I found this pairing of vintage camper vans a bit odd, as it’s right on the top of College Hill, one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Eugene. But then this is Eugene, and such descriptors hardly eliminate the likelihood of something like these two.
Let’s take a look at the big Econoline first.
This is an extended body version, but without a raised roof. I find that idea more than a bit claustrophobic.
It’s ready for the open road, and a paucity of gas stations.
As well as a broken fan belt.
Actually, it’s ready for Burning Man.
And not for the first time.
Its curtains were all up, so no view of the interior. But it looks a bit cluttered in there.
Is that part of the dash panel? The back of a cigarette lighter?
And across the street is an air cooled Westy. Not in original color, obviously.
It’s mighty short compared to the Ford.
And a lot tidier inside.
The Westfalia was a paragon of compact function, with all the basic comforts of home in a very efficient package.
And with a very cheerful and very German fabric print for the fold-down bed. You’d never have seen that in an American van of that vintage. Tufted velour and shag carpeting.
That’s the back part of the bed and the wardrobe. These Westys are so hot still; folks pay crazy money for them and fix them up. A bit too compact for us.
To each their own.
“Is that part of the dash panel? The back of a cigarette lighter?”
I’m not sure if you’re asking that rhetorically, but the answers are “Yes” and “Yes”.
Not much of a VW fan, but given this choice I’ll take the Westfalia. Neither rig offers satisfying driving dynamics (for COMPLETELY different reasons), so it comes down to reasonable size and fuel economy- Winner VW.
The T3 VeeWees are so modestly powered that it is hard to detect the difference between their most common state of being broken, or moving along – well, at least till it’s time to stop, at which point one discovers the non-fitment of anything that could be legally described as brakes – but the one thing they DO do with some verve is to offer rather cool driving dynamics. Rack steering, 4-wheel independent suspension with French travel but German damping, a superb ride, and surprisingly limited body roll or understeer means that if one is not overwhelmed by the unnerving sense of driving a heavy whale from the tip of its nose, they are really quite pleasurable devices.
Put it this way: after one has spent four hours climbing the hill and burnt out engine no. 7, the coasting trip back down the curves without slowing – mostly not one’s choice – will only take half an hour, a half-hour that is not only enormously satisfying fun, but also one that makes one understand closely the meaning of the terms “terror” and “never again.”
“And across the street is an air cooled Westy.”
How can you tell this one is air cooled? They switched to water cooled engines circa 1982 IIRC. Is there some visual indication that this is an early air cooled Vanagon/Westy, or did you just run the plates and figure out the model year?
It’s lacking the radiator grille, below what looks like the grille but is just mostly fake and the fresh air intake for the cabin. Here’s a watercooled Vanagon:
Ah! Thanks for educating me.
The VW reminded me of one I saw languishing behind a repair shop in Columbia CT. It sat there for years, and it and its neighbors recently went away, perhaps victims of a cleanup.
Because of their rarity on the road around here, where vehicle-based camping is not very popular, even forlorn specimens like this one get my attention.
The Westfaila could benefit from some Rickie Tickie Stickies… applying the nomenclature I learned from last week’s Flower Power Corvair discussion.
Without them, a pink/green Westfalia just looks kind of plain…
I’d take the VW of that pair simply for the fuel economy and rough road ability, they are just big enough to survive in and even when the engine dies theres some resale value now when my 68 aircooled van died it was worth zero.
Meanwhile, in Australia, if it’s summer and something’s long and brown under a tree, you DON’T approach it.
However, we DO paint buses pink and photograph them. Or at least, we did one such, and named a good (& rather funny) film after the very bus – Priscilla, Queen of The Desert. (Three Sydney city transvestites travelling across the outback have, amongst other odd adventures, their bus vandalized by homophobes, so they paint it pink and christen it “Priscilla, queen of the desert”. Won a costume Oscar and all, it did).