Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Perfect Time to Buy a Pop Top Camper

Written by: Nick Hantge

Spring time is right around the corner and we have already been tempted with some 70 degree days. Soon the campgrounds will start to open and the nights won't cool off as much. The weekend traffic to the mountains will begin to slow down leaving pleanty of room on the highways for a VW camper. There could not be a better time to buy a Pop Top Camper!

If you are looking to buy a eurovan, vanagon or westfalia camper you can steal one this time of year especially with the state of the economy. I've talked to the owner for JDB Imports the biggest supplier of pop top campers in Colorado and he said sales are slightly down from the year average and now is certainly a great time to buy. "If you purchase a eurovan this time of year you will get the most use of it (about 7 months) and dealers or owners or pop tops might be willing to cut you a deal" says Mr Biglow. He also said that buyers usually wait too long to start looking for vw campers because once the weather gets nice sellers are less likely to sell at a discount because the demand is high.

Besides the economy, weather, and optimal use it is a great time to buy a vw camper because its ability to be used as a camper and a vehicle. Maybe your child is turn 16 or your family is just in the market for adding a vehicle. Have you been thinking how great it would be to be able to go camping with the family as well? A eurovan, vanagon or westfalia is great for individuals in situations like this. VW Campers are great for tooling around town for groceries or erands and always bring excitement to the weekend.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

California Dreaming

Written by: John Barlow

As I sit here in my dingy subterranean office (well almost, there's certainly no window to speak of!) I couldn't prevent my mind from wandering. Initially my thoughts turned towards the weather which has been frankly awful for a number of summers now. I can remember a time when me and my little collection of pals would pack a few items (mainly beer and instant noodles!) and head off on a Friday after work for a spot of camping.

The summers seemed never ending with sunburn for everyone, due to lack of protection, which nearly led to another story but I won't go there! Copious amounts of warm cider (West Country Lads) were consumed. This usually resulted in some pretty degenerate behaviour and got us thrown out of numerous campsites! A record I'm not proud of as you can imagine.

I recently tried to recapture these halcyon days with my wife but women just don't seem to enjoy the same experiences. You know freezing to death at night, unbearably hot by 6am the next morning. Warm lager for breakfast, uneasy silence for the entire 3 hour journey home, that sort of thing! It started me thinking that there must be a more desirable outdoor experience that doesn't start with attempting to erect a hideously complicated tent and ends in divorce proceedings. I suddenly had a moment of clarity and remembered the legend of the Volkswagen Camper!

Of course, I should have thought of it before especially as I only had to recall my teenage years when after enduring soggy tents and cold showers my parents finally decided to invest in a VW Camper. I remember it was a 1974 type 2 1.6L , a Devon conversion I think although no doubt some VW fanatic will correct me on this statement. What I do know is that my Stepdad bought it from a lorry driver and the next day several generations of my family embarked on a journey of discovery that ended about ten miles away when a few valves in the engine decided that they had had enough of life.

Luckily my Stepfather was quite mechanically minded and we were able to fit a reconditioned engine. Regrettably our problems did not end here and over a number of years a pattern emerged of family holidays starting out all smiles and I-spy games, only to end prematurely on the back of an AA recovery truck. I seem to recall we were on first name terms with some of the AA patrol men.

I remember one year in particular I was somehow deemed to be responsible enough to be left at home whilst my parents went away virtually dragging my long suffering sister with them along with some French student by the name of Gaston or Christophe. Yes! I thought a week of partay-ing for me. Imagine my horror when only a few hours later the all too familiar flashing orange lights of an AA truck appeared through the curtains with the smouldering remains of the camper on the back. It was quite serious this time as it had caught fire in the car park of the Swansea Leisure Centre. Luckily the plucky French lad had managed to extinguish the flames by using a shaken bottle of lemonade as an improvised fire extinguisher, (a handy tip to remember) thus preventing an inferno. The poor old camper looked rather forlorn though complete with blackened air intakes and a melted distributor amongst other things and another holiday had been cruelly cut short.

I'm happy to say though that the latest generation VW camper is about as far away from the aforementioned nightmares of yesteryear as you can get. The California is the latest incarnation and having recently checked one out they are the business. With car-like performance and luxury interiors you could happily spend the rest of your days languishing away in one of these.

Some say they don't have the soul of the good old air-cooled VW's. True there are a few die-hards who spend hours removing rust from their beloved vans you may encounter many in North Devon during the summer months holding all the traffic up!

However after recounting the above tales I know which one I'd go for. Don't take my word for it though there are plenty of specialist VW Van centres who will point you in the right direction.

An RV or a Caravan?

If you are in the market for taking your home with you on holiday, you basically have three choices, the tent (or trailer tent), a caravan or the recreational vehicle or RV. All have their advantages, but what is the best choice?

The Tent

Of the three choices, the tent is undoubtedly the cheapest, and the trailer tent variation can be quite comfy to, especially as much of the living accommodation is off the floor in the body of the trailer. But it is still a tent and as such offers limited luxury and protection from the elements cannot match that of a eurovan or RV.

The advantages of the tent are price, ease of towing not to mention it is easy to store when you are not on holiday!

The Caravan

Caravans come in all shapes and sizes these days and there is one for the smallest car, and the largest, some being veritable double axled paradises on wheels with every comfort you can imagine. Even the smallest is more difficult to tow than the trailer tent though and some people just do not want to tow in the first place (which of course means that they have to go for a basic tent or a RV).

The advantages of the caravan over the tent are obvious in that they offer a better class of accommodation, are more durable and are normally a lot bigger, a far better choice for a family.

The Recreational Vehicle (RV)

The RV has been with us for many years, perhaps the one that sticks in the mind (at least for those over 50) is the VW camper van as used by countless hippies and Australians for there travels across the globe. Today however, the RV is a lot different and in most cases a lot bigger, and has luxuries un-thought of by the first RV users.

The top of the RV tree is occupied (you guessed it) by the American Motor Home, vehicles of such size and luxury that they need an HGV licence before you can drive one, some even having a garage at the back with a Smart Car for those shopping trips etc.

When it comes to luxury, even the top of the range caravan cannot match the biggest RV, with its sliding walls (which extend the living area out each side of the body) higher ceilings and well, just pure luxury. Of course, there are smaller RV's, some smaller than the good old VW Camper Van, with one for every taste.

When it comes to disadvantages the RV however has quite a few, not the least cost, even the smallest being a big purchase, whilst the largest can cost 250,000 quite an investment! Besides the initial cost, there is the running costs and with fuel consumptions in the low 20's mpg (even less with the big ones) and the fact that you need to road tax and MOT them every year (and that can be expensive for the HGV variants) makes them a poor bet for anyone on a budget.

But then, the American Motor Home has never been something for man in the street, they are for those with a high disposable income or those that sell up and decide to live in one instead of owning a house. They offer true luxury and for those that want to live the high life on the open road, the RV is really the only choice.

5 Tips for Purchasing A Used Camper

1 - Separate what you want from what you need

You will probably have some idea as to which sort of used camper you are looking for. But do you really need that class? If you haven't done so already then you should really spend a few days in a similar model to the one you would like to buy. Renting or using a friend's rig for just a few days will give you a clear idea on how suited you are to that particular size of rig. You may be looking at 'Class A Motorhomes' and realize that it is in reality far to spacious for your needs, difficult to drive and park and you may come to the conclusion that a smaller model would be a better investment. Or the opposite may be true. You may be looking at small campers when in reality you need to be considering a large 'Class A' rig. Getting clear on this will take only a few days and will save you a lot of hassle later when it comes to buying your own used camper.

2 - Check Out The Vehicle History

Investigate the history of the vehicle you will be buying as deeply as possible. This means asking to see all the paperwork, including any repair bills and receipts for spare parts. This way you will get an idea as to what has been replaced and can hazard a guess as to what is likely to need replacing soon. You also need to check that the VIN number matches that on the vehicle and that on all paperwork it is the same number. Try to find out how many owners it has had and you may even try to contact the previous owners and ask them if they can remember anything of importance that cold be a problem.

3 - Check Out the Mechanical Side

Taking a qualified mechanic with you when you view a motorhome or camper is highly recommended, even if you are mechanically minded yourself. Your mechanic can be checking over all that is the driving and mechanical side whilst you inspect the living area, bodywork and coach work.

4 - Check Out The Bodywork

Have a good look at the outside panels, check for corrosion and laminating where the panels are bulging and separating from the side of the vehicle. take a good look inside at the ceiling especially in corners and on top of wardrobes or cupboards. Check for signs of damp. Also check the floors in the kitchen area and the bathroom. Soft floors can indicate corroded wooden supports as a result of leaking water system.

5 - Check out fixtures and fittings.

Try everything. Firstly to see if the living area is comfortable and secondly to see if it all really works as it should do. Just sit in the dining area, make sure you will all fit comfortably, sit on the sofa or armchairs and make sure you can see the TV or talk to each other well, test out the bed, etc. Then check for functionality. Open and close every single cupboard door and locker, both inside and out. Turn everything on and off again. Test absolutely everything - There are bound to be things that need attention. These should be noted down and used later when negotiating the final price.

The best place to look for a real bargain in used campers is in a police auction or a seized auction.

Source: Barry Bushnell

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Best Eurovan Campers

If you're looking for a eurovan camper there is only one place to get it! JDB Imports has the largest selection of vw campers in the midwest and and one of the largest inventories of eurovan campers in the u.s.

If you are looking for a clean eurovan, JDB Imports completely restores the interior of all their vw campers and puts all of their vehicles through a 100-point inspection. You can be sure you are getting one of the cleanest, well maintained vw campers in the U.S.

Contact JDB Imports today (303) 287-9797 or check out their website www.vwpoptopcampers.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008