How Much Is A VW Camper Van?

Why are so many people people drawn to want a VW Camper Van over the numerous other models of Camper Van available to them?

After all, VW Camper Vans do come at a premium cost due to their desirability amongst the Camping and Outdoors Community.

VW Camper Vans are indeed iconic, you see them everywhere in the media, magazines, movies and obviously out on the open road due to their large numbers.

In the next few minutes we’ll discover why the original humble VW Panel Van became the fashionable icon that it is, and if that adulation is justified or if it is just the result of clever marketing.

What Types Of VW Camper Van Are There?

Volkswagen normally referred to as VW is a German company famed for it’s well known VW Beetle, known in the VW Group of Companies as the Type 1.

When VW introduced the first of it’s prototype van range in 1949, the original vans with their rounded, almost boat like lines became known as VW Type 2’s, a name that has stuck to this day.

Just to confuse matters a little the Type 1 VW is called The VW Beetle and is a car, whereas Type 2 VWs are Vans and are classified as T1s – T6s, depending on which of the major design updates and manufacturing runs they were produced under. There is also now the new All Electric VW Van called the ID Buzz which is causing quite a stir in the media.

Due to their size, affordability and of course the period in history when they were introduced, VW Vans were adopted by many of those involved the Hippie Movement.

VW Panel Vans were soon being converted into Camper Vans on an almost industrial scale by hip, peace loving individuals. These homes on wheels would allow them to pursue the free roaming lifestyle that they were searching for during a time of civil upheaval.

The First Volkswagen Panel Van, The VW Type 2 aka The VW T1

The first prototypes were introduced as I said in 1949, but it wasn’t until 1950 that we saw the first production models roll off the assembly line.

The original Type 2s, known as the T1, were produced in several configurations, from Panel Van, to Kombi (with removable middle seats), to Microbus, Ambulance and as a Pickup, they are unmistakable with their split windscreen at the front and large bonnet badge.

The VW T1 had a 1.1 Litre, 24BHP, Air Cooled rear engine which gave the vehicle additional traction advantages, with the driver sat in a cab over the front wheels which was also a novel concept at the time.

In the later years of T1 production, in the late 1950s a 40 BHP was fitted, but this engine was only used for around a year then discontinued. 1959 models with their original 40 BHP Engine are incredibly rare as very few spare parts were ever made available.

Split Screen VW T1s were produced from 1950 – 1968 until they were heavily modified and lost their distinctive Split Windscreen among numerous other features.

The retrospective naming of VW Vans (T1-T6) wasn’t really brought in until the 1990s, before that they were just considered different versions of the same model.

I can understand the desirability of a VW T1 Split Screen Camper Van as some of the Camper Van conversions such as the one below are simply stunning and could be described as “Works of Art”.

You know when a vehicle design has been idolised when it is made into a Lego Kit.

In 2011, a special edition Camper Van Lego set complete with a split front screen, surf-style decor, and rock & roll bed was released by those wonders over at Lego.

The VW T2

In late 1967, just before the end of T1 production, VW introduced a Second Generation Panel Van, what is now known as the VW T2. This is the style of VW Van that I and most other people of a similar age group to me will be familiar with.

The Split Windscreen was gone, replaced by a more familiar single, curved windscreen. The VW T2 was longer and heavier than it’s predecessor, and more importantly from the performance point of view, it had a far more powerful 1.6 Litre, 47 BHP Engine.

During the production life of the T2 it underwent many styling and performance changes to include features such as the addition of more powerful engines as well as automatic transmissions.

The VW T2 was also made available in a quite staggering number of variants, such as: Pick Ups, Ambulances, Taxis, Ice Cream Vans and many more.

The VW T2 Panel Van was the model most suited to be converted into a Camper Van. At first, almost all conversions were DIY Projects, but it wasn’t long until professional Coachbuilders joined the party. This is the point where the creative and innovative space saving ideas that we see today began to appear.

From the late 1960’s Camper Vans as real and usable homes on wheels (Mobile Homes) had arrived.

At A VW Camper Van Festival in 2015 in the UK called Busfest, a group of VW enthusiasts managed to squeeze 50 people into a VW T2 at the same time to set a new record, impressive.

The VW T3

As I like to say to my daughter when she is running late “Time and Tide wait for no man”. Inevitably, the VW T2 was eventually replaced by the introduction of the VW T3.

The VW T3, aka The Westfalia, and the VW T25 in the UK and the Vanagon in the US was introduced in 1979.

You may be surprised to hear that even though the VW T3 was introduced in 1979, the last VW T2 actually rolled off a production line in Mexico in 2013!

In the VW T3, the rear mounted, air cooled engine design was kept, although it was to be the last of the VW Vans to be made with a rear engine configuration.

The VW T3 came with a larger selection of engine choices than the VW T2, so there was the option to opt for more power if you required it.

The later VW T3 Models were fitted with a Water Cooled Engine in place of the Air Cooled Engines that had been fitted to all previous VW Vans, which was a bold move for VW at the time. Although even this engine was still rear mounted.

The VW T3 was once again a Heavier and Longer vehicle than it’s predecessor, as we can see, there is a noticeable design pattern forming here.

I have heard many stories about the VW T3 being cursed by bodywork rust problems, and to be fair I have seen many rusty variants with my own eyes on the roads here in the UK. However, I have been unable to find any evidence that VW used inferior metal materials in the manufacture of the VW T3 as compared to it’s predecessors.

This Scooby Doo inspired VW T3 Camper Van was simply too good not to share. I love it.

The VW T4

The VW T4 was introduced in 1990, although production of the VW T3 and VW T4 overlapped for several years.

In another bold design move, the VW T4 moved away from the traditional rear mounted engine placement. It was designed with a Front Mounted, Water Cooled, far more Powerful Engine.

The front engine placement gave the VW T4 better a driving experience than the earlier models of VW Panel Vans.

The VW T4 also came in a choice of Long or Short Wheelbase Models, which allowed it to have a far larger cargo space, which was even more suitable for conversion to a Motorhome or Camper Van.

The VW T5

The VW T5 was introduced in 2003. The VW literature at the time described it as an evolution.

The VW T5 design had a more roomy cab space, a longer wheelbase, more height, front wheel drive or all wheel drive options, and multiple Petrol and Diesel Engine size and performance options were available. It was also available in over a hundred different variants making it an incredibly versatile van.

The VW T5 was also produced as a VW Factory Made Camper Van for the first time, called the VW California.

The VW T6

The VW T6 was introduced in 2015 and is still in production and very popular today. The VW T6 offered 2 different wheelbase options and 3 different roof heights as well as multiple engine performance upgrades and additional safety features over the VW T5 models.

VW T6’s were also made available as Factory Built Camper Vans as VW’s T6 California and T6 Caravelle models.

The VW ID Buzz

An All Electric VW Van was almost inevitable, and it is finally here. The cutely named VW ID Buzz (sounds like Bus), is the latest offering from VW and it looks incredible.

As the idea of having a Camper Van is to be out on the open road and able to roam, the question on everyone’s lips is “How far can it go on a single charge“? VW being ultra-cautious after their Diesel Emissions scandal, have yet to release figures for this.

However, I have been able to find figures for vehicles with a similar spec and battery setup, and after a few simple calculations it should put the rage of the VW ID Buzz in the region of 270 miles on a single charge.

Electric vehicles with similar setups can charge in the 30-40 minute range, so it looks like the VW ID Buzz could indeed be a viable option as a dedicated Electric Camper Van, which would be super cool.

What Is The Most Popular VW Camper Van?

I would have to say that after carrying out this extensive and enjoyable research that the most popular VW Camper Van currently is the VW T5. However, by far the most sought after model is the Split Screen VW T1.

How Much Is A VW Camper Van - VW T6 California

The VW T5 is probably the most popular VW Camper Van as it contains so many features as a Mobile Home and it also has the reliability of a modern VW Vehicle.

The fact that you can purchase a VW Factory Made variant of the VW T5 Camper Van is probably the most appealing feature, however, there are also multiple extremely well made, coachbuilt versions of the VW T5 available, plus more affordable DIY Conversions.

The VW T5’s size, handling, comfort and power make it an ideal Camper Van that is also small enough that it can still be used as a family vehicle too.

Gone are the days of sitting by the side of the road waiting for recovery to turn up in an overheated, rear engine, air cooled, low powered T1-T3 model.

The VW T5 diesel engines in particular are powerful and more importantly, reliable and they will simply go on for ever. There are numerous examples of pristine looking VW T5 Camper Vans for sale with 200,000 miles on the clock.

If you were to buy one, you could feel fairly confident that a high mileage, VW Camper would go on for many, many more miles without failing on you.

VW have a worldwide, first class repair, service and after care network that would make sure you could keep your VW Camper Van on the road and performing well.

How Much Is A New VW Camper Van?

There are only two VW Camper Vans in production from VW at the moment. The VW T6 Camper Van and of course the All Electric VW ID Buzz, which I believe won’t be available for general sale until late 2023 or early 2024, so we’ll talk about the VW T6 cost.

A new VW T6 Camper Van direct from VW, the manufacturer, is going to set you back somewhere in the region of £60,000-£79,000 ($75,000-$100,000) depending on how many features you require. The all new VW California 6.1 is shown below comes in at £72,000.

I understand that this is a pretty astronomical figure for a relatively small Camper Van, but to due their popularity and reliability that is the cost you are going to have to pay if you want a new one from the manufacturer.

You could of course buy a brand new VW T6 Panel Van and have it converted by one of the bespoke coachbuilders and it would cost you a lot less.

You can pick up a brand new VW T6 from a VW Dealership for around £27,000 and a good professional coachbuilder could make it into your dream Mobile Home for £5000-£15,000, again depending on how many features you need.

This is the preferred method of many people who buy a new VW T6 Camper van. The main drawback obviously being the long wait for the conversion to be done, as good coachbuilders have very long waiting lists.

This beautifully converted VW T6 Long Wheelbase Camper Van Conversion was carried out by “8 Ball Camper Conversions” in Hull, East Yorkshire and comes in at just over £12,000 for the conversion, you can see more details of the build and costs by clicking here…

How Much Is A Used VW Camper Van?

Buying a used VW Camper Van is not as affordable as you might think, as VW Camper Vans hold their second hand price really well. Also, some of the rarer and more collectible models, such as well restored Split Screen T1’s will cost you as much as a brand new VW T6 if not more. This beautiful VW T1 is currently for sale at £39,000 ($49,000).

However, if we are talking about buying a functional, second hand VW Camper Van that is to be used for camping, and not displayed as a collectors piece, then we are probably going to pick something up more reasonably.

As there are so many different types of Second Hand VW Camper Van, from T1-T6, I will try to give representative UK Second Hand prices for each model.

Second Hand UK VW Camper Van Prices

  • VW T1 – £40,000+
  • VW T2 – £7,000+
  • VW T3 – £5,000+
  • VW T4 – £5,000+
  • VW T5 – £10,000+
  • VW T6 – £25,000+

There are obviously ballpark figures for VW Camper Vans that I have searched for during my research. You can expect to pay more or less than these, depending on the mileage, condition, build quality and features of each vehicle.

A higher mileage VW T5 such as the one below can be picked up for around £15,000 in the UK.

Is It Worth Buying A VW Camper Van?

In my opinion, Yes, it is worth buying a VW Camper Van, and especially a VW T5 or VW T6 Camper Van.

The VW T5’s and VW T6’s are still small enough to be used in most places that a car can be used, although the height restrictions on some Car Parks need to be considered, especially if you have a pop top that is slightly raised due to it’s design. But a long wheel based VW is certainly large enough to be used as a dedicated Camper Van.

How Much Is A VW Camper Van? – Summary

We’ve now discussed all the currently available variants of VW Camper Vans that are on the market today, both Classic and New, whether they were made by the manufacturer, in professionally Coach Built variants or from DIY Projects, and of course how much you should roughly be paying for them.

I think that sums up the VW Camper Van Market pretty well, but if there is anything you think I might have missed or should go into in more detail, please drop me a message on the Contact page and I’ll consider adding it if I think it will add value.