1979-1990 T3 CAMPER

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Volkswagen At 80 -

WHY WE LOVE IT It gives you more wedge for your wodge Some­times re­ferred to as a T25 (a UK mar­ket­ing term ef­fec­tively for a two-and-a-half), the wedge­shaped T3 might not have the pe­riod looks of the T1 ‘Split­tie’ or T2 ‘Bay’, but it’s that bit closer to be­ing a mo­torhome when it comes to fix­tures and fit­tings. To add fur­ther con­fu­sion to the name, in the US they are known as a Vanagon, be­ing some­where be­tween a van and a sta­tion wagon.

The orig­i­nal air-cooled ver­sions in­her­ited their pre­de­ces­sors’ en­gines, but later op­tions went for wa­ter-cooled diesel and petrol en­gines. While high-end ex­am­ples are be­gin­ning to de­mand higher prices, you can still nab an en­try-level T3 camper in the £3000-£4000 bracket.


Ma­jor rust is­sues should not be ig­nored as re­pair costs can soon out­strip pur­chase cost.

VW filled the T3’s seams with a flex­i­ble sealant dur­ing pro­duc­tion. Un­for­tu­nately this be­comes brit­tle and can drop out – an in­vi­ta­tion the tin worm just can’t re­sist.

None of the en­gine op­tions are per­fect – early air-cooled units have lit­tle power to move around the heavy body­work, while later wa­ter-cooled plants have a set of prob­lems all of their own, in­clud­ing cor­roded cylin­der head bolts.


EN­GINE 1970cc/4-cyl/OHV POWER 70bhp@4200rpm TORQUE 98.6lb ft@2800rpm TOP SPEED 80mph 0-60MPH 18sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 19-23mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, four-speed man­ual/ three-speed auto

WHAT TO PAY CON­COURS £10,000, GOOD £7500, US­ABLE £3500, PROJECT £2000

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