactured in Germany, with models being shipped throughout the world.

Its short stature, boxy shape and signature white roof made it an easy target for identification.

The T1 Camper Van has become an international icon with its modern versions still being sold around the world.

This guide will explore the history, design, and popularity of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, as well as offer advice on how to buy, restore and customize this classic car.

Development and History of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

The Volkswagen Type 2 (T1) Camper Van is a classic car that has been around since 1950. It has become a symbol of freedom and adventure, taking people all across the country or even around the globe. With its distinctive look and thoughtful engineering, the T1 Camper Van has endured for seven decades.

Designed by Ben Pon – a Dutch importer of Volkswagen vehicles – the Type 2 was originally known as the ‘Transporter’ for its ability to carry larger loads than the Beetle.

Its classic boxy design was inspired by the American-style cars of the era, particularly the split-window Chevrolet Corvair.

The first Volkswagen T1s were produced in 1950, with two engine options available – a 1.1-litre petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. In 1961, the now-iconic split windscreen was added, making it even more recognisable.

In 1965, the T1 was given a major facelift, with a larger bonnet, improved headlights and new tail lights.

The Volkswagen T1 became popular with the hippie movement, who appreciated its practicality and affordability. The van was also a hit with surfers, who needed a reliable way to get around beach towns and transport their equipment. By the 1970s, it had become an icon, beloved by both adventurers and everyday commuters.

It is estimated that over 800,000 T1s were produced before production ended in 1979. Today, there are still plenty of these iconic vans around, with some enthusiasts collecting and restoring them as a hobby.

The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van: Key Features

The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, also known as the VW Transporter or Bus, is a classic of the automotive world. Its size, amenities and unique interior and exterior designs make it truly stand out and have resulted in a cult following.

In terms of size, the T1 may seem quite small compared to modern vehicles, but it’s more spacious inside than one would think. It was produced in different wheelbase lengths ranging from 2,400 to 3,200 mm, giving it a lot of room for customization.

The original design included a number of amenities, such as the iconic split rear window screen for improved visibility, an air-cooled rear-mounted engine, and the famous sliding door.

An upholstered passenger seat and a kitchenette, with a sink, gas burner and storage cupboards, could be found inside.

The exterior design of the T1 Camper van has a distinct two-tone colouring, panelled sides and a ‘V’ type grille with the ‘VW’ logo. Moreover, the insertions in the bodywork were painted white, making the car look even more unique.

The interior design of the T1 Camper van includes eye-catching details such as the German-engineered ‘Westfalia’ furniture, bright blue upholstery and leatherette cushions. The cabin has plenty of storage space and features cupboards, drawers and benches.

This classic vehicle has a timeless style and a lot of character that makes it popular around the world. Over the years, the T1 Camper Van has become synonymous with fun, adventure and freedom.


Since it was first introduced in the 1950s, the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van has been popular for its unique style and convenience. It has been featured in several Hollywood movies over the years and has been the go-to vehicle for travellers who seek a classic yet stylish form of transportation.

Even today, the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van is still a popular choice amongst car enthusiasts, especially among those who are looking for a vintage-looking ride.

The popularity of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van can be attributed to its iconic design. The distinct shape and the overall aesthetic of the van evoke a sense of nostalgia and make it a desirable car to own.

Moreover, the car is well-loved by campers and backpackers who take advantage of its extra space and comfort to explore the great outdoors.

The popularity of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van isn’t restricted solely to Europe. It is becoming increasingly popular in the United States and other parts of the world.

In the US, the car is often used as a cultural icon, seen at many vintage car shows, events and even some music festivals. This has further contributed to its increasing popularity around the world.

Finally, the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van has a huge cult following. Over the years, fans have started dedicated fan clubs and forums dedicated to the car, where they share their experiences and stories about the car.

Fans have also developed ways to restore and customize the van for their individual tastes and styles.

Restoring and Upgrading the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

Restoring and upgrading the classic camper van is a great way to bring its original charm back while making it more suitable for modern life.

When restoring the Volkswagen T1 camper van, there are endless options available. It can be a tricky job but with the right tools and knowledge, you can bring the van back to its former glory in no time.

The most important part of any restoration job is to inspect the vehicle for rust and corrosion. Look for signs of damage to the paintwork and check if the mechanical components are functioning properly.

If the rust isn’t too severe, you can choose to sand away the affected area or use wire brushes or abrasive grinding wheels to remove the rust.

Once you’ve figured out which parts need to be restored, you can begin the process of cleaning, repairing, and replacing any damaged parts. It is important to use the correct methods and materials when doing this work.

For the paintwork, use a wax-based cleaner and a sealant to protect the surfaces from future rusting. You may also want to use a primer sealant to make sure that your paint job lasts for years to come.

When it comes to the mechanical components, you can look into rebuilding the engine, transmission, and other parts that need to be replaced.

There are many online resources and even some official Volkswagen parts suppliers that can provide you with the necessary parts and advice. With the proper tools, you can easily replace the old parts with new ones.

Upgrading the interior of the Volkswagen T1 camper van is another great way to give it an updated look. You can look into installing a new sound system, a comfortable interior, or maybe even a kitchenette.

There are plenty of ways to improve the inside of the van without compromising on its classic style.

Making the necessary repairs and upgrades can give your classic camper van a much-needed facelift and can be extremely rewarding.

With the right tools and knowledge, you can turn your classic Volkswagen T1 camper van into a modern masterpiece.

Customization for the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

Customizing the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van is a great way to make it truly yours! Whether you want to give it a modern touch or keep it classic, there are several ways to customize the interior and exterior of your van while still honouring its origins.

Interior customization can include painting walls and accents, installing new flooring, or adding upholstered furniture. You can also add any necessary appliances, such as a built-in refrigerator and stove, that will make living out of your camper a breeze.

The exterior of the van can be customized in a few different ways. You can start by giving it a fresh paint job and adding new rims. Other options include upgrading the lighting and adding a custom roof rack for extra storage and convenience.

Finally, you might consider replacing old parts with more modern equivalents, such as upgraded brakes, suspension, and engine components. If you are looking for an even more drastic update, upgrading the engine to a more powerful one is an option.

No matter what kind of customization you decide on, it’s important to remember that this classic camper van is beloved around the world and should be treated with respect. The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van is a timeless classic and customizing it can give it a whole new level of character and charm.

Buying and Ownership of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

Owning a vintage Volkswagen T1 Camper van is an exciting experience. Thanks to its cult following, there are many ways to find, buy, and customize the classic van.

The best way to purchase a Volkswagen T1 Camper is from a reputable dealer dedicated to Volkswagen models. They will have access to a variety of models at different price points, as well as the ability to answer any questions you may have about the vehicle. They will be able to provide the most accurate information on the history of the vehicle and its condition.

There are also options for finding a Volkswagen T1 Camper for sale through private owners. You can search for a used model in your area, or use online resources such as eBay to find vans for sale.

Purchasing a private vehicle requires extra care since you must inspect the car yourself or use an appraisal service. This is an important step if you want to ensure the integrity of the vehicle.

When you own a Volkswagen T1 Camper, you can enjoy its many features. Since it is a small camper, it is perfect for weekend trips around the country.

It also has plenty of amenities, including comfortable seats, a refrigerator and stove, and plenty of storage space. Although older models don’t come with air conditioning, newer versions do.

It is also important to remember that owning a Volkswagen T1 Camper costs money. You must pay for regular maintenance and repairs for the van to stay in top condition.

You may also have to pay for insurance and registration fees. Furthermore, you should consider investing in upgrades to improve the vehicle’s performance and safety.

Overall, the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van is a great vehicle for those looking for an adventure. With the right amount of research and care, you can find and own the perfect camper for your needs!


The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van is an iconic vehicle that still has a strong following today. It is renowned for its unique design, size and amenities, and can be easily customized or restored.

Finding and owning one requires research and dedication, but it is worth the effort. You can find the classic camper van in vintage shows, online, and in a few hobbyist markets. As you look to buy or restore a camper van, check out some of the fantastic resources available on the Internet to help.

You can also find out about the next series with the Volkswagen T2 Camper Van.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van

  • Q: What is the VW T1 Camper Van?
    A: The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, also known as the Type 2 and the Kombi, is a classic camper van originally created in Germany in 1950. It has been made commercially available for over seventy years and is still popular today due to its unique style and size.
  • Q: What are the key features of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van?
    A: The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van is distinctive for its small size, ample amenities, cosy interior and exterior design, and ability to be restored or customized.
  • Q: Why is the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van so popular?
    A: The Volkswagen T1 Camper Van has a massive cult following around the world thanks to its long history and recognizable style.
  • Q: How can I restore and upgrade the classic camper van?
    A: To restore and upgrade the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van, you may choose to keep it as original as possible or customize it with a few additional features to make it your own.
  • Q: How does one buy and own the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van?
    A: You can purchase a Volkswagen T1 Camper Van from a private dealer, classifieds, auction, or an online marketplace. Additionally, many rental companies offer these classic camper vans for hire.
  • Q: What information is available to help me learn more about the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van?
    A: Porschesofthepast.com provides a comprehensive guide to the history and development of the Volkswagen T1 Camper Van and the numerous websites that curate and discuss the car.
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