I love my Eurovan.
And I loved my Westy.
No one (over the age of 21) who doesn't drive one of these things seems to understand why almost everyone who has one is crazy about them. They can eat money if you don't know how to work on them yourself. Parts can be difficult to find, even (or maybe especially) for the new ones. Volkswagen, here in the U.S., at least, treats them like runaway foster children. Mileage isn't all that great, either, although the EVC is certainly better on gas than my Westy was; I've been averaging a solid 18.5 mpg since I started driving mine. And it doesn't seem to matter where I'm driving, either.
But they're rather magical vehicles.
First of all, they are kind of like a Swiss Army Knife: all closed up they look completely normal. Unassuming. Even banal. They can slip right into your garage without so much as a whistle. But, when you start pulling out all of those blades ...
Here's a floor plan.
Put the back seat down ... instant bed.
Pop the top ... yet another bed.
Flip up a table ... portable desk. Play a game of checkers. Swivel the front seats around and you've got a lounge. Pull out the other table, and POOF you're sitting in a dining alcove.
My first Vanagon was an '82 GL. I bought it new. The next one was an '85 Vanagon Westfalia GL. I kept that one for about eleven years before a friend, whom I had lent it to, crashed it. It was repaired, but it just wasn't the same. I sold it to a man who drove up in a Vanagon GL just like it. He planned to use the parts from both of them to make one incredibly perfect camper. I hope that he did. I'd like to think that at least part of it is still out there roaming around.
And I cried when the new owner drove it out of the driveway.
My ex gave me his '95 Eurovan camper after I sold the Westy. I brought it to Florida and drove it for a while. It wasn't the same as my Westy, but in some ways it was better. Like I could drive up hills moving faster than a bicycle.
After six months, he decided that he wanted his van back, so he bought me a new '97 Eurovan Camper for Christmas.
I have had one or another of these vans since 1981. Some of the time they've been my daily drivers, but mostly they've sat in the garage waiting to take me off on adventures. They're not the fastest things around, but unlike the brand new Jeeps, Suburbans, and Volvo's that I've owned during the same period, they've never left me stranded anywhere. That counts.
Photos from Busses Over the Bridge