The beloved Camper

One for all.

Alongside the Beetle and the Golf, no other Volkswagen has characterised the face of the marque quite like the Type 2 – also affectionately known to its fans as the ‘Camper’. Whether as a van, pickup truck, minibus or holiday home, the camper has always been deeply rooted in people’s lives in all its model versions – all around the world.

You can get an initial taster of our world of Campers here:



T1 Volkswagen van (prototype), 1949

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Year of manufacture

1949

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

25 hp / 18 kW

Engine size

1131 cc

Top speed

80 km/h

Production period

1950–1967 (first generation, series)

The development of the Transporter can be traced back to the Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon. The engineers at Volkswagen adopted the proposal he had sketched in a notebook and on 11 November 1949, the prototype on display today in the AutoMuseum was unveiled to the press. It represented the beginning of a newly created vehicle category at Volkswagen: the so-called ‘bus class’. Primarily due to the virtually unlimited range of utilisation options, it became a global success story.

T1 Volkswagen van (prototype)

T1 Samba bus (special edition Type 24), 1962

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Year of manufacture

1962

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

34 hp / 25 kW

Engine size

1192 cc

Top speed

95 km/h

Production period

1950–1967 (first generation)

The Samba bus is a legend. Windows all the way around, tasteful two-tone paintwork, the large folding fabric sunroof and a number of chrome trim elements made it an object of desire for millions of fans throughout the world. It was especially popular in the USA where affluent urban families initially used it for outings before it became a cult mobile for the Woodstock generation – with peace signs adorning it instead of the VW logo. The Samba on display here is the millionth Volkswagen Transporter.

T1 Samba-Bus (Sondermodell Typ 24) 01
T1 Samba-Bus (Sondermodell Typ 24) 02
T1 Samba-Bus (Sondermodell Typ 24) 03
T1 Samba-Bus (Sondermodell Typ 24) 04

T1 fire brigade pickup truck with turntable ladder, 1963

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Year of manufacture

1963

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

44 hp / 32 kW

Engine size

1493 cc

Top speed

105 km/h

Production period

1950–1967 (first generation)

This pickup design based on a T1 in flame red (RAL 3000) was used by the fire brigade in Wittingen from July 1963 until the 1980s. The side panels were sacrificed in order to make way for a turntable ladder (Type DL 12) made by the company Meyer from Hagen. The pickup truck’s kerb weight with ladder was 1,520 kg – making it 435 kg heavier than the basic version. The wooden, extendable ladder is fixed in position directly over the rear axle.

T1 fire brigade pickup truck with turntable ladder

T2 Westfalia Camper, 1978

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Year of manufacture

1978

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

50 hp / 37 kW

Engine size

1584 cc

Top speed

110 km/h

Production period

1972–1979 (second generation)

At the 1973 IAA, Westfalia presented the Camper with a completely redesigned pop-up roof. To this end, the leisure vehicle was given a reinforced open roof section from the B-pillar to the rear before it left the Volkswagen factory. On top of it sat the new fibreglass pop-up roof developed by Westfalia, which could be swung upwards on a hinge. The equipment fitted inside the hotel on wheels was comprehensive – it had everything from the double bed in the pop-up roof to the combined refrigerator with sink.

T2 Westfalia Camper 01

T3 Traveller Jet, 1979

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Year of manufacture

1979

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

90 hp / 66 kW

Engine size

1913 cc

Top speed

139 km/h

Production period

1979–1992 (third generation)

The Traveller Jet is a styling concept vehicle based on the T3. The luxurious one-off – with air conditioning, television reception, individual leather seats and tinted glass at the rear – provided a taster of the Caravelle unveiled three years later, which, from 1982 onwards, proved that a Volkswagen Transporter was capable of competing with conventional luxury saloons. The Traveller Jet was one of the earlier models in the third series (T3) and was therefore still equipped with an air-cooled engine.

T3 Traveller Jet 01
T3 Traveller Jet 02
T3 Traveller Jet 03
T3 Traveller Jet 04