Our VW California Westfalia campervan was purchased and imported from Germany from new in 2001. It replaced a T3 high top VW water-cooled campervan we owned in the late 90’s.
She is a 2.5l 5-cyl 150hp manual diesel VW T4 transported based campervan built at the Volkswagen factory and a precursor to the California’s you can see on the roads of Britain today. This particular model is the California “Event”, so called as it marks the 50th anniversary of the first VW campervan. A little plaque marks its heritage on the dashboard.
This one is a keeper. I see little reason to change, other than on a day when such diesels are removed from our roads due to changing legislation. At the time of purchase, she was seen as the most economical and environmental clean option available. After 160,000km she runs well and has withstood abuse over the last 17 years. We have probable spent 500+ nights sleeping at sites around Europe and Britain.
This build was discontinued in 2002, when VW sold Westfalia to Mercedes. This is why the California T5 and T6’s are such different configurations, as they use the new VW design. All the California’s were/are built at the VW factory. I prefer the fixable, repairable Westfalia build of the T4, but there is no doubt the later models are fine vehicles too.
I have acquired a good working knowledge of this vehicle now and would be happy to help owners of similar vehicles with any problems, with advice and guidance. I am not sure how many people will take me up on this offer as I have only seen 2 other California Westfalia T4s in Britain, although they are quite common in Europe.
Anyway, the van is a means to and end and should be used as much as possible. For inspirations try some of our favourite destinations: