VW comes to the end - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-06-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
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VW comes to the end

It carried hippies through the 1960s, hauled surfers in search of waves and serves as a workhorse across the developing world, but the long journey of the Volkswagen (VW) Camper van is coming to an end.

The company is to cease production in Brazil - the last place in the world still producing the iconic "bus" as it is known - at the end of the year.


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Old 12-06-2013, 09:24 PM   #2
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Rest In Pieces

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Old 12-07-2013, 01:57 AM   #3
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In the nineties VW had a plant just south of Cancun in Mexico. They made these vans at that plant but put a Rabbit engine in them, running water coolant lines along the outside to a front exterior mounted radiator. It was a bit of a Rube Goldberg creation, but...factory installed water cooled engine! These vans actually had enough power to get out of their own way, in contrast to the standard air-cooled models. Local tour operators loved them.

They also made the original VW Bugs there, well past their production elsewhere. No heater installed, as one didn't need it in that climate. I used to rent these brand new Bugs at the AVIS dealers at the airport.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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Our first vehicle was a 1978 microbus. Some minimal camper conversion, but no pop-up roof. Got rid of it when it wasn't practical (gas heater died, and we just couldn't drive it in the Ontario winter with the windows frosting up, and no place to park it if we weren't driving it).

But, however many years later, it's the one vehicle I really regret getting rid of. Practicality be damned, it was a fun vehicle.
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Old 12-07-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Last I saw, the VW van offering in the US (the Routan) is a rebadged Chrysler Minivan... maybe more comfy, but not as cool as even the old 5CYL. Vanagon, let alone the old microbus.
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #6
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After having a Vanagon Syncro in our family for quite a few years, I personally can't stand any version of a VW bus. Piles of crap if you ask me. Still, I know they have their admirers and a cult following. Glenn Morrissette's excellent blog, To Simplify, was a great inspiration to me when I was deciding whether or not to get into the RV scene. I chose a different path than he did, opting for a fiberglass travel trailer, but many of his blog posts are useful and entertaining to any RVer. His most recent creation is the conversion of a 1988 Vanagon with a Ford Zetec engine. I suppose if I had to own one of these beasts, that's the way I would go. But I think I'll stick with a Bigfoot and a tow vehicle for now. Here's an overview of his Vanagon...

To Simplify... The Van
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dbailey View Post
But, however many years later, it's the one vehicle I really regret getting rid of. Practicality be damned, it was a fun vehicle.
I had the dubious pleasure of owning a 1981 VW Westfalia camper bus for 4 years in the late 1980s. I had a love-hate relationship with that camper. It was the most infuriatingly unreliable vehicle I've ever owned. But, it was also the FUNNEST vehicle I've ever owned. I was a serious wilderness camper in those days, so all I had to do after work on Fridays was throw some food in the fridge & take off for 2 days. I'd let "Van"essa take me wherever she wanted to go. I had some incredible adventures with that bus, but when we returned home one time too many on the back of a tow truck (OK, make that 20 times too many), I reluctantly sold her. I hear you, Doug; they grab hold of your good senses & cast them aside!
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Roy in TO View Post
Rest In Pieces
LOL! You must've owned one, right?
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:44 AM   #9
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I like the van approach but the VW van won't be missed by me. If they had ever done it right in the first place they might have been a better option. TDI SYNCRO or maybe a 1.8 turbo Syncro would have gotten my interest but that's about it. I get a lot of bang for the buck out of my AWD Astro van/mini camper. When solo I much prefer the van to the Casita.

2002 Casita 17' Bunk Model Delux (replaced 28' 5th wheel)
2003 Dodge/Cummins quad cab (daily driver/tow vehicle of choice)
2005 AWD Astro Van/camper (my solo camper)
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