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Camper guide

The Split Screen Bus

The split window model, or "splittie", was the first VW camper released. These are considered works of art and a splittie in pristine condition can cost you up to £25,000. 

Campervan original Bay window campervan

Split screen buses were first produced in 1949 and continued on for the next 18 years. They were known as the Type 2. The first Type 2 was called the Bulli and came in 2 models the Kombi and Panel van.

The Microbus was introduced a year later in 1950. Splitties, Type 2, or Split Screen Volkwagen buses came in many guises; barndoor, panel van, kombi, minibus, standard, deluxe,barn door, ambulance, fire van, single cab pickup and double cab pickup and Samba.

The VW Bay Window Camper Van

In 1967 the Splittie was replaced by the Bay (still known as a Type 2). Quite different to its predecessor, many felt that it had lost some of the character of the previous model. However, many refinements were added and its top speed was increased to 80 mph. It continued being produced in 1979. It was much improved on the split screen, offering a slightly larger body so could carry larger loads, larger and more powerful engines up to a 2 litre model towards the end of production, better electrics, a more refined and comfortable ride. However for many the bay window lacks the original design and character of the Splittie.

It is really the Bay Window bus that really accelerated the use of these unique vans as a mobile home or camper van. These vans were converted byvarious firms, such as Westfalia (also known as a Westy, Danbury, Devon, Dormobile and Viking. These firms offered different interior configurations for sleeping, cooking and storage as well as differing elevating roof types. These ranged from small staight up vertical pop top roofs to front hinged, rear hinged and side hinged roofs, sleeping between 2 to 7 people.

The bay window made the VW a success and by 1975 the Hanover factory had turned out 4 Million of these vehicles. Not bad for a van that started life as a box on wheels.

VW believed in the Bus Camper with such conviction that they offered a Gold watch to any driver who managed to get their bay campers over 100,000 miles. This turned out to be a bad idea, as over 160,000 watches were given to drivers due to its continual reliability! 

The T25, T4 and T5

In 1979 production ceased and the T25 replaced it, although even now the Bay is still manufactured in South America.The T25 and subsequent T4 and T5 continued to bring the VW camper into the modern age. Whilst these later models may not (yet) have quite the iconic status of the Splittie and Bay, they remain massively successful, selling in huge numbers and still enjoying the same loyal following.

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