Driving a VW Type II

Driving a VW Type 2 isn’t all that difficult but you do need to remember that these are vintage vehicles with technology that is now over 40 years old. Unlike a modern vehicle you really do have to drive these as there is no power steering, no servo assisted brake and suspension from another era. The driving position means that you are seated over the front wheels, they call it “forward control” and it is just like driving a small lorry. They are great fun to drive and will put a massive smile on your face once you get going. We have put together a few driving tips for you in this section and don’t worry we will make sure you are comfortable with driving and all the controls when you come to pick up your Camper Van.

All our Type 2 Campers are right hand drive and come with a big steering wheel. The big steering wheel is there to give you leverage due to the absence of power steering. You don’t notice the lack of power steering too much once you are moving but it can be a bit heavy when parking or turning slowly. The main thing to remember is just take your time when parking, reversing or turning to allow for the extra weight on the steering.


Braking is not an issue, the brakes are good and will stop you. The only thing to remember is there is no servo assist which means you do need to press hard on the pedal which can seem a bit strange if you’ve been driving a modern car. Oh, and there is no anti-lock braking system so remember to let off the brake if you lock the wheels.


Speed, well lack of it is really the issue here. The air cooled engine was designed for simplicity. its capacity is 1.6 litres but it will only produce around 50 horse power which isn’t much considering the weight of the Camper especially when loaded with all your holiday luggage. You just need to be conscious when turning out of junctions, or pulling out to overtake as it will be slow to accelerate. Once at speed it will happily cruise at around 60mph but expect it to loose some speed on an incline. Remember to use the gears and try not to lug the engine as it can lead to damage. Typically with the ratios on the gear box you would use 1st gear to 10mph, 2nd gear to 20mph, 3rd gear to around 32mph and then 4th gear. Yes, there are only 4 gears.


Changing gear isn’t too bad. The clutch is light and the gear box is a standard H arrangement, although the gates are quite a distance from each other and can be difficult to find at first. To select reverse you push down on the gear stick and move it to the left and backward. Don’t panic about this though as we can always take you on a test drive if you are concerned before setting off on your adventure.


There is no electronic handbrake or auto hill start with these vans, the handbrake actually comes out of the dashboard. Its fine and is actually quite a good design as you don’t need to keep reaching down the side of the seat.


The electronics on these vans is quite sparse, the exterior mirrors are manually adjusted, the windows have winders and there is no central locking so remember to lock all the doors when you park up.


The size of the Camper isn’t much bigger than a family saloon, just remember though that it is taller so watch out for height barriers. Especially watch out for height barriers if you have luggage in the roof rack or bikes on the back, this can be messy and worst still very embarrassing.


You will be fine once you get going and will actually enjoy driving it. Other road users are generally very friendly and seem to tolerate the lack of urgency you will have driving a Type 2.


We don’t have any restrictions on milage but would recommend that when you are planning your holiday to remember that these are old vehicles, they don’t have air conditioning and they are slow. There are plenty places within 2 hours of our location which you can visit.


Most importantly, you must always remember to wave at other VW vans. Also, you need to allow time for people who will be interested and keen to talk to you about your Camper.