Buy­ing Clas­sics Abroad

Volk­swa­gen T2

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - Theo Ford- Sagers

You won’t be the first to im­port one of VW’s ever­green Type 2s, and you prob­a­bly won’t be the last. Bri­tain’s post-Brexit pound may have threat­ened to un­der­mine this ve­hi­cle’s vi­a­bil­ity as an im­port, but Ri­cardo Bar­reto of An­other Clas­sic Camper (www. an­oth­er­clas­s­ic­cam­per.com), which spe­cialises in bring­ing Type 2 campers into the UK from across the At­lantic says: ‘Both South Amer­ica and North Amer­ica are still good hunt­ing grounds for Ger­man-made Type 2 T1s and T2s.’

A quick re­cap for the per­plexed: the T1 ‘split­ties’ are the first-gen dar­lings of the camper scene; the T2 ‘ bay win­dow’ models fol­lowed from 1967. Both were built on the RWD Type 2 plat­form.

Thanks to a USA im­port tar­iff on com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles since 1964 known as the ‘Chicken Tax’, most of the T2s that made it to the States were campers or mi­cro-buses. Pro­duc­tion in Europe and the USA ended in 1979, but Mex­ico con­tin­ued mak­ing a ver­sion of the T2 un­til 1994 and Brazil only stopped mak­ing them at the end of 2013.

‘Most of the de­cent ones are long gone,’ ad­vises Ri­cardo of the orig­i­nal Ger­man-built T2s. ‘Most of my im­ports are projects.’ Ri­cardo sources many of th­ese fully re­stored in Brazil, where restora­tion costs are lower, be­fore de­liv­er­ing them to cus­tomers in the UK with the du­ties and doc­u­men­ta­tion al­ready sorted – a process which aims to ef­fec­tively un­der­cut the cost of hav­ing a T2 re­stored here.

You’ll have left-hand drive to con­tend with when im­port­ing from the Americas, but Ri­cardo says: ‘The USA and Euro­pean buses are very sim­i­lar to each other, even in terms of build qual­ity. The dif­fer­ences are mostly cos­metic (fit­tings, bumper etc).’ Con­ver­sion to right-hand drive is roughly a £1500 job, but few peo­ple bother and Ri­cardo doesn’t rec­om­mend it, be­cause the loss of orig­i­nal­ity can have a neg­a­tive knock-on ef­fect on val­ues.

If you can brave the lan­guage bar­ri­ers there are bar­gains to be found in eastern Europe, though you’re more likely to find a panel van than a camper (ideal for con­ver­sion into an ul­tra-cool surf bus).

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