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Go Westy

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March 8, 1950 was the birthdate of one of car history’s greatest icons, the Volkswagen Type II, so today we celebrate getting back outside and into nature with a look at the VW Westfalia, the pop-top camper that burst onto the scene in 1968.

I have always been tangentially aware of the Westfalia because it sits firmly in the overlap between two things I enjoy - the VW Type II and off-road survival vehicles. The Westfalia is the perfect couples camper, or the ideal bugout van. The top is remarkably easy to crank open and closed, and the inside of the Type II platform is the perfect size and shape for a fridge, sink, cooktop, and slide-out table, and there is plenty of headroom and sleeping space.

One of the key features of the Westy is actually not really a feature at all - it’s totally analog in a digital age. Sure, you can buy a power converter and get hooked up with a laptop or small TV if you wanted, but that sort of ruins the fun. The only real downside to the Westy is the cost of maintenance and parts. Oh, and forget about driving over 65 mph. But for the real enthusiast, that’s not much of a problem since backroads and byways aren’t really speed-friendly anyway.

If you can find a VW Westfalia that isn’t rusted out, you’ve won the lottery; many of the older models built on that Type II platform were well-loved but not always well-maintained.. Still, if you’re looking for a hit of adventure and don’t mind roughing it a little, you can’t go wrong if you go Westy.

-Trey Fennell



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