I have owned a 92 Vanagon for about 10 years. Before that I was driving a 77 and grew up with a 76 (spent two months when I was 14 travailing the country with my parents, and two brothers, and a dog).
My Vanagon has never broken down during a trip, but it spends most of its time broken down between trips. Had to cancel a number of trips as I just could not get it going in time. As such the wife is not a fan of the van.
There is a lot to love about them and a lot of bad things as well.
If you think a 16' scamp
has no room, try removing the TV space and then taking space out of the 16' to fit an engine and steering wheel, nvm 4 wheels instead of two. Oh and don't forget to cut a full foot off of it as well. Very small fridge
, so small you might as well not count it (that is assuming you can get it to work). Very small fresh water tank and no grey tank (just dumps on the ground, so illegal in many places).
No AC while driving, well no AC at all. My summers are 95-100, and it gets really old traveling 55-65 with the windows
down and still being drenched in sweat. Nothing will drain you more on a drive than air noise. Heat that kind of works, and the only camping heat is from cooking.
A transmission system that means there is a rod under the van that can freeze and keep you from changing gears (yes this happened, had to pull into a car wash and use the hot water to free up the shiftier).
Making the bed means unpacking the van (the major storage space is on the bed). If you want to leave camp you have to break camp and get the van ready for travel.
Limited range, 13gal tank and 18-20 mpg means 220 miles between fill ups. I normally see roads that have 100-150 miles between fill ups.
There are some great things as well. They are just fun to drive. Mine has 10" of clearance, so I have no problem taking it up some bad dirt roads. Can pull over anywhere and sleep, no need for a larger parking spot. Not bad MPG for a camping rig. Can sleep 4 no problem (well assuming people are agile enough to climb on top of the cabinets to get to the top bunks).
I still can't get myself to give up the van.