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Sixty Years of the VW Camper

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July 30, 2007

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July 30, 2007 It was precisely 60 years ago this week that Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon discovered a vehicle at the Wolfsburg factory, which Volkswagen staff had built for their own use to transport heavy panels around the site. It was this vehicle that provided the catalyst soon afterwards for the first sketch and concept of the "Bulli" (affectionate term for the Volkswagen Camper - the "Kombi" in Australia!), later to become the driving force of the economy, vehicle of choice for the flower power generation, holiday camper and people carrier. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has used the unparalleled history of this vehicle as an opportunity to organise an international VW Camper event from 5th to 7th October at the Exhibition Centre in Hanover.

Hundreds of unusual, historical VW Campers are expected to make the journey to the three-day event in Hanover. Seven years after EXPO 2000, Hermesplatz, the front of Hall 27 at the exhibition centre will once again have the feel of an international exhibition, with guests arriving from a number of countries around the world as well as a show, entertainment programme and open air film screenings.

"Scarcely any other vehicle evokes as many emotions as the VW Bulli. Back then it stood for new departures, economic success, independence as well as fun and travel. It is pleasant, reliable and a real cult vehicle. We want to establish the unrivalled legacy of our brand with the international VW Camper event and hope to revive the Bulli brand in the future" explains Stephan Schaller, spokesman for Brand Management, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

At the event, Camper drivers will be able to display their vehicles on some 108,000 m2 of park area. Wandering through the rows of vehicles, visitors will be able to take a look at the lovingly restored, historic models such as the T1, T2, T3 and T4 as well as the latest products and talk to their current owners if they wish.

In another 18,000 m2 area on Hermesplatz an exhibition is planned where guests will be able to take a trip 60 years back in time with the VW Camper and see which model was on the road in which decade. Families with VW Campers will be able to camp in specially designated areas.

The action starts on Friday, 5th October when a convoy of historic Bullis will begin their journey from the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles plant to the exhibition centre. In the evenings open air cinema nights are planned featuring films where the VW Camper has played a starring role. "Little Miss Sunshine", a heart warming American family road trip movie will be the main feature.

On Sunday, 6th October there will be prizes awarded during the day for historical models in "Oldest T1, T2, T3", "Most attractive T1 to T5", "Most original T1, T2, T3", "Furthest journey" and "Pimp my Bulli" categories. Guests will have the opportunity to see the most attractive and unusual VW Campers in the world and learn from their owners why they love this vehicle so much.

One of the highlights of the international VW Camper meet will be the show on Sunday evening. Since the VW Camper is inextricably linked to music from the era and given that today, as in the past, well-known stars use them when on tour, music will form an important part of the event.

To round off the experience test drives using the latest products from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are planned at the neighbouring ADAC (German Automobile Club) site with a shuttle service to take participants there.

In order to prepare for the international VW Camper event, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has set up an advisory body made up of Bulli specialists, including founders of the largest Bulli club in Germany.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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1 Comment

I have been waiting for the next generation of the VW Bus. I bought a new 1999 Eurovan Camper then when I learned VW of America was leaving the van industry in 2003, I sold my 1999 and bought a 2003 Eurovan Camper. The Microbus concept brought great hope, then it got cancelled and they brought the dreadful Dodge Caravan with a VW badge van to showroom floors.

I am looking forward to the 2014 Microbus. I will be first in line to buy the new Microbus the day it hits the showroom floors. I hope they offer either a diesel or a hybrid option and of course a camper but that always comes a couple years later.

Dupree Mark
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