The Volkswagen Camper always was a huge sales hit – and it still is
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are now celebrating “60 years of Volkswagen Campers“ in Verona
Verona, 3 July 2011. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles are now celebrating the 60th birthday of the Volkswagen Camper at the Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista in the Italian city of Verona – with 13 historical Bullis and Campers, racing legend Jacky Ickx, actress Ingrid Steeger, singer Bata Illic and his wife Olga. Travelling in the convoy was a group of specialist journalists in Volkswagens of different years of manufacture, covering 600 kilometres from Aschau in the Chiemgau region, over the Grossglockner pass to Lake Garda, and on to Verona, so as to recapture that sense of vitality and joy of living experienced by the first wave of Germans to take to the road in the early ‘fifties. And waiting to greet them in Verona were some well-known figures from those days.
“Anyone who is on the road nowadays in a Volkswagen California will have a really comfortable journey with a wooden lattice support in the bed, a kitchenette, the big extendible roof, climate control, and navigation system“, says Michael Grosche, Manager of International Press, Product, and Sales Control at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “Back in the early ‘fifties things weren’t quite so comfortable, but it was at that time the idea came about of creating the ‘home on wheels’. “
And so, from the first camping installation arrangement, known as the Camping Box, produced by the company of Westfalia, developed the “Volkswagen Campingwagen”, a creation that was hugely popular not just in Germany but also became a mega-hit in the USA, and later, in the sixties, the cult-mobile of the hippie movement.
“The first time I saw a T1 I was a small boy and I was in Wolfsburg together with my father, who was at the plant to do research for a story”, recalls Jacky Ickx„ “and it was love at first sight. “
And Ingrid Steeger too has fond memories of holiday trips in a Volkswagen Camper, which she and her sister drove to Norway years before the start of the hit comedy show “Klimbim“: “In those days there were four of us sleeping in a camper, and it was perfectly comfortable”, the German star actress remembers.
Hit singer Bata Illic ( “Mikaela“) still remembers the day he was driving across a mountain pass, and had to ask his wife to get out and walk behind the Camper, because it seemed that it would not to be able make it up the steep gradient otherwise.
And today, 60 years after its creation, the Volkswagen California – as the modern version of the Camper is known – is still just as popular as it ever was. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles sell an average of 4,000 vehicles each year, and by the end of this year the company reckons it will have achieved a record figure of more than 6,000 Californias sold, meaning that sales will have more than doubled in the past ten years.