From the classic split screen camper to the cool little pop-top roof; the Classic VW Bus certainly does capture all the romance of endless summers, surf life, and sojourns for the body and the soul. Classic VW Buses bring so much joy. They look cool, they mean you can bed down just about anywhere, and of all the campers – they seem to hold their value. Of course, being a few decades old, renovations come on a sliding scale – from full store restorations to mechanical and comfort tinkering. Here are our top tips on what to consider when renovating your Classic VW Bus.
Weigh up the Worth
Think carefully prior to making the plunge and buying a Classic VW Bus. While they do have a ton of benefits, they aren’t for everyone. For a start, consider if the Classic VW is going to offer enough space for the style of travelling you have planned. Second, you need to think about budget considerations and the cost of upkeep. While classic vans can be cheap and easy fixes, often you want a specialist to take a look. Try and find someone who knows how to deal with these kinds of cars.
Consider the Model
When planning to buy a model for renovation, think about how classic you want your classic camper to be. The pre-67 campers are going to offer weaker engines, smaller window screens, and only 6-volt electrics. Post 67 and you still have quirks but will find these models have slightly more power in their engines, and 12-volt electrics at least. Make sure that you buy right when it comes to the scope of the project. Know your limits, know your budget, and prepare to be tested on both along the way.
Prioritize Demands Over Dreams
While we all dream of that VW van day when we can throw a couple of cushions in there and hit the road, it makes sense to prioritize your list of renovations. The most important aspect of mapping out your Classic VW Bus renovation is to get the mechanical stuff sorted first. Most notably, start by paying attention to the engine and then the bodywork before moving into the interior. The next priority should be solving any damp issues on the inside. Afterwards, you should sort the electrics so they are up to scratch when it comes to safety and modern standards.
Know Your Rust
Remember that rust is one of the most time consuming and expensive things to tackle when it comes to giving your Classic VW Bus a new lease of life. Surface rust isn’t such a big deal and you can even DIY it simply with a sanding wheel, primer and paint. Rust or even full-on rot on the chassis, around the suspension mounting points, and around seatbelt mounting points is going to be a more financially incumbent thing to sort.
Modern Upgrades of Memories
Renovating a Classic VW Bus gives you the freedom to keep things as pure as possible or to sneak in a few handy upgrades. For example, you may want to upgrade your security situation by getting central locking fitted in the van. This is especially worthwhile if doing a big overhaul. Another point of consideration may be getting a power steering upgrade too, unless you want to put those biceps to the test.
We all adore Classic VW campers thanks to their unmistakable style. When it comes to mapping out and renovating your interior – you need to think functionality first. This means considering storage opportunities, space, cooking facilities and materials. By materials we mean choosing lightweight plastics over heavy wood if you want to improve fuel efficiency. It’s also worth considering blinds over curtains for better temperature control. You may also question whether you really need a fridge, cooker and co as this adds to weight and space.
Raising the Roof
Another aspect you may get to decide when renovating your Classic VW Bus is whether you can raise the roof. Classic VWs often come with a fixed roof or a pop-up roof. Depending on how many warm bodies you are hoping to accommodate in your Classic VW Bus may make the decision for you. A pop-up roof means more sleeping space. If you decide not to put a bed up there, it can also just gift a little more (much needed) headroom and will lend a hint of better circulation when it comes to keeping your van cooler.
There is plenty to think about when piecing together the Classic VW Bus of your dreams. Before getting stuck in, we certainly suggest mapping out your budget, finding a local specialist close by, and remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day.