From dream to van

From dream to van

The idea of owning a campervan started in Australia. Some time back I planned a vacation to drive through Australia with a rented campervan. This trip started the idea of owning my own camper and the feeling of freedom that comes with it.

Of course I had a low budget and yes, of course I wanted the most expensive van. Me and my weird fascination for everything that is old an crappy had me spending hours, days and weeks on the internet. As you can imagine everybody had wise advice, and most of the advice was a slightly different version of “Mattijs stop buying old crappy stuff that will break down”. Somehow my plans are often seen as unrealistic and therefore I can get some skeptical advice.

In the end the choice was made. I was gonna get myself a Volkswagen Type 3 because of several reasons, most of all because a type 1 or 2 was simply not in my budget. The T3 is a bit more modern, has a bit more space, a common engine that is known all around the world so parts should be everywhere. And there is something about the style of the 80’s that is growing on me during the last years. Not knowing a lot about engines or mechanics, it was hard to decide on the type of engine. I chose a diesel engine because here in Holland driving a diesel campervan is the cheapest option.

Knowing which van I wanted made it all a bit different, the random dreams of owning an old timer van became more real and more serious. Visiting places that sell T3 van’s I found myself in the company of dodgy car dealers with asshole manners. They soon made my positive happy feeling about campervans crumble. Somehow I fooled myself in believing there would be a car dealer out there who would sell me a good van for a honest price.

After more internet searching I found a T3 van not far from where I live. The pictures were messy, the website was outdated,and the advertisement was online for way too long to be taken as a serious option, but there was no way I was not gonna go take a look at this van.With the last 2 car dealers in the back of my mind, I made a appointment to see the van.

When it looks too good to be true it is most likely too good to be true… right?

The car dealer was not around when I got there, but I was told the van was around back and unlocked. “You are free to check it out” the car dealer said when I called him. Not meeting the dealer while checking out the van was a huge relief after other encounters with car dealers. The T3 was better than any I had seen, the interior was sold. The van was cramped full with camper interior yet to be installed. I knew right away that this was the best option by far. I called the dealer to make an appointment for  a test drive.

Against all odds and stereotypes the cardealer was friendly, helpful and taken by the idea of me being full of plans for the van.

After a test drive with my brother and brother in law (who know what they are talking about) I bought the van for a fair price. So this time, it was almost too good to be true after all.

The time it took me to go from an idea to actually buying the van was around a year. Finally it was there, stored at the company that I work for, all mine!

As I am Dutch the information that I gathered is mostly Dutch too.
In the beginning most of my info such as buyer tips came from the Dutch T3 website
Later on I could ask all of my questions on the Dutch forum for  T3’s

Most of all when buying a van use common sense, follow your gut and just run away from dealers that come off untrustworthy.
If you keep looking and keep your positive drive you might be able to find yourself a good deal. Even more valuable you might be able to grow a good relationship with a car deal as I did.
I bought my van for €3750,- from Scheepens