The VW camper has reached the end of the road. Plenty of us may have thought that it got there years ago but no: the Type 2 Volkswagen – the Beetle was the Type 1 – has been living a long life in Brazil, where they’ve been building various versions of the famous rear-engined van since 1957.
And while the final tally of 3.9 million manufactured is nothing to the unchallenged run of 21,529,464 Beetles, it’s a mighty impressive achievement.
The cultish box on wheels beloved of back-packers, surfers and anyone after a modish means of carting themselves, their friends and a lifestyle will pass into the afterlife with a final run of 600 limited editions. Finished in pale blue with a white roof and whitewall tyres, they have matching striped vinyl seats and homely blue curtains, but little else by way of comforts apart from an incongruous – though welcome - MP3 player.
What you may also be unaware of is that long-time motorcaravan converter Danbury has been importing these Brazilian-built bay window-style VWs for several years, and will be bagging a handful - probably less than 20 - of these final edition Kombis.
They’re certainly not cheap at £42,000 a throw, though neither are the last few of the non-limited edition versions, which start at £32,599. Your basic Kombi people carrier costs £13,500 in Brazil incidentally, before shipping, taxes and modifying it for UK use.
And a light rampage through the options list can generate an all-up price to rival that of a heavily-optioned Evoque. These are basic vehicles, and besides spending £1000 on a right-hand drive conversion you can also have lowered suspension and Porsche 911 Fuchs-style alloys for £2500, rack and pinion steering for £1199 (the fact that it’s offered suggests that you might need it) as well as a variety of items allowing you to turn it into the fabled campervan, ranging from beds to scatter cushions and the proverbial kitchen sink.
If you’re thrilled at the thought of hearing the high-pitched whistle of VW’s ancient flat-four you’re in for a small disappointment, because the Kombi has been propelled by an in-line water-cooled 1.4 litre VW Fox motor since 2007. Which is why there’s now a less-than-elegant slatted grilled scarring the Kombi’s famous bay-window prow.
Still, the (slightly) more modern motor makes it cleaner, the engine still lives at the rear hooked to a four-speed transmission and you’ll certainly get vintage acceleration given its 77bhp output.
Despite its snailsome performance, the idea of a freshly-minted VW camper legend appeals – think of the campervan lovers who run up massive bills trying to rid the flanks of their aged vans of rust and ripples. And it should certainly hold its value. Those tempted should know that the final batch of Kombi Last Editions arrives in December, for sale early next year.