The VW Camper Van: Style Icon on Wheels? 

After over 30 years, the classic Volkswagen Type 2 was taken out of production in 2014.  Here, we’ll take a closer look at how this the VW Camper became the ultimate symbol for vintage nostalgia and the role it plays in the new Instagram-heavy #vanlife so many millennials are advocating. 

We can only think of a handful of cars that acquire the serious status that helps make them sought-after collectors’ items in their old age.  Many of you won’t be surprised to see Volkswagen’s original camper van in this category.  With record price tags for a pristine example of this style icon on wheels, its position within this category is definitely cemented.  

Nowadays, the classic VW camper has become a permanent fixture on both the summer surf scene and throughout the festival season.  You may be surprised to hear that this van started life as a direct descendent of the Beetle.  The adaptable body construction meant that this was a durable and economical vehicle choice that quickly gained a following wherever it went.  

Why Was the VW Camper So Successful? 

No competitors managed to duplicate the huge popularity Volkswagen enjoyed with the Type 2 Camper.  One of the main reasons for this was because the VW Camper became an icon and fixture of the hippie movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s.  Even today, if someone mentions ‘hippie van’, you will immediately picture a flower-adorned VW. 

You could say that Volkswagen simply lucked out by having a monopoly on this type of vehicle at the right time.  It’s close relationship with the hippie movement meant that the Type 2 became a rebellious image in its own right.  This is likely why it has become such a lasting image and why the Type 2 spirit is still very much alive amongst festival goers and collectors. 

Speaking of collectors, online model shops like ModelSpace have ensured that anyone can own their very own VW.  While your VW may be a little smaller than others, the authentic replica is still bound to impress. 

A Resurgence in Van Life Amongst Millennials  

Have you heard of the term ‘Vanlife’?  No…well you may be the only one.  In response to the hectic and in some cases overwhelming stresses of today’s society, there has been a huge uptake in people giving up their ‘safe’ 9-5 job to live on the open road.    

If you’re a little confused, picture that ultimate Instagram life, chock full of heavily photoshopped pictures of the classic VW Camper set against dazzling sunsets and stunning beaches. Of course, we can’t forget to add in an image or two of the yoga devotees and surf lovers for good measure.   

While people may have been travelling in campers for decades, it is now suddenly…cool.  With over 2 million posts using the #vanlife hashtag, this ‘neuvo boho’ lifestyle looks set to stay.    

With many people embracing a more minimalist lifestyle and downsizing their possessions in favour of a more experience-led lifestyle, it’s easy to see why the freedom and flexibility this lifestyle offers appeals to so many people.  Just think, the great outdoors, the open road and no landlord to worry about. 

Are you now considering that van life? Or have you already taken the plunge and are off exploring the great outdoors in your shiny VW Camper van?  Make sure to share any questions, tips, and advice below!

Leave a Reply