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Classic VW Campers have become hot property with values jumping a third in five years – this is how much one will cost you today

The Type 2. The Bus. The Vee Dub. The Westie. The Splittie. The Bay. The Bulli. The Kombi. 

Whatever you prefer to call it, the VW Camper is one of the most famous vehicles on the planet.

The automotive representation of the swinging sixties, it remains synonymous with a fun-loving, free-willed, hippie generation – something that has for decades earned the Type 2 iconic status and attracted a cult following.

And because of the long-running interest and throng of collectors, values for these vehicles have risen dramatically over the last half decade.

Classic VW Campers rising in value: Hagerty says values of Volkswagen Type 2 models across the generations have risen by around a third in the last 5 years - we explain why and how much one will likely cost you today Classic VW Campers rising in value: Hagerty says values of Volkswagen Type 2 models across the generations have risen by around a third in the last 5 years - we explain why and how much one will likely cost you today

Classic VW Campers rising in value: Hagerty says values of Volkswagen Type 2 models across the generations have risen by around a third in the last 5 years – we explain why and how much one will likely cost you today

And it’s a new wave of younger owners desperate to get their hands on the characterful homes-away-from-home that are driving prices higher.

Hagerty UK, the specialist classic car insurer and bible on collectible vehicle values, says the average age of owners requesting quotes for a Type 2 is one of the lowest of any ageing model on the road.

And it says it is predominantly younger families who have been snapping them up in recent years.

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Analysis of Hagerty’s quotes show that all variants of the classic Type 2 are a hit with drivers from ‘Generation X’ – those born between 1965 and 1980, so aged between 43 and 58.

In fact, more than half (52 per cent) of all quotes for the earliest split-screen VW Bus are for this demographic alone.

That compares with a 32 per cent average across all Hagerty-insured vehicles.

Overall, around 70 per cent of all quotes are from people born since 1965, one of the youngest ownership demographics of all cars Hagerty covers worldwide, it says.

Why VW Type 2 values are up almost a third since 2018

The rise in ownership among Generation X drivers is strongly linked to the impact of Covid on family holidays.

The pandemic sparked a huge rise in ‘staycationing’, with Britons investing heavily in UK holiday homes, caravans, campers and camping equipment with the expectation that overseas vacations could be off the cards for a few years.

But long after airports have re-opened and going abroad for a dose of sun – or snow, if that’s what you prefer – has returned to normal, there are still plenty who want to take extended trips in their own vehicles, especially motorhomes.

Such has been the rise in demand for characterful campers, the Type 2 was one vehicle that experienced a boom in appetite. 

And this has been reflected by a huge surge in average values.

Even the least-desirable of all 'T25' examples are subject to big rises, up from an average value of £11,768 five years ago to £15,787 today - that's a jump of 32.5% Even the least-desirable of all 'T25' examples are subject to big rises, up from an average value of £11,768 five years ago to £15,787 today - that's a jump of 32.5%

Even the least-desirable of all ‘T25’ examples are subject to big rises, up from an average value of £11,768 five years ago to £15,787 today – that’s a jump of 32.5%

How much will a classic VW Type 2 cost you today? 

Prices across the Type 2 range are up almost a third compared to five years ago, Hagerty’s data suggests. 

The average value of a first-generation split windscreen model in 2018 was £21,445. Today, it has risen by 34.3 per cent to £28,065, it says..

There’s been a similar increase for latter variants of the Camper.

Second-generation ‘Early Bay’ variants have seen a 30.8 per cent jump in value in the last five years, rising from £12,541 to £17,233.

And even the later – slightly less-desirable – ‘T25’ examples are subject to big rises, up from an average value of £11,768 five years ago to £15,787 today – that’s a jump of 32.5 per cent.

So, why does the VW camper have such an enduring legacy? 

More than half of VW Camper owners insuring with Hagerty are from 'Generation X' - those born between 1965-1980. This is the highest ownership share for Gen X across all classics More than half of VW Camper owners insuring with Hagerty are from 'Generation X' - those born between 1965-1980. This is the highest ownership share for Gen X across all classics

More than half of VW Camper owners insuring with Hagerty are from ‘Generation X’ – those born between 1965-1980. This is the highest ownership share for Gen X across all classics

John Mayhead, editor of the Hagerty Price Guide told us it is due to a combination of practicality, economics and ‘coolness’. 

He said: ‘The Type 2 is one of the very few classic vehicles that is still regularly carrying out the role for which it was designed, decades after it was built. 

‘Most campers are actually used to go camping… visit any seaside car park or countryside camping ground in the UK this summer, and the chances are you’ll see one there.

VW Type 2 values: 2018 vs 2023 

T1 split windscreen: £21,445 to £28,065 – up 34.3%

T2 bay windscreen: £12,541 to £17,233 – up 30.8%

T25: £11,768 to £15,787 – up 32.5%

Average overall 5-year rise: 32.6% 

‘They’re also a fantastic family classic, which explains why Gen X, those most likely to have pre-teen/ teenage families, feature so heavily in our ownership statistics. 

‘With the cost-of-living soaring, they remain a very affordable way to take your whole family away on holiday in the summer months, and as such tend to retain or increase their value.’

John went on: ‘But it’s surely the enduring ethos of the camper that makes them so phenomenally popular. 

‘Drive a VW bus, with its big steering wheel in front of you and its air-cooled engine puttering along behind, and you can’t help but smile. 

‘Owning a Vee Dub is like an anti-status symbol; it says you have relaxed, you’ve put the demands of the corporate world behind you, and you’re winning at life. Everyone wants that. 

‘Plus, as our demographics show, this is one of the rare vehicles where that sense of cool seems to endure through the generations and, if anything, is actually increasing. 

‘I’ll put money on the fact that in 50 years, there will still be Splitscreen busses pootling along our roads, whether powered by flat-four engines, hydrogen cells or flux capacitors. And people will still want them.’

The VW Camper: A brief history 

by John Mayhead, Editor of the Hagerty Price Guide UK 

The story of the birth of this car-of-many-faces is now part of automotive folklore. 

Dutchman Ben Pon visited the Volkswagen factory in 1946, keen to import a batch of their Type 1 (now known as the Beetle pretty much everywhere), saw a flatbed works vehicle based on the chassis and sketched an idea for a utility vehicle. 

In a post-war world desperate for rugged, cheap commercial vehicles, with a basic design could be easily adapted into a cargo truck, a minibus, an ambulance and more, the Type 2 took off.

But for many, the identity that is most associated with the Type 2 is that of the camper. 

In 1950, with the western economies starting on their long road to post-war recovery and with families demanding cheap ways to fill their leisure time, Volkswagen commissioned the Westfalia-Werke coachbuilding company to create a camper van conversion. 

The first examples were delivered in 1951 and, although the base model has changed a number of times since, are still being produced today.

For such a tiny vehicle, Westfalia managed to pack in a huge amount. 

Fold-down double beds, a hammock over the front seats, diesel-powered night heaters and sink units were all offered, but it was the famous ‘pop top’ that instantly marks out a camper from the lowly panel vans. 

This not only provided headroom when parked, but with the addition of a folding bed (that today resembles a medieval torture device) it offered another berth. 

Soon, other conversion companies put their own take on the camper van, with concertina and side-hinged roofs, gas cookers and electric hookups.

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