New Kid on the block: T3 Joker

22 05 2016

A new bus in our neighborhood! It is a VW T3 (or T25 or Vanagon) which was produced in Germany between 1979 and 1992. And it is a Joker, a campervan which was sold directly by Volkswagen, but with a camper conversion from Westfalia. The German T3 Wikipedia page lists the different T3 Westfalia campervan conversions sold by Volkswagen as the models Camping (till autumn 1983), Joker, Joker Plus, California and Atlantic. So the Joker is a predecessor of the first California, which VW builds up to now, and nowadays independent of Westfalia. There is a beautiful blog post by WildAboutScotland on the history of the California. With the extra front grill below the head light grill this bus already comes with a water-cooled engine, so it is rather from post-1982. The early T3s still came with air-cooled flat four engines taken over from the late T2/bay window buses. Wikipedia is not very informative on the different T3 Joker generations, but the Volkswagen Westfalia T3 Camper van site provides a lot of background information. Looking at the available color options at the time, this bus is ivory beige (German elfenbeinweiß, VW color code L567). The high top version here was apparently added to the model range only in the late 1980s (model Joker 3 or Joker 4, depending on the interior set up). The earlier Jokers rather came with pop-up roofs instead of hard tops. Interesting that the head lights are round and not yet rectangular. Anyway, welcome to our neighborhood, good to have more kombis around!

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The Karmann Gipsy

17 03 2015

Here is a campervan one sees relatively rarely on the road in Germany: The Karmann Gipsy, a T3/T25-based campervan conversion, built by the German car manufacturer Karmann. The Gipsy actually has its own world-wide fan club, the Karmann Coachbuilts Club, with lots of details e.g. on interior layouts and the chassis construction. And there is this brief summary on Wikipedia on the Karmann Coachbuilts. They come with more space than the normal Volkswagen microbus- or panelvan-based conversions and feature e.g. a shower and room to sleep for up to 4 people, two in the back and two more in the front, above the driver’s cabin. Learnt on the club site that only 741 of these conversions have ever been built. 214 are registered with the club as surviving, 5 as destroyed. If you own a Gipsy and are not yet in contact with this club, you would make the guys very happy by registering your vehicle! Karmann was established in 1901 in the German town Osnabrück and for more than 100 years manufactured cars for other larger car makers, such as the Beetle convertible and the beetle-based Karmann Ghia for Volkswagen or the Mercedes CLK and Chrysler Crossfire for at the time DaimlerChrysler. In 2009 the company went bankrupt and the factory in Osnabrueck was purchased by Volkswagen. VW currently manufactures the Golf VI convertible and the Porsche Caymann and Boxster on this production site (information taken from this newspaper site on the latest news on (Ex-)Karmann Osnabrueck). Greetings to Georg, proud owner of one of these unusual campervans!

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New Kid On The Block

7 03 2015

Some months ago a friendly fellow with a VW T25/T3 campervan moved into our neighborhood. Now I pass by this van once or twice per day when I walk Leon dogwonder, and enjoy the occasional chat when I bump into the owner. The batch on the back lid says Atlantic Vanagon. The exterior parts (side panels, bumpers and front spoiler) look like those of the Bluestar/Whitestar/Redstar special editions built from 1989 to 1990, the last years of the regular T3 production. In addition, the Atlantic comes with a hightop and a complete Westfalia campervan interior. The German Wikipedia entry on the VW T3 describes the Atlantic as a “further upgraded campervan conversion” that followed on the “Camping” model (1980-83), the Joker, Club Joker and California. This one is a daily driver and also on the road in winter, but in quite good shape. My knowledge about T3 campers is not great, but there is a lot of information on the Atlantic campervan conversions on the Westfalia T25 / T3 / Vanagon Buyers Guide. The Atlantic campers were converted by Westfalia in their factory in Germany. You ordered them as factory conversions from Volkswagen. Volkswagen then delivered a certain body type (“253 kombi shell”) to the Westfalia factory where the campervan interior was installed. This particular van here was also the bus that welcomed 2015 in this earlier post. Welcome to the neighborhood!

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Nutzfahrzeug (German for utility vehicle, also VW's Commercial Vehicles division)

(German for “utility vehicle” and also VW’s “Commercial Vehicles” division)





Happy New Year from Berlin!

31 12 2014

Two days ago the snow arrived in Berlin! Two days later, it’s mostly gone again. But we had two great winter days, with lots of pulling our 3-year-old on a sled around our block and through the nearest park. No winter pictures of our buses, so below is a beautifully snowed in T3/T25 Atlantic Vanagon from our neighborhood. Thanks for coming to my blog and following it over the last year. Wishing you all the best for the New Year!

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The 6th Berlin Bus Festival

29 07 2013

We have just returned from the 2013 Berlin Bus Festival. Two and a half very nice and very hot days of camping and admiring buses. And the first nights in the bus with our almost two-year-old baby daughter sleeping in the new bunk bed in the front. Which actually worked out very well. With the baby we took it all easy and did not take part in any of the different competitions. Focus was more on finding and petting dogs (her main interest, and there were many dogs) and checking out buses (my main interest). I noticed many more bus-trailer combinations this time – either with classic trailers re-sprayed to match the bus, or with the trailer made from a second copy of the same type of bus. And then there were syncros, the four wheel drive version of the T25/T3. A lot of them, and they can be quite impressive monsters. Finally, there were a lot more T2s than at the previous meetings. It is still a T3/T25 dominated event, but nice to see the T2 numbers going up. Hope you enjoy the fotos!
PS: And there are some more photos in this Flickr album.

Our bus Taiga Lily, a 1976 Later Bay microbus.

Our bus, Taiga Lily, a 1976 Late Bay microbus.

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Early splittie from 1959, used as promo van for an internet travel portal.

Early splittie from 1959, used as promo van for an internet travel portal.

Red and white T3/T25 double cabin with Audi V8 engine.

Red and white T3/T25 double cabin with Audi V8 engine.

T3 Blue Star Hanover edition, bus of my best mate Jan, ready for a two week camping trip to Northern Italy.

T3 Blue Star Hanover edition, bus of my best mate Jan, ready for a two week camping trip to Northern Italy.

Early T1 Samba bus with hearse trailer, turned into an extra bed room.

Early T1 Samba bus with hearse trailer, turned into an extra bed room.

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Late bay with Eriba Puk trailer.

Late bay with Eriba Puk trailer.

Late bay with larger Eriba trailer.

Late bay with larger Eriba trailer.

T3/T25 microbus with matching T3-derived trailer.

T3/T25 microbus with matching T3-derived trailer.

T5 bus with T5-derived trailer.

T5 bus with T5-derived trailer.

T3/T25 syncro four-wheel-drive bus from the Czech Republic.

T3/T25 syncro four-wheel-drive bus from the Czech Republic.

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The "Colorless Crossporter", a T4 Syncro bus.

The “Colorless Crossporter”, a T4 Syncro bus.

A T5 four wheel drive  campervan from Seikel 4x4 Technik, check out http://www.seikel.de/en/home/ for more background. A T5 four-wheel-drive campervan from Seikel 4×4 Technik, for more background check out http://www.seikel.de/en/home/ .[/caption]

Evening impression

Evening impression

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Awakening

2 05 2013

Out of the dark, into the sun! I used yesterday’s public holiday to wake up Taiga Lily from a six-month winter break in the garage. The good old girl started right away after I had reconnected the battery. Had a relaxed fiddling-around-with-the-kombi morning with a friend and his T3 and finally installed a children’s bunk bed I had bought a year ago. And Taiga Lily was hired on the spot for a commercial photo shoot! More soon, stay tuned!

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Porsche B32 – A Porsche VW Bus

1 09 2012

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles each year joins the Berlin VW Bus Festival with a couple of historic buses from their Hannover-based museum. This year they brought the official Porsche VW Bus: A 1985 T3/T25 Caravelle Carat equipped with a 911 boxer engine, a six cylinder air-cooled 3.2 L boxer engine with 231 H.P. It runs with a max speed of 185 km/h, features Porsche Fuchs wheels, extra air inlets on the sides in the back to cool the engine, a Carrera writing on the back lid, and Porsche emblems on the wheels and on the lower A columns. Also the rear bumper seems to have extra air inlets for cooling. The bus is called Porsche B32, seats six people and cost 100.000 Deutsch Marks at the time. It is mentioned on the German Wikipedia page for the T3 VW Bus, but not on the Porsche Wikipedia page. According to the information sheet (in German, photo below), the project originated from the need for a support vehicle when Porsche engineers were out for longer test rides (the Wikipedia page says it was built as Porsche’s support vehicle for the Paris Dakar race). Developed with what you apparently still had in the 1980ies, “free development capacities”, the efforts resulted in a mini series of about 15 buses which “combine a sporty character with elegance”. Apparently only nine of these are still alive, so this special edition has become even more special over time.