I bought a VW Campervan

A 1981 VW Devon Viking Top campervan, to be exact

30w ago

A little over a year ago I closed the lid on my laptop and decided to take a break from writing on Drivetribe.

As you know, a lot can happen in a year and for me that consisted of my fiance and I deciding to try and buy our dream car... well van. You know what I mean.

As with most things I was ready to jump and buy the first one I saw within our price range, but my other half was very sceptical. She was afraid that we might sink all of our savings into something that might only get down the road a short way before breaking down in a plume of black smoke. If I'm honest, I feared the same thing.

All you ever hear from people who have bought a classic car or van are the horror stories. Terrible tales of classics hiding thousands of pounds of restoration work under that seemingly clean paintwork and I was determined to avoid a money pit like that.

After months of searching we finally found Ellen.

In January she will be 40 years old and let's be honest she doesn't look it, right?

The Devon Viking top part of her name means that she is also a bit of a rare breed. Usually the top on these would go straight up (if at all) which increases height inside the cabin and usually also opens up the sleeping area. Well, Ellen's top goes up, but to the side.

This means you have so much more room in the bedroom area above the cabin. You could technically fit 4 adults up there...although in the heat of summer I think we will be avoiding that.

With a 2L petrol engine Ellen can comfortably cruise at 50mph with no issues at all. Except when it's windy. I learned the hard way that when it is windy it is much safer to just stay where you are.

Of course with a van of this age the modern day comforts of driving are sacrificed. No heating or air con, no electric windows and absolutely no power steering. But somehow you don't really miss it. In an odd kind of way I quite like physically having turn the front wheels around a tight corner in a pool of my own sweat. It just feels natural.

Inside Ellen comes ready for a camping trip with her own cooker, fridge and leisure battery to keep the lights on. Some of you with a keen eye may even notice the DVD player, perfect for when the weather turns nasty.

But let's not forget why hippies love an old VW camper...the rockstar bed! In one swift movement the seats in the back transform into a double bed that can comfortably fit two adults, which means in total you could squeeze six people inside for a nights sleep.

Now, because of the state of the world today we haven't been able to take Ellen out for a proper trip yet. However we did manage to take her for a trip to the beach.

It was around 30 degrees Celsius. We packed up plenty of water, snacks and other essentials for the day. After around 30 minutes of driving we reached the coast where we parked up on a cliff overlooking the sea.

From there we took our dog, Francis; on a lovely walk along the beach, ate many snacks and ice creams before relaxing and watching the sun go down together.

A perfect end to our first day out of many.

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Comments (18)

  • 😀 nice van! This is (or was) Bella the T2 Viking! Unfortunately she wasn’t getting used enough and I always seemed to be spending money and time fixing her up or repairing something so I sold her 3 years ago (lot to be said for all inc✈️🤣) but we had 8 years of happy times. She’s beige now according to the MOT checker. Btw you have quite a special van it being a Viking, ours was the same as yours with one window but there’s a smaller version with two windows but if I’m right it doesn’t extend sideways over the door. Keep the interior and roof in good nick and you’ll never lose money in fact you might make some in years to come! You have to do some Vdub shows, Vanfest in Malvern is probably the best.

    Have fun! 🤟🤟

      6 months ago
    • Thanks alot Paul! Ah yours was so cool, good that you can still see she's still on the road. We are very excited to get and about in her, first trip I believe is going to be Bug Jam at the santa pod raceway which should be good fun 😀

        6 months ago
    • Enjoy James, you’ll have to get used to the “VW hand wave” thumb index and pinky extended with your two middle knuckles sticking up so it looks like “VW” 🤣🤣sad I know but fellow dubbers will be waving at you all the time 🤟🤟

        6 months ago
  • Brilliant James, figure you guys are gonna have fan-van-tastic adventures.

      6 months ago
  • vw vans currently are worth quite a bit, the older and harder to find ones are worth the most :D

      6 months ago
    • Oh absolutely, the oldest complete restorations sell for upwards of £15k!! Crazy money

        6 months ago
  • Have Fun man, looks like beautiful memories have already been made!!

      6 months ago
  • Ours in the 90’s. Had some great trips with her!

      6 months ago