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Is it possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van? | VW Camper Van Blog
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Is it possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van?

Posted on June 3rd, 2009

Is it possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van?

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a long weekend washing and waxing our VW Type 25 Camper Van. Whilst doing this, I was shocked (and annoyed) to see the first stages of bubbling on the paint work. Regular readers will know that just over 12 months ago I had my van stripped down and re-sprayed in an attempt to save it from the rust that was forming in the usual places (seams / lower offside panel / etc).

Now, just over a year on, it seems I will have to book the van back in to have some spots touched up within the next couple of months!

This got me thinking, is it possible to have a hassle free VW camper van? One that has the iconic style of a VW without the constant battle of trying to keep it looking nice? One that simply looks nice all the time?

Now I suppose I am not your regular VW Camper Van enthusiast. I am not someone who enjoys the upkeep of the van. Nor am I someone who enjoys spending the whole weekend tinkering with it. I simply enjoy owning a VW Camper Van. I love the look of them and really enjoy using them for camping. We all know there are more sensible options when it comes to buying a van but, to be honest, I can not see me ever getting rid of mine and replacing it with a ‘regular’ camper.

So after a couple of days of feeling sorry for myself (and my van) I thought I would have another look at the brand new Brazilian Type 2 Vans that you can get from Danbury Motorcaravans. I had looked at these before but due to the price tag that is way out of my league, I had always dismissed them.

But surely this was the answer, a VW that has all the looks of the classic bay window vans with none of the hassle. So I decided to find out if this really was the case.

I posed a couple of questions regarding the new Danbury Type 2 Vans on Twitter. Things like ‘Does anyone own one?’ and ‘What do people think of them?’. To my surprise, a chap who is responsible for the PR behind Danbury (you can follow him here) replied and asked me if I wanted to take a trip up to the companies depot for a test drive. To which the answer was… Yes!

Danbury Motorcaravans

For those of you that are not aware. The classic VW Bay Window Type 2 vans are still produced at Volkswagen Brazil. In fact, they have never stopped making them! Apparantly, they are still very common out there and are used predominantly for people carriers and taxis.

Up until 2005, VW Brazil were even still producing the Type 2 with an air-cooled engine. However, due to environmental restrictions, the plant switched to using water cooled engines from 2006 onwards. This meant that some modifications were required to the design of the vehicle which now includes a grill on the front to allow air flow to the new radiator sat below. The other main change to the classic 70’s design is a higher, squarer roof.

This is where Danbury come in. The Brazilian VW Vans are imported to the UK as people carriers. Each of them is white and has a rather ugly black radiator grill on the front. Danbury take these base models and convert them in to camper vans.

So on a sunny Saturday a few weeks ago, we set off for Bristol to have a look at these brand new camper vans.

There are several options available to anyone wanting a new camper (all of which are well documented on the companies website). There is an entry level option known as the Amigo which comes in white with a basic camper interior including a Rock and Roll bed and a removable kitchen unit with 1 ring hob, manually pumped water and bowl.

There are then 3 more models to choose from depending on what extras you require, The Picnicker, The Classic and the SE. However, there is a huge amount of optional extras to choose from so you can pretty much design your own van, regardless of the model you choose.

As of May 2009, the prices start at £21,999 and go right up to and past £34,499 depending on the extras you choose.

We were lucky enough to be taken ‘behind the scenes’ to the production line where the base model vans are converted to camper vans. Viewing the production area, it is clear to see that Danbury are working hard to keep the Classic VW Type 2 alive. There is a section where the camper interiors are produced, individual bays where each van is kitted out and about 10 ramps where the mechanical work is carried out.

Danbury have even manufactured their own optional add ons such as a dummy spare wheel carrier which sits on the front to mask the new grill. This looks just like a normal spare wheel carrier but on closer inspection there are hundreds of holes in the front of it allowing air to reach the radiator. 

Another optional extra is to have the van converted from the standard left hand drive to right hand drive. This is completed in house by Danbury’s mechanics. The company is also working on a new power assisted steering system with a direct drive modern rack and pinion system to improve handling.

The Test Drive

I was able to take one of the new VW Vans out for a spin to see what they were really like. I have to say, the 1.4 Bio-Fuel engine pulled quite well and didn’t seem too dissimilar to my 1.9 petrol T25. I am not saying it would win many races, but as long as you are not in any great hurry (are you ever in a Camper Van?) it will tick along fine. It seems to move quite happily at about 60-65 mph.

The model I drove had been converted from left to right hand drive. I had read on a couple of forums that this made the gear stick very close to the drivers position but again, I found it OK.

The oddest thing about driving the Danbury VW Van was that it drove very much like an old Bay Window. As everything was brand spanking new, I had expected it to drive more like a modern car. However, the design is still very much as it was 30 years ago and although everything is new, it is still an old design. The gear box still has plenty of play as does the steering. The stopping distance has been improved upon however, with the addition of servo assisted front brakes.

All in all, the van drove well. It is certainly not the best drive for a brand new vehicle but that adds to the fun and makes it feel more like an original. After all, who would want a VW Van that drove perfectly?

The Camper Interiors

Looking around both the Rio and Diamond camper interiors, both look very functional and modern. The Rio comes in a traditional layout with the units running the length of the near-side wall. This units includes a modern hob and grill, a sink and plenty of storage cabinets (although one is taken up but the gas cylinder). There is also the option to have a Fridge-Freezer and Oven added in to the conversion. At the rear there is the standard full height cupboard and the rock and roll bed fits across the remaining two thirds of the van.


The Diamond features a full width rock and roll bed and a smaller cabinet which houses the hob, grill and sink (and the Fridge should you choose this option). Personally, I prefer the Rio layout as there is much more storage (although this is probably due to the layout being similar to my T25). 

Definate Upgrades

There is a whole range of optional extras to choose from when ‘designing’ your own van. Some definate upgrades I would choose are:

  • Right Hand Drive Conversation
  • Fridge freezer
  • 240v mains hook up
  • Leather seat upholstery (didn’t really think much of the cloth alternative)
  • Chrome Bumpers / Mirrors
  • Anti Corrosion treatment (underseal)
  • Raising pop top roof
  • Raising roof double bed
  • 2 tone lower body re-spray
  • Dummy front spare wheel cover (to disguise the grill)
  • Front roof rack (to disguise the square roof)

Like I say, there are many extras and upgrades to choose from but these are just some of the ones I would definitely have added to my van (if I was buying one!). The total of my spec van would be £33,140

So what are people saying about these VW Vans?

I have done a lot of reading up about the new Danbury VW Type 2 vans and there is mixed feelings toward them. It seems a lot of people are saying they have had problems with rust forming on the vans after only a few years. I questioned Danbury on this and they did say that rust can form along the gutters as the paint coverage is not great there. They also say that on the standard white bumpers that come on the vans (the chrome ones are an optional upgrade) rust can form on the lips on either side. Other than that, they say they have not had any problems. 

On my way out of the unit, there were a couple of vans that were back for a service so I snuck over and had a quick look. One was an 2007 model and, just as Danbury had said, there were the first signs of rust forming right on the top of the gutters. Other than that there was no rust to be seen. I checked right under the wheel arches and the tail lights (someone had tipped me off that rust can form there) and it was immaculate. 

The other van awaiting a service must have been one of the last air-cooled models produced as it was a 2004. Again, rust had formed along the gutters and had started to creep in around the rear air vents but the arches and underneath looked fine. 

One of the other concerns I had read online was that parts were hard to come by for the Brazilian vans. Again, Danbury’s response to this was that they stock a large amount of replacement parts and should one not be available at any particular time, there is a huge amount of base model vans awaiting conversion that can become a ‘donor’ by supplying whatever parts are required. 

To find out what people in the scene were saying, I started a thread on the Just Kampers Forum (which can be found here). The range of views regarding the new vans was amazing. Some of the more interesting comments were:

“They seem very expensive to me, there is no way I’d pay that sort of price, I’d take my chances on a classic which needed work!” - Tag

“Whenever I see a bus I get excited. Then, after the initial half second I realise its a new one and I lose interest straight off. I live just up from Danbury so they are everywhere round here. A lot of money for a fake in my opinion (especially with the new grill on the front urgh!). However, I understand why people want them.” - Matt Wyatt

“Whether its a Split, T2 or new danbury, its horses for courses, you either like em or you don’t, but its a VW Camper all the same!” - Rincewind

“I’d rather spend 16k on a mint old one than a new one, but thats just me.” - Worcester on Sea

“As far as the Brazillian T2s being viewed as outsiders…no not really…still got to be mad like the rest of us…we spend large sums of money on an elderly design of vehicle…they do the same but on a newer version when they could do much better with a different model for the same money.” - Paedrig

“I really dont understand why anyone would part with that sort of money for for a new vehicle thats based on a 60 year old design, and technology. If you want a modern vehicle get one. If you want a classic  vehicle but want reliability and comfort, buy an original and spend money on a full restoration” - Chris

So it seems the main problems people have with them are the cost, the build quality and the altered looks of the grill and roof.

But what are the owners saying?

To further my investigation, I asked some people with experience of owning a new Danbury Van what they thought of it. A regular poster on the Just Kampers Forum who goes by the name ‘Mummy’ said of her van “We got an air cooled 04′ and we love it, it has been just what we needed, a bus for camping that apart from once has never let us down!”.

With regards to the snobbery seemingly apparent within the VW scene, Mummy continued, “I dont mind people not liking them as I dont like every Volkswagen I see, but I never judge the owner. I get a bit fed up having to defend myself and dont understand why my choice of bus is upsetting for others. It is what it is and its got a vw badge on it so get over it!”

Phillip, also an owner of a 2003 air-cooled Danbury comments “Yes there is suface rust coming through on the bodywork - so we’re already thinking of a respray on a 6 year old van!”

But what about somebody in the trade? Someone that has experience in old VW vans as well as the new ones. Ian Harris, Managing Director of VW Kampers specialises in VW Camper Van Hire and Sales and has two water-cooled Danbury Vans as well as 7 late Westfalia Bay Window vans. Ian comments “The main issue with buying a new Danbury is the same with any new car purchase, you will loose money straight away. I have seen 2 year old camper’s with low miles with about £8000 - £10000 of the book price.”

He continues “My Danbury was £36k new and I paid £20k. It has 20000 miles on the clock so has cost the previous owners a great deal of money in only a few years, enough to buy a mint 1970’s camper that will increase in money! Over the last 8 years I have seen prices for late Westfalias go up by around £1000 per year.’

Ian also pointed out that Danbury are not the only company currently converting the new Brazlian vans. Anyone looking at purchasing one of the new vans should also check out VW Downunder.

So is it possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van?

I understand that for some, the best part of owning a VW Camper Van or Bus is the upkeep. Taking something that is on it’s last legs and completely restoring it is an amazing feeling and having gone someway to restoring my T25 I can kind of understand this process. As many people have mentioned, a budget of between £20,000 and £30,000 would go a very long way if you imported a late bay and completely restored it. You would then own something that would not depreciate, but instead would go up in value! 

However, there does definitely seem to be benefits to buying a new VW Type 2. If you want reliability and less hassle in the upkeep of your VW Van then this seems to be the choice for you. Personally, having seen and driven the new vans I am all for them. Yes the grill on the front doesn’t look right and yes I prefer the old domed tin top roofs but with the Dummy wheel cover and the roof rack you can somewhat ‘disguise’ the new design of the vans making it look almost like an original.

There does seem to be some ’snobbery’ within the VW scene regarding these new vans which I personally do not understand. Surely the whole point of the scene is to do what you want to do and drive what you want to drive. I chose a T25 over a Bay Window as I wanted to use the van as a camper, not as a show vehicle. And that is my choice. I think more and more people are coming round to the T25 scene as good solid Bays are becoming harder to find.

Similarly, If someone wants to spend £30,000 on a Danbury because they do not want the hassle of importing and restoring a Bay Window Van then why shouldn’t they? For me, the VW Camper and Bus scene should be about taking a van and doing what you enjoy with it. Not trying to please other people.

The main thing that puts me off the new vans is the cost. If I had a spare £35k I would probably get one so I understand why people would go for them as opposed to a 70’s bay if they did not want any of the hassle and upkeep of a 30 year vehicle.

That being said, there does seem to be an issue with rust on the new Brazilian vans so there is still a fair amount of love and care you have to give these new vans. But for me, this puts me back to where I started, owning a van that you constantly have to attend to in order to keep it looking nice.

So is it possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van? It seems the answer would be… no!

Don’t miss out on an upcoming article where we road test the New Danbury VW Camper Vans. Find out what they are like for camping, what they are like on the road and the ultimate question, do other veedubbers wave at you? Make sure you do not miss the next installment by signing up to free updates via email or RSS.

Have your say!

So over to you. What do you think of the new water cooled VW Type 2 Vans from Danbury and VW Downunder? Would you buy one? If not, what don’t you like about them?

Posted by Steve

If you liked this blog entry you can receive updates via email or RSS.

Posted on Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 at 10:29 pm
Posted In Bay Window, Featured, VW Camper Van Reviews | Tags: , ,

196 Responses to “Is it possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van?”

  • Suz on June 4th, 2009 said:

    Great article thanx….a friend ‘have a dream’ of travelling the world and she told me they had decided on a Danbury to be hassle free!!!….oooops

  • Sasha on June 4th, 2009 said:


    Great read about the new Danbury VW T2 campers! I ve got a 3 year old model (new watercooled one) and having owned 5 old campers - I LOVE IT! Yes I had a small amount of surface rust on the roof gutter edges but all that needed was 30 minutes of polish and a quick touch up stick applied over the area (Danbury did this for me for free!) and have no other problems with the car. We use it every day for school runs, shopping etc and will camp in it approx once or twice a month (all year round). It does nearly 40 MPG ( my old campers did about 15 - 20 MPG!) and it has lower emmissions and cheaper road tax! Been to Europe in it too many times and cruises (easily) at 70 - 80 MPH. Too may snobs in the scene discount this purchase not wanting to admit as a daily car they are the ONLY option unless you want a robot built boring modern car that isnt worth anything 3 years later! My friend had a Danbury too and just moved abroad for work and sold it for just £1000 less than he paid for it after 2 years! No modern normal car would loose only a £1000 in 2 years! (and give such great fun - He’s already saving for his next one when he gets back to the UK). I think all in all Danbury are offering a safe investment, great fun and most important : Keeping the VW scene supplied with new customers to go to shows, buy part and goodies for thier cars and just putting a smile on peoples faces (and yes other VW camper owners do wave at me!) - Peace and love to all VeeDubbers out there,

    Sasha x

  • Steve on June 6th, 2009 said:

    Thanks for your comments!


    Glad you enjoyed the article. The Danbury Vans certainly are the better option if your friend wants less hassle with a Vw Camper Van. But as the current owners of the Brazilian Vans say, you do still need to look after it. I would think if your friend truly wanted a hassle free van to travel the world in, then a T5 would be the best option!


    Thanks for letting us know about your van. It’s great to hear from another Danbury owner. I agree, certainly the best option of you want a daily runner. However, as many people have mentioned, with this sort of budget you could have shipped in a dry bus and completely restored until it was like a new van - is this something you considered before choosing the Danbury van?

    Thanks for commenting!!


  • Sasha on June 7th, 2009 said:

    Hi Steve,

    I agree you can buy a dry (ish) old VW and ship it in to the UK and restore it but it will always be an old car underneath the retoration and having done that ‘restoration thing’ many times it always rusts again and always has that old engine / gearbox etc. Also the new watercooled engine is fab. 40 miles per gallon is DOUBLE that of an old aircooled engine and when you drive that every day and with fuel costing £5 plus a gallon that makes a big difference! I also went to Europe in my new Danbury and it sat on the motorwaay at 70-80 mph mile after mile and I could even hear the radio as the new watercooled engine is very quiet. Been there - Done that with old VW’s and they are great to look at and take to the odd show event but not a realistic daily drive and you simply MUST keep spending money on them to keep it going and MOT’d as they are now just so old. Its great though that the scene is still going strong and in my experience new and old campervaners get on really well and I’ve never been ’snubbed’ in my new Danbury and infact most people love her and always want a chat about what its like!

    Love and peace to all - Sasha. x

  • Eddy on June 11th, 2009 said:

    Firstly, I found this page really informative - I too recently (april 09) purchased a new brazialian T2 via VW Downunder. I still cannot wipe the smile off my face every time i drive it! so far camping in it in cornwall and the new forest has been great fun, it is comfortable to drive and does have the nostalgic traits of an old design… but that is the fun! After a lot of years considering purchasing an old T2 I decided to take a chance on a new purchase but very glad i did. it is still LHD but after just a very short time driving it…. no worries and would not want it converted to RHD, makes it a little more different. It is also so nice and bespoke… as for waving to other older campers, it hasnt been a problem so far… there is a place for us all no matter what year we were born!

    Regards to all vw owners,


  • Rusty on June 12th, 2009 said:

    Thanks for posting this and doing the research. I have an 85 Westy that needs work. I was very interested to learn that you can buy 70’s busses, “new”. Great points made, all around. When it comes down to it, an old bus or a new bus, expect to have to tinker to keep her/him puddering along happily. That’s part of the experience, after all, and partly why we love them. We CAN tinker. Even my 85 lends itself to easy repairs. Its not reliable, its intensely repairable. I can usually get to the next destination with duct tape and zip ties. I’d like to be able to keep it at posted speeds in the hills but, other than that, driving “Billy Bob” is like taking a vacation each time I leave the driveway. Its such a magnificent view through that huge front glass, 12 inches from your face. SO my next van will be a classic that needs my love and attention and will cost me thousands in exchange for something that most people cannot relate to. thanks again

  • tony on June 18th, 2009 said:

    nice reading on the site,i`ve owned 4 aircooled dub`s over the years.
    i left the vw scene because of the snobbery and attitude of alot of people.
    who cares if its a new one a split or a`s what you like…thats what the vdub scene was originally least buying a new one you know it hasn`t been hacked sawn and filled.and when you`ve layed down that sort of money you won`t be sitting on the motorway in a oil filled cloud of smoke.

  • Sasha on June 19th, 2009 said:

    Hi Tony - Very true what you say. There are some ‘pratts’ in the scene that slag evryone else’s VW except their own (or anyone in their special ‘club’) and usually its because they cant afford to buy a new one (stupidly they probably spend more in the long run keeping the old welded to death VW they do own on the road!). Also some dealers are the same and very ‘clicky’ but most sensible people at the shows are cool and welcome new members and their cars. After all its all about keeping the scene alive for the future with as many people joining the community as possible so we have good shows to go to and companies that can sell and support us with the product. I love my Danbury and would never go back to an old one as financially it doesnt add up any more and I use my car every day instead of a modern boring box on wheels. Its all about putting that smile on your face! Peace and love. Sasha x

  • Steve on June 19th, 2009 said:
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    Thanks again for your comments!


    I actually meant putting a new engine etc in to an old dry van so you had the reliability and economy - I have read that people have hidden a radiator underneath enabling a water cooled engine! It sounds like you have had a lot of experience with old VW Vans so it is interesting that you have chosen a new van. Most people I have spoken to who own a new Danbury Van have not owned an original.


    Thanks for letting us know about your van. Sound cool and I am glad you are enjoying it. And you are right, there is room enough for everyone in the ’scene’!


    Thanks for letting us know about your Westy. I think if you enjoy the tinkering then you are fine with an older van. Unfortunately, my problem is that I do not enjoy it (and I am useless at it) so the new vans kinda seem like the ultimate dream - a VW Van that Looks good that you do not have the upkeep of!


    I think you sum it up by saying ‘who cares if it’s a new one a split or a rat. It`s what you like… thats what the vdub scene was originally about!’. Wise words!

    Thanks for getting involved in the conversation!


    P.S. It would be great if you could all add some pics of your vans to the VW camper Van Blog Flickr Group -

  • Mummylonglegs on June 30th, 2009 said:

    Read your article with great interest - very well researched and many points that inspired me.

    Would you happen to know though which would be the better investment - the new style Brazilian one or an old original? If I was to buy a new one from a company like Danbury (have read some bad press about their customer service) or VW downunder, how much would it be worth in say 5 years should we need to sell it? And if we spent an equivalent sum on a well refurbished old one, would it hold its value better?

  • Steve on June 30th, 2009 said:

    Hi Mummylonglegs!

    Glad you enjoyed the article!

    A better investment would definitely be a classic restored van, especially if you had £30K to spend on it. As many people have told me, you could get quite a nice Split screen for that much money!

    As Ian from VW Kampers says in the article, he has bought 2 year old Brazilian vans with low milage with £8k - £10k off the book price! Whereas if you were to go for a classic bay, you could get a really nice restored one for £15k - £20k which , if kept up, would be worth a whole lot more in 5 years!

    So to sum up, if you are looking for an investment, definitely go classic!


  • Sasha on July 1st, 2009 said:

    Hi Steve - I dont know where the guy is buying nearly new VW for £8000 off list price? I looked for 2 years for one and everyone I looked at was within a few thousand pounds of its new price. Speak to Danbury (or look on their web site / showroom) and they sell used ones very quickly for sometimes new price as there is always a waiting list for new orders. My friend has just moved abroad and got what she paid for her year old Danbury within 1 week of the advert! Also bear in mind that you can do 40 miles per gallon in a new one or 15-20 miles per gallon in an old one so combine that with MOT, rust and old car failures you spend A LOT less running a new VW than an old one (I know i’ve done both ways) especially if your using it every day. The new watercooled engine is also a lot lower emmissions and has 80 bhp not 40 bhp like an old one so sits on the motorway lovely when we go to Cornwall or the Midlands as we do often (after all no point having one if you dont use it!). The new route is a lot cheaper IN THE LONG RUN and if your using it often. However like I said the scene takes all types of people usually with open arms so everyone enjoys different cars for different reasons. Love and peace :-)

  • David on July 1st, 2009 said:

    I have a Danbury that is 2003, bought it second hand last year and have stripped all the (slightly naff) Danbury kitchen out and had some units built for it. I also had the seats reupholstered in leather and the internal panels covered. It’s so much fun to drive and you can easily cruise on the morotorway at 75mph. We have had problems with the alternator though - 4 in 1 year since we bought it. But I think we have sorted the problem now: it seems at some point someone rewired the relays so they weren’t going to the right places. Since that has been changed it seems like we’re OK. Fingers crossed…

    One annoying thing too is that I just bought a roofrack for it and didn’t fit! Even though it was designed for a Type II, it just didn’t fit as the new ones appear to have a higher roof. If anyone knows where I can get a nice wooden slatted roof rack to fit a Danbury I’d love to know.

  • Steve on July 2nd, 2009 said:


    The chap who has managed to buy these vans quite cheap is a trader of VW Vans so obviously has a lot of connections and knows where to look. I have seen the prices of the pre-owned vans on the Danbury site but I would be surprised if they actually sell at this price, especially considering the lead time for a new van is only 6 weeks - I would rather wait, wouldn’t you?

    I have seen a Danbury Van that was 3 years old, about 30,00 miles, top of the range model for sale for £29,000 on ebay. It did not sell and it was then back on there for £27,000, then £25,000 and it still didn’t sell. I am not too sure what it went for in the end but he obviously did not make his money back on a £35,000 vehicle. I have also seen some fairly cheap ones on Just Kampers. It is simply the way it is with any new vehicle, you will lose money on it! Whereas a classic van will only go up in price (if it is a good example and it looked after). I have been recently looking through my old VW magazines trying to get inspiration on whether to buy a classic Bay window or not, and the prices of a good Bay in 2005 was about £1000 - £2000 less than it is today!

    Regarding the fuel economy, I can’t really comment as I neither own a classic bay nor a Brazilian Bay. However, you mention a lack of rust and MOT problems with the Brazilian vans. As you know from the article above, there is an issue with rust on these imported Vans. You still have to look after them in the same way you would a classic van. As Phillip said in the article, he is considering a re-spray on a 6 year old van! And in response to the MOT bills, many people have told me that if you were to put £35k in to a Classic Bay or Split Screen project, you would come out with a very good example which should not have all the MOT problems a £4000 classic van would.

    You are right, however, that the VW scene is about people doing what they want to do and driving what they want to drive. I have no problems with the Danbury Vans and I think if you have a spare £30K, then go for it.


    Thanks for letting us know about your Brazilian van. I would be interested to see some photos as I have not heard of many people who have re-furbished these new vans by getting rid of the Danbury interior. I would also be interested to know how much you paid for it (and I think Sasha would too!)

    Regarding the roof rack, I think a lot of people could have told you that the roof rack would not fit. One of the ‘bones of contention’ with the new vans is the higher, squarer roof which some feel ruins the contours of the classic design.

    Get in touch with Simon at Danbury as they make vintage roof racks to fit the new vans which look very nice - if you want his email address feel free to contact me on

    Again, would be great to see some photos of what you have done with the van.

    Thanks again for both your comments.


  • Sasha on July 2nd, 2009 said:

    Hi David - I dont know where this dealer bought a cheap new one but I have spoken to Danbury and they always sell at the prices quoted and have no problems selling every used Danbury they get in. My friend also made her money back easily when she moved abroad and sold hers. If you saw a cheap one there may have been a problem or you should have bought it?! I looked for a very long time trying to buy one cheap and its just not possible. Danbury also told me most people buy their new camper to keep and not to re sale which is the whole point of owning a new camper and choosing everything about it. They also have said that the factory have now sorted any paint problems on all the stock THEY import (not Brazil home market models) and it usually only ever affected the roof gutter edges and sometime the edges on the bumpers anyway. They also offer to touch these areas in FREE of charge on any usesd model that comes in for a service so they do look after their customers a lot better than most garages (one of the reasons I and my friend bought from Danbury after visiting most dealers in the UK over a period of a year) . My friend sold hers and made her money back and it sold easily. I dont know of any other new car sold that you can do that with? I ‘ve had many old ones (and my partner has) in the past and trust me an old VW is ALWAYS an old VW and no matter how much time, effort and money you poor into it you cant make it new (my friend spent over £20,000 on a restoration alone and after a few years rust started coming back and the engine and gearbox always needed constant maintance). Its not beacuse old VW’s aren’t any good its just that they are now so old. 2010 is just round the corner………Also using mine every day (which is the point I bought new) saves a massive amount of petrol and at over £5 a gallon and rising is important to me. The very low emmission levels also is good for the ‘green side of my brain’ . After all I recycle all my glass, cans and waste at home so why shouldnt we all think about the emmissions on our cars?! I’m not saying buying old is wrong (weve done it 8 times in the past!) but financially it doesnt always add up…..I also dont have to visit my (lovely) local garage all the time for repairs, engine tappet adjustments and hide when it comes to MOT time. Ive driven my new one round the UK and to Europe with not a single problem so far and really enjoy it. Great that some people have the time and money to tincker with old ones but not for me anymore. Peace and Love to ALL VeeDubbers whatever they drive! Sasha. X (I’ll try and send you pic of my Danbury is Switzerland earleir this year covered in about 4 foot of snow! We had a great laugh as our car started first time after being parked for a week and the new BMW next to us didn’t!)

  • Mummylonglegs on July 2nd, 2009 said:

    David - you’ve got me all confused now. I THOUGHT I had settled on an oldie and now you are making me think I should get a new one! EEEK!

    The green bit is what’s getting to me the most - the old ones do use an enormous amount of petrol. And also going abroad with an old one (a major reason for us buying a camper van is to go to Europe in it) and it breaking down… I have heard that it is harder to buy parts etc for the new ones than the old. Is that true?

  • David on July 2nd, 2009 said:

    Hi there - I will certainly upload some photos (the guy who built our units keeps hassling me to do so I will certainly get round to it).

    The Danbury interior was really horrible - I think the ones they do now are nicer, but this one had orange patterned seat covers and matching curtains (yuk). And the kitchen was a cheap and nasty grey thing. We had a think about it and thought we would prefer a wider bed and sacrifice storage space - and actually we preferred to cook outside anyway, so we got rid of the sink and hob altogether and found a carpenter to build us units EXACTLY to our specification. We then got rid of the 3/4 bed and replaced it with a full-width one. The grey carpet they had was prone to get covered in grass and mud, too. I think the new laminate wood floor they put in now is more practical. We got some rubber floor tiles and they are brilliant.

    We bought it last year for £14,000 and it only had 11,000kms on the clock (about 7,000 miles). BUT - as well as the disgusting interior, it also hadn’t been painted and was still white. It also doesn’t have a pop-up roof.

    So we’ve probably spent another £6k getting it to the spec we wanted:

    1. Resprayed
    2. Leather upholstery
    3. New bed
    4. Vinyl panels
    5. New units instead of the kitchen
    6. Really nice stereo
    7. New floor

    I’m not sure about old vs new as I have never owend an old one. I keep thinking that I wish, for the budget, we’d bought a splittie and spent some TLC on it, it would have been more fun, but then again - being able to drive at normal speeds on the motorway and not having to spend a fortune on petrol is something I have just taken for granted. Also, this is our only vehicle so it needs to be reliable.

    We’ve taken it to France loads of times and also drove it up the Alps with a load of mountain bikes on the back. When we got it we weren’t sure whether we would use it but this year since April we’ve been away in it almost every weekend - it’s revolutionised our lives! It’s like we have our week home and our weekend home, but the weekend home is wherever the fancy takes us.

    In terms of getting parts for the new ones: it’s not been a problem for us so far. But we have found a specialist campervan garage so maybe they are more switched on than your average garage.

    I have heard stories about rust which worries me - but so far I seem to be rust-free.

    The trouble is, I’m not particularly “handy” when it comes to car mechanics, so the idea of spending hours trying to patch up a 40 year old vehicle just fills me with dread and fear. Having said that, the splitties are so beautiful, I would be tempted to take a punt on one. The grass is always greener…

  • David on July 2nd, 2009 said:

    Oh - just on the point about customer service at Danbury. My experience again is that they are pretty awful. I’ve called them a few times to speak to someone in their technical section - there is never anyone available and so someone takes your number to call you back and they never have done. I’ve tried about 3 times and each times is the same so gave up. Possibly if I’d called and said I had £35k burning a hole in my pocket someone would have called me back. I dunno…

  • Sasha on July 2nd, 2009 said:

    Ive never had any problems with Danbury (nor my friends who have bought from Danbury) There is no other major company in the UK or Europe that offers what you get at the Danbury factory service centre in Bristol. Look at their web site: 42,000 square feet factory with a 9 ramp service workshop and 30 trained staff to look after you. They also carry about £500,000 worth of parts in stock for next day delivery (they even mailed some new locks to me in France when I got broken into there!) They have a technical department but prefer to work on the cars they said as they then spend all day on the phone otherwise telling others how to do their job (and not get paid!) but they do help the best they can and far better than most places Ive been. Lets be fair to them here. If it wasnt for them you wouldnt be able to buy a new one so easily or the parts and after all it keeps the VW scene alive for future generations! Sasha X X

  • Danbury man on July 2nd, 2009 said:

    Hi all - A customer has given me this web site to look at. Great site and interesting to read everyones opinions on the VW scene. In answer to a few questions and comments seen:

    We are a family run business (My family have been in engineering and the motor trade for over 90 years now and I am third generation) and pride ourselves in doing the best we can every day. No matter what the persons roll is in our company (from mechanic - director - valeter etc) we install the theory that everyones job is as important as the next and we are one huge ‘chain’. We obviously dont get it right all the time but 99% of the time we do and have many many customers that return to us time and time again - or send friends in etc - to buy from us and use our new service facilities. We run 5 FREE loan cars and have another TWO BRAND NEW CARS on order to try and make it hassle free to use us whatever the reason (service, accident repair, warranty etc). We also carry about £2 million pounds worth of stock so have made a major commitment to the future. We also invested approx £3 million in new premises not long ago - So we are here for the long term future.

    Re the VW paint: Any paint issue’s on older models will be touched in by us FREE OF CHARGE if the vehicle is with us for a service, aswell as a FREE loan car provided if required. The new models coming to us direct from the VW factory now have improved paint to cope with the UK ’salty roads’ and we have had no problems with the latest batches. Danbury obviously dont paint the cars when they are built but we are here to look after our customers! This is why we offer a 3 year warranty on all new VW T2 we sell unlike any other company.

    Technical: We ask that any technical questions are forwarded to us via e mail if we are busy with other clients when you call. The e mail address is: . This is monitored twice a week so a reply should never take too long however the base vehicle is a Volkswagen and they have a technical department too.

    Used prices: We sell every Danbury we get at our asking price and easily. Most buyers come to us wishing to buy a camper either new or nearly new so they can keep it for a long period (or forever!) so we dont see many used vehicles anyway and we often say to people its best to order and buy new so they can choose the end specification, look and price. We also offer a very low rate finance scheme to assist (subject to status) and also offer part exchange on any car, bike, boat or campervan.

    I hope this helps to explain what we do and how we do it and both myself and all the staff at Danbury look forward to the rest of 2009. Interesting that a BRITISH company that supports many 100,s of people with jobs in the UK (we always buy our parts and goods from British comapanies whereever possible!) is actually very busy this year and sales are increasing! Not many motor trade companies can say that these days!!

    Dont forget we are also supporting jobs in a developing economy in Brazil and the feedback we get from over there is very positive and they are very proud that so many new VW T2 have been sold by Danbury to the UK public.

    Jason Jones - Director

  • Volkspares on July 2nd, 2009 said:

    Hello All,

    We think it is possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van.

    The most important thing to look for on either model or it’s spares is rust as it the most expensive and time consuming in repairs. The bottom 6″ of VW Camper usually suffers all round. Look for signs of serious rust on chassis box-a valuable parts of your VW Camper,especially at the front near the front axle - an important spares and up to the front bumper, but also on the front and rear outriggers up to the sills. The roof guttering, sills, rear bottom corners, front panel edges (especially at window bottoms), wheel arches - all can disappear with rust.

    Floors can usually be reasonable, but could have patches anywhere in front of the VW Camper ’s wheels and also a common floor rust place is side to side behind the front seats (above a box section that gets wet from driving wind blast). If there are cover plates under the floor this can hide a horror story of trapped moisture and rust. Look for signs of filler/repairs all around in your VW Camper, because if they’ve been done badly, they’ll rust through in no time, and it’s expensive/time consuming repair work. Check for rips in lifting roofs.

    Any VW Camper that has been ‘lowered’ be wary of, because badly lowered or adjusted suspension can be dangerous, and the ride may be harsh. It may look ‘cool’ but you’ll be uncomfortable on long journeys and you won’t be able to see over hedges or over other cars, which is part of the fun. Neither will you be able to crawl underneath for any impromptu repairs.

    Where to get repairs advice of Camper spares and parts
    Look for an experienced VW Camper spares specialist that’s been here for more than 40 years and you can inspect a car that have been restored here or get a customer reference.

  • Steve on July 5th, 2009 said:

    Hi Guys,

    Thanks to all of you for contributing to this great ongoing discussion!


    Regarding the rust only affecting the bumpers and gutters, I have had quite a few people telling me different. Like I said previously, Phillip who I spoke to is considering a re=spray on his 6 year old brazilian van - You wouldn’t do that if it was just the gutters and bumpers.

    It is good, however, that Danbury will touch these in for you for free. It is also good to hear that they are taking some extra measures on the vans that are brought over to the UK to withstand our wet climate (although surely this tells you that this problem did not just affect the bumpers and gutters!).

    Regarding the re-sale prices, I have definitely seen good examples up for a lot less that they paid for them. Believe me, I have done a lot of hunting around on this subject and you can find them. I am sure some do go for good money but this is just a problem of buying any new vehicle, they will lose money. This is no reflection on the quality of the van or the level of service Danbury offer, it would happen exactly the same if you bought a brand new T5 and sold it two or three years later. To expect these vans to be an investment is naive.

    However, if you were looking for a daily runner then this is not a bad choice, just perhaps a little expensive!

    Would be great to see some photos of your Brazilian van - would you be able to email them over to ?


    The choice is yours and depends what you are after in a van really. People do go over europe all the time in restored classic campers but if reliability is an issue then go for a new one.


    I am with you on the ‘not so practical’ front! I am useless at these things and that was the reason I was looking at the new vans. However, my mind is made up and I am starting to look at imported Bay Window vans. Went up to South West Splitz yesterday and the work they are doing is great. They also offer their own camper interiors which are nice. We shall see what happens…

    Jason (Danbury Man),

    Thanks for coming and having a look at the blog and our little discussion we have going. Its great to get some perspective from your side.

    As I said to Sasha, I think it is great that you are offering to rectify any rust issues free of charge. I am sure this will be a comforting feeling to those who were unsure of buying due to this problem. It is also great that you have improved the quality of the vans coming over for the UK market.

    Great news that you are up on sales and it is great that the VW Camper Van Legend is being kept alive.


    Thanks for your comments and buying advice for our readers.

    Thanks again to all of you for commenting.


  • Moondaisy on July 6th, 2009 said:

    Hi everyone,
    This is a very interesting thread in the light of decisions I’m trying to come to on what kind of van to get…. Always loved T2’s, never owned one, mainly because of the costs of upkeep, not being mechanically minded and not having anywhere other than a london kerbside to keep and maintain one. Heard about the new ones, gulped at the price, but thought…more reliable, could be OK if I could use it as ‘daily’ wheels too and wouldn’t be running 2 cars, (now have 2 kids and looking at campers as a big car alternative). The main thing that really concerns me about this (particularly in light of the price), and is reaaally disappointing, is the comments people are making about rust. So its interesting to hear what Jason (Danbury Man) says about those destined for the UK having improved paint. That indicates that the level of imports to the UK is sufficient to make the factory think its worthwhile using better paint? Quite impressive if so. What does this involve though? I guess it will take a few years to see whether it makes a meaningful difference.
    Head says: Could get a nearasdammit new T5 for the money. Brazilian Bay would rot if left in the street for more than a couple of years, even if it was otherwise reliable.
    Heart says: So close! On paper a (relatively) fuel efficient, reliable T2. If only they had decent bodywork….

  • Steve on July 7th, 2009 said:

    HI Moondaisy,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I understand your quandary! I have been there before. The thing that put me off is the price but I would also like to know what is being different on the imported buses to stop the rust problem?

    If you heart is steering the decision, go for an classic bay, imported and restored for about £18,000. Then, with the money left over from approx £30,000 (assuming you were going to get a good spec model from Danbury) buy another reliable family car? But that is if you heart is calling the shots.

    If your head is calling the shots, then undoubtably a T5 is the better way to go! But who wants the sensible option??

    Let me know how your decision goes.


  • David on July 7th, 2009 said:
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    As requested, I have added some pics of my van to the VW camper Van Blog Flickr Group -

    Hope they are of interest.

    That is interesting to hear that you can now email Danbury technical department. I didn’t need advice, I needed parts, that’s why it was so frustrating that nobody called me back. To be honest it felt that they couldn’t be bothered with selling me bits and pieces for £30 a time when they had bigger fish to fry. But after-sales is an important part of your purchasing decision. Next time I need something, I’ll send an email and report back!

  • David on July 7th, 2009 said:


    Our van is our only vehicle, although living in London we generally tend to cycle if we’re just getting about locally. I would definitely test-drive one if you haven’t already because (obviously you would anyway before parting with cash) as even the new Danburys aren’t like driving a modern vehicle.

    So you might try one and think that as a vehicle to run down to the shops and back in it isn’t going to cut the mustard. It’s not that they are horrible to drive, but it’s much more fun on the open road than it is when you are having to reverse in and out of parking spaces and nipping about in London traffic. The steering is pretty heavy and you can’t turn around really tight corners.

    Having said that… you can’t help but have a big grin on your face when you are out and about, cruising down country lanes with the wind in your hair.

    Decisions, decisions ?

  • Danbury Man on July 8th, 2009 said:

    Hi there everyone - Just so you know we now offer ‘direct drive’ steering (modern steering) and also POWER STEERING as an option on all new model VW T2 at Danbury Motorcaravans. Just so you know we also have over 100 vehicles sold to London and the surrounding area’s that customers use every day as their main car without any problems with parking etc. But anyone feeling they might have the new power steering and direct drive option now. Most people also say to us its cheaper and more enviromental to use one car (Danbury VW) every day as their multi purpose car than to buy another car aswell. It saves 2 lots of tax, insurance, servicing, tyres etc, etc, etc. Also bear in mind the new VW T2 can also run on bio fuel aswell as unleaded petrol and has very low emmissions! Not many motorcaravans can say that or be used so easily every day in so many ways. I use mine for the school run, going to see family up and down the country, trips to the local council tip and recycling centre aswell as camping! Just got back from Glastonbury and saw over 10 Danburys before we got to the entrance so many others doing the same :-) I wouldnt have done so many miles in an old VW and I would have used at least double the amount of fuel costs aswell. It has got to be the only new car that offers so many different types of use along with modern realibility and that important FUN factor. Even I smile every time I see mine (every day) and I see hundreds at work all the time! Jason

    PS - At glastonbury whilst waiting in the traffic there was a man in a new Ferrari convertible and he nearly broke his neck looking at my new Danbury and his must of cost approx £150,000 !! No one else looked at him either and we got loads of waves and thumbs up from the other traffic too! Its a funny world!

  • David on July 8th, 2009 said:

    Hi Danbury Man

    Do you retro-fit the ability to run on bio-fuel? I’d be really interested in that.

    I will say one thing about the “fun” factor as you say… I think once you get a Danbury T2 it would be hard to go back. After we had got frustrated by our alternator giving up for the 4th time (someone had rewired the relays in error) we went to look at trading it in and buying a Passat or something… but when we looked in the showroom, it just seemed so BORING compared to our camper and decided that we’d rather carry on and work through any problems than go back to the mundane.

    And as you say, you never tire of the waves you get and the people who just come up to you in car parks and tell you how much they love your van.

    Driving a camper is an experience - maybe not for everyone - but we’re definitley hooked.

  • Danbury Man on July 8th, 2009 said:

    Hi David - Sorry you cant retro fit the new bio fuel engine in an older moder (You could but it would be cheaper to part exchange and buy a new one as it would be lots of work). The 2009 / 2010 model is vastly different with its low emmission water cooled engine, better BHP (80), improved fuel consumption, diffferent gearbox etc etc. Long term it will save £1000’s on fuel and service costs (being watercooled its smoother acceleration and you dont have aircooled tappets to adjust all the time!) The bio fuel thing will save you even more when it becomes mainstream here in the UK too. All the major fuel companies will be offering this soon and it will be far cheaper to buy than standard petrol :-)

  • David on July 8th, 2009 said:

    Hmmm - that’s really interesting. Maybe next time we’re near Bristol we should pop in and see what the options would be on part exchange.

  • Moondaisy on July 8th, 2009 said:

    Hi David,
    Thanks for the encouragement! I’ve lived in a van for 6 months before a few years back, though not in London I hasten to add…. nothing like it, even though it wasn’t a V-dub (and things like no power steering wouldn’t be too much of a concern - good for the upper body strength)!! Also, don’t use the car too much anyway, shops are walkable etc, public transport to work. Would probably use it every other day so that’s not really a problem either. It would defo be the only set of family wheels. My main concern really is the scare stories over rust, on a ‘new’ £25-£30k van - its encouraging that Danbury Man says things are improving on that front, but importers of those vans have been saying they have anti-corrosion treatment for quite a while unless I’m mistaken? How much can I prevent surface rust on a van I leave out in the street and use as a (semi) daily runner? I don’t have a garage to keep it cosy and dry in. Can Danbury Man shed any light on what the ‘improved paint’ amounts to please? Was there dialogue with the factory in Brazil about the problem?

    I’m not convinced that the biofuel thing isn’t a bit of a distraction to be honest (sorry!). They use a lot of bioethanol in Brazil so that’ll be why the engines can use both. Biofuels uptake in Europe has been slowed a fair bit after some fairly damning environmental evidence on their wider carbon / biodiversity impacts and therefore EU targets on the level of their use have been reduced a bit until 2nd generation fuels come out (I can post links to this stuff if anyone wants). Also, they are likely to be used in a blend with conventional petrol and diesel rather than another option at the pump - so to the consumer there wouldn’t be much of a discernable difference. Going forward there is simply not enough land space to grow food to feed the planet and fuel our cars too - nowhere near. Unless technologies like making it from algae grown in the oceans advance very fast… That’s not to say that the modern engines aren’t a huge efficiency / environmental improvement on the aircooled ones - to be honest that’s probably where the importers should be focusing rather than the biofuels side as its THE very legitimate selling point in itself to my mind. Having said that having an engine that is designed to run on both fuel types may mean it would be less affected by running on a fuel which is a mixture of both….I’m just guessing though.

  • Danbury Man on July 9th, 2009 said:

    Hi Moondaisy - Your right the new watercooled engines are massively lower emmissions than an old air cooled engine and nearly double the MPG too. The bio fuel side has its pro’s and con’s no doubt (with everyone having different opions too) but at least you can decide for yourself to run on either and bio fuel is generally cheaper to buy so that can help make a difference. I wouldnt worry about the VW factory paint as this was sorted a long time ago and it was only ever cosmetic anyway and weve seen no problems on the new vehicles. Bear in mind even if you spent £30k plus on a ‘restored’ old van it will ALWAYS be an old van underneath and will too rust and need looking after on a regular basis. Probably why modern cars have plastic to hide the surface rust. I know someone who has a 6 year old Mercedes with rust on all sides and the dealer refused to do the job free under warranty! If you want a daily driver fun multi purpose vehicle the new VW T2 is a fab choice and we have many many customers that live and drive in London every day (we just sold one couple their second new Danbury that live in London!) and most are parked on the street not a garage. Its all down to what you want to drive - You only live once and life is for having fun :-)

  • Moondaisy on July 9th, 2009 said:

    Just had my car nicked last night! Hmmm….that ups the ante somewhat now doesn’t it!

    Thanks Danbury Man. I’ll now get my thinking cap on good and proper. Unfortunately getting down to your neck of the woods to have a look has just got a bit harder…..

  • Danbury man on July 9th, 2009 said:

    Hi Moondaisy - Sorry to hear the bad news re getting your car stolen! We are 5 minutes from YATE train station and if you call me on 01454 310000 with the day you wish to visit I will send a car to collect you from there. Hope that helps - All the best and hopefully see you soon - Jason

  • Steve on July 9th, 2009 said:

    Thanks again for all your comments!


    Thanks for uploading the photos to the Flickr Group! I hope to publish them in an upcoming readers rides article.


    So sorry to hear about your car! Perhaps this is fate and has made your mind up for you? Get down to Danbury and take one out for a spin!

    Jason (Danbury Man),

    Thanks for your ongoing contribution to this discussion. I have to disagree with you regarding new cars and rust. My second car (after the T25) is a 1996 Toyota Starlet. Not a very ‘cool’ car but it was cheap (about £1300 3 years ago) with very low milage. Now bear in mind I spend most of my time looking after my van so I spend little to no time on the car as it is just a little run-around that we will run in to the ground. I have done nothing to it in three years (I think I have only washed it about 4 times!) and it is spotless with no rust in sight! Modern cars should simply not rust as quickly as some of the reports I have had from Brazilian Van owners.

    Don’t get me wrong, this is no reflection on you or your company as I understand you do not manufacture the vehicles, but comparing it to an old restored van sounds like you are sidestepping the issue. We all have a lot of experience with classic vans and we all know they will rust, but we expect this as they are 30+ years old. The vans you sell are not, they are brand new. I think it is great that you offer to touch in any problem areas whilst the van is in for service and I understand you are trying to look after your customers. However, I think some explanation as to what VW Brazil have changed on the new vans paintwork would go some way to comfort potential buyers rather than just telling them to ‘not worry about it’ ?


  • Moondaisy on July 10th, 2009 said:

    Thanks Jason - I will let you know if / when I decide to come down.

    Steve - that’s exactly the point I was trying to make re: rust. I’ve seen / read about rust on new Mercedes vans like Jason mentions and that’s totally inexcusable and unbelievable from a company like Merc. But that aside, in this day and age it is now commonplace to paint cars to such a quality that they don’t rust for ages - including cheap cars. The fact Merc have some rubbish bodywork on their new vans doesn’t justify anything.

    Fair enough so the majority of these new vans are made in Brazil for a relatively domestic market where the same level of anti-corrosion protection isn’t needed or demanded. They are also not made for our market and are grey imports. But, they are expensive, and very basic mechanically. To my mind (and it could probably make it up for me) this wouldn’t be an issue if there was hard and fast evidence that these things were (a) pretty bullet-proof reliability-wise (happy enough on this point I think) and (b)had similar anti-rust credentials to your average new car. Even though the general design of the vehicle is 50-odd years old, it should be possible to deliver these two things relatively easily, even if it still handles like a bath tub on wheels - that aspect I couldn’t care less about - like people say, all part of the fun.

    Warranties and offers to clean up surface rust are nice and all well and good, but certainly the latter is more ’sticking plaster’ than prevention. The 2 things that concern me with having a bus - new or old - (and a young family) are it either stranding us beside the motorway / needing constant mechanical tlc and / or it generally rotting. Thats why I’m really curious about the detail of the changes to the paint VW Brazil have made. Jason is obviously doing the best he can with what he’s got but still…

  • Danbury Man on July 10th, 2009 said:

    Hi All - I think the paint issue is going round and round in circles here…..Many thousands of vehicles are out there (all over the world) with no problems and we see many happy customers every day that have no complaints. The proof is in the pudding with the latest cars. VW now build (for us only) a UK spec vehicle that is different to the home market model specification and we have had no problems.

    If you want a daily driving VW T2 you have 2 choices only. A new reliable vehicle or an old ‘restored’ vehicle. Great that every one will have a different opinion on which is best but LONG TERM financially and also peace of mind we and all our customers believe new is the way to go. ALL cars can have surface rust after years of use and if you take off the plastic trim / bumper on most modern ‘box’ cars you will see it (ask any body repair shop). The design of a VW T2 doesnt have plastic (thank god!) hiding this but simple washing and waxing helps prevent cosmetic marks or stone chip damage developing on either old or new but one thing an old car isn’t (whatever you do and however much money you keep spending) is to be a new car underneath. This is why nearly every old VW has had lots of welding done underneath. Also there is a massive difference in engine, gearbox, emmissions and economy between old and new. This makes a big difference to how much money you spend on the vehicle in your lifetime of ownership and also the enviromental impact you have.

    Moondaisey: You have to consider what you want from a car and if you want a modern boring car covered in plastic or a old or new VW T2 and have what many NEW VW T2 customers say to us is ‘the best car we have ever owned along with a massive fun factor! We love our ‘bus’ and would never sell it!’

    Its the owners words we keep hearing….not ours :-)

    Old or new (if you buy a VW T2) I’m sure you’ll have great fun and enjoy it. Its all down to personal choice and time / hassle factor. Good luck

  • David on July 10th, 2009 said:

    Just to say, my 2003 Danbury doesn’t have any rust issues. Not that I’ve noticed at least. It was serviced last month and they didn’t mention rust either. I’ve had a few mechanical problems but it’s now 6 years old so you’d expect some with any car.

  • Moondaisy on July 10th, 2009 said:

    Fair do’s guys. I shan’t bang on any more! I’m really grateful for all the discussion - it does help the decision-making process!

  • David on July 10th, 2009 said:

    Moondaisy - whereabouts in London are you? I’m in Wandsworth SW18 - you’d always be welcome to come round and look at ours… have a look at the bodywork and see what it’s like inside etc

  • Danbury Man on July 10th, 2009 said:

    Moondaisey - Just to say I’m off on holiday for 2 weeks so hope you get sorted and if you need to contact Danbury please use the main switch board 01454 310000 for any sales questions or help and advice. Simon (the general manager) - although very busy - is a lovely chap and will do all his best to help you.

    David - Thanks for the offering Moondisey the chance to look at your 6 year old rust free car. The VW community is a very special one and the genuine people in it really do go out of their way to look after each other :-) It makes the world a better place and also the VW shows lots of fun to go to!

  • Moondaisy on July 11th, 2009 said:

    Hi David, Thanks for the offer, that’s really kind. I’m right oop north, but I’ll give you a shout at some point probably. Also going to hopefully get some cheap wheels this weekend so will be mobile again, and Jason, I’m heading Bristol way both next month and September so can come by Danbury then hopefully.
    Cheers all, have a good weekend.

  • Rick on July 11th, 2009 said:

    Like the bio-fuel idea though not any use in the UK in general at the moment. Don’t really buy the ‘green’ idea of the Brazilian models though. They might do 15mpg more but what about all the thousands of tons of pollution it has taken to produce the new versions as well as more of the earth’s natural resources?. Every university study conducted has concluded that the most ‘green’ vehicle is the one that has been well maintained for many years, even The Green Party has said you should keep your current vehicle for as long as possible instead of trading it in for a new greener model…..just a thought!. I also can’t imagine anyone that can afford a £20,000 plus van whether a classic or a new one is going to worry about fuel consumption, for those figures you could buy Porche’s, E-Type Jaguar’s and Roller’s so these people are not short of a few quid. The mechanics of the classic bus are really basic so although they do need much tinkering if you have a workshop manual and a basic toolkit you can fix most things yourself with a bit of thought and I’m no mechanic and most parts are still really cheap too compared to modern euroboxes even recon engines. If you have any modern vehicle instead of paying the garage bill automatically ask what their hourly rate is, few charge less than £50 per hour these days, main dealers getting close to £100 per hour, most will not want to tell you. I must say however it is nice to still see such an icon still been made, wish more manufacturers made their classics instead of the bland silver boxes made now that nobody knows how to fix….have van will travel…..

  • Sasha on July 11th, 2009 said:

    Rick - Not all new VW owners are rich! If you half what you spend on fuel and own the car for many years that not only saves a fortune but also emmits loads less emmissions too. I also bought my new Danbury because the monthly cost on finance was simular to a ‘normal’ car but I wanted the smiley fun factor and a campervan. The argument about making a new VW T2 is also lost when you compare the fuel and emmission levels over the years and the fact that old ones have a lot of repairs, welding and paint work done on a regular basis that itself is polluting. I read somewhere that an old car is 10 times worse on pollution than a new one with a catalytic convertor exhaust and a cleaner engine. Your right about service costs though and you should always get a quote for work first. I had some scarey bills when I had my old one! When I had my servicing done with my new VW at Danbury they have a fixed price service schedule that included all parts and labour so it was nice to know what it would cost with no nasty surprises. Peace and Love - Sasha x

  • Rick on July 11th, 2009 said:

    Sasha: Anyone who spends £20-30 thousand on a T2 or any vehicle for that matter is rich or at least more than comfortable, you can buy a terraced house in the north for not much more at the moment, my T2 was £4000 and I struggled with that. Mind you I do not do finance I have to admit, but its about £400 per month for the new one with a huge deposit so it far more than a ‘normal car’ would be unless your version of a normal car is an S type Jag/Merc or similar, I know I considered it not too long ago, very tempting with that shiny paint, just couldn’t live with the interior so thought again. Perhaps I’m just poorer than I think.I’m not sure where you read old cars are ten times poorer than a car with a ‘Cat’ regarding emmisions but I’d love to read it if you can post the details, so myelf and Sheffield university can contact them with straight facts and figures, perhaps all the university studies that have been done over the last couple of years and the Green Party are wrong and you are right? Don’t forget ‘cats’ don’t even work until the engine is properly hot so on runs under 3-4 miles they’re a waste of money except for the manufacturers and on diesels as any MOT tester will tell you they do not work at all, its a marketing gimick, and a cat doesn’t make a huge difference otherwise there would not be a enviromental problem with transport. Have you actually conducted any research?. When I was at Uni’ we got a new BMW Mini and compared the emissions to a 1992 classic Mini Cooper with a reconditioned 1275 engine and running gear, the new Mini won on emisssions by only a small amount but when compared over a period of twenty years the old car had a much lower impact on the earth. Road tax is free on many classic T2’s and insurance is usually little over £100 fully comp unless you’re really young. I have spent £2215 in four years on my ‘71 this includes a bit of bodywork, insurance, road tax, a full respray and general servicing. It does 25 mpg on a run, not 15mpg as some have reported they must have lead feet or dead engines, mines a lightly tuned 1641 if that makes any difference and it is happy to cruise at 70mph though fuel consumption suffers if you do, 60-65 does me nicely,I doubt very much if anyone is actually getting 40mpg out of any petrol camper in daily use, VW or not, they are heavy and not even slightly aerodynamic and if you look at the same engine fitted to VW saloons they aren’t making that in daily use so why would something heavier and built like a brick? If I’m honest I doubt anyone with a strong enviromental opinion would buy a Camper whether a new one or old, petrol or diesel they all drink fuel, it depends what you campare it to. Don’t forget fixed-price servicing only applies when the vehicles fairly new, once its a few years old it will be rusting, engine will need rebuilding, cats rust, idle control valves fail and electronics will no doubt play up at extreme cost and that needs computers to sort, all this will cost you more to fix than an aircooled, plus the modern T2 will be loosing you shed loads of cash every year where as the classic will be gaining cash, someone offered me £5000 for mine at a the old dubfest last year, wouldn’t part with it for love nor money mind, just a matter of pure economics to me. Not having a go, I love any vehicle with character, wish they’d loose that front end though, best of luck with it in the future, lets see how it does….oh well back to servicing the ‘68 Mini now that’ll be another tenner!!!

  • Al on July 13th, 2009 said:

    Hi all
    Interesting read from everyone. I have a 57 plate Danbury which I am very happy with but circumstances are forcing me to sell. Any ideas of the best way? Fleabay doesn’t appear to have been a success for many so far judging by comments above?!!

  • lou on July 19th, 2009 said:

    You could sell it to me!?

  • Danbury Man on July 24th, 2009 said:

    Hi Al - We sell used Danbury’s on customers behalf if needed and always have great demand for these. Call me on 01454 310000 Wed-Fri 9am-4pm. Regards-Jason

  • Volkspares on July 24th, 2009 said:

    Hello All,
    Write to us for any information about your VW,Audi,skoda or any Volkswagen Car.

  • David on July 27th, 2009 said:

    Ha! After writing about how great it’s been - we’ve hit a problem with our 2003 Danbury. So, it’s been having issues starting, getting progressivley worse: it feels as if the engine is flooded, where you have to crank it for longer and longer until it finally splutters into life. Once it’s going it seems OK.

    Anyway, over the last week I’ve had to push-start it a couple of times and, well as you can imagine, that’s far from ideal - especially as we are going on a camping trip on Friday. So, booked it into a specialist camper van garage who said that they don’t understand what is wrong with it and that we should try and get Danbury to see if they have any idea what could be wrong. So I’m under a bit of time pressure now to try and get this sorted.

    I called Danbury’s technical department but they are closed for lunch. In the meantime I have emailed them and will call back later.

    I’ll report back here on my progress. I’m alarmed that a VW Camper specialist can’t work out the problem is, though. Surely these things are technically fairly straight-forward?

  • David on July 28th, 2009 said:

    OK - so my wife spoke to Danbury yesterday afternoon. They came up with a couple of likely suggestions and offered to book it in at short notice in their workshop in Bristol if the local garage couldn’t fix it.

    Fortunately the local garage has managed to fix it: they had assumed that the tappets were automatically reset, which apparently isn’t the case and they need checking every 3-5,000 miles. The garage is a specialist but usually only works on the older vans and hadn’t seen many new imports.

    But - the upshot is that, thanks to Danbury, our van is now fixed and we can go away and the fact that they offered to book it in at short notice if all else failed gave me a ot of confidence in the after-sales support.

  • Danbury Man on July 29th, 2009 said:

    Hi - David - Im back from holiday and just read the blog. Good news that its all sorted out for you now. Im surprised the local garage did’nt know the engine service requirements? All the older aircooled models must have their tappets done evry 5000 miles max and they must be set when the engine is stone cold. The new bio fuel watercooled version now fitted by VW in all new VW T2 models does’nt need this adjustment. Any other help please just let us know. Jason.

  • Giles N on July 29th, 2009 said:

    really interested to know how you get on , have Danbury replied, we’re considering buying an ‘03 Danbury and have wondered about the engine..

  • Sasha on August 3rd, 2009 said:

    Giles - Having owned one I would suggest you look at buying the newer water cooled engine Danbury camper. That way you wont have ‘tappet’ problems and do more miles per gallon too. Especially if you are going to buy a camper and keep it a long time, it will end up paying for itself in the long run. Far better power too! My boss has just looked into getting one on finance and it worked out at £60 ish a week and will save him £20 a week in fuel over running an older one. Thought you might be interested in this comparison he did. Good luck either way! You’ll love the freedom it gives. Sasha X

  • Nigel on August 3rd, 2009 said:

    Hi all

    Just found this article and impressed. We own a 2005 brazilian - but while originally from danbury it was not converted by them we bought it used 4000k on the clock from snailtrail who fitted a vanwurks interior and we had a pete o’ conner westy style roof fitted.

    One of the reasons we bought it was because we live in belgium, but are brits and importing any classic vehicle into belgie is a nightmare. However it has also been a nightmare trying to get the brazilian in: Basically the probloem is that it doesnt have a tare weight plate (Danbury have said none of the aircooled had) so as far as Belgium is concerned it contravenes EEc regulations - have now reregistered it back in the UK but even that was not easy again because of lack of a Tare weight late DVLA could not uderstand how it had originally got through SVA - and I am from swansea so it was not just the DVLA talking to jo public but a good mate of mine who does this every day.

    Anyway that is a besides - as far as rust is concerned we have the odd bit of surface tarnish in the gutter area on the white top half but it comes straight off with polish. there are other moisture traps in the design as there has always been which a modern press formed body does not have . Also a lot of modern plastic cowling is designed to shed water. But it is true what Danbury man says that does not mean modern cars do not have rust areas just slightly ewer and often hidden. The steel used by VW brazil is good quality, we have a few deep paint chips that show no sign of rust on the doors and front end. but piant does seem a bit thin on gutters and rear valence edges

    Other than that we have no problem with rust

    Reliability: last year during a 6000 k trip round europe al sorts of things went wrong
    Electrical problems from the split relay set up and fitting but that had nothing to do with Danbury but was what seemed a rushed job by who ever fitted it for snailtrail. That was exasperated by a starting problem that we though was linked to the electrics but turned out to be a compression problem. We experience the same problems that David has had unable to start unless turning the engine over for ages.

    we limped back to belgium and luckily our local VAG service centre did the engine service and sorted it out. But then that is another story. To get VAG service centres/dealers to even look at it is almost impossible. Been turned away in 5 different countries and have first hand experience of a guy on the same camp site as us with a total flex (water cooled) danbury being told in a VW dealer in france that he may as well scrap the van as all VAG Europe dealers have been told by VAG Hanover not to touch them as they are grey imports. this was a main dealer not a concession and I was stood there when it was said.

    Interesting to note what Danbury man has said. We where under the impression that the aircooled had hydraulic lifters not manual so shouldn’t need adjusting every 5000. Can Danbury man confirm either way????

    As far as what is best to buy - even with the possibility of a respray to our 5 year old aircooled, which we will only do because we want a different colour. Our van is Auto Glym lifeshined in the same way that I would do if I had spent 30k on any vehicle . Merc have their own version which they recommend for all new vehicles as an optional extra so yes merc’s do rust. Jaguar and most top of range vehicle manufacturers recommend some sort of after purchase seal and polish treatment.

    So the idea of brazil’s rusting is not really a problem you just need to treat it like any other kind of 30k plus car. And that also means a good underseal and cavity fill. Not just waxoyl but waxoyl pro hard wax or dinitrol done professionally .

    We have just done another 6000k this summer at an average speed of about 60 mph. This included a 1275km drive back to belgium in one go when we thought we had a valve problem. Our mechanic who services lots of classic VW didnt mention that we did nt have hydraulic lifters, we even chatted about the problems of a jammed lifter. It wasnt a jammed lifter it ws the exhaust which is the only piece of real crap steelo on the entire build, a baffle in the left muffler had rusted through internally and was rattling on start up. Incidentally in spain we met a german guy with a 79 westy. He worked for VW development and had worked on the last aircooled combis in soa paulo. He was part of the design team trying to get the aircooled to euro 4 (emissions) and said that the exhaust of the aircooled was possibly the worst made bit of pipework VW had ever come up with and was meant as nothing more than a stop gap. He also confirmed that the gear box was under engineered - based on the idea that in their day to day use in brazil they would get end up stripped no mater what so can only handle 90 newtons torque.

    Anyway back to the point the one thing about the new and this includes the aircooled brazilians is that they are not 30 year old steel. Our floor pan still carries a Thyssens batch number. This is a consistent product world wide that is 30 years worth of research better than even the best 1970’s german steel. So when we do need a respray we will be laying down high zinc content paints on to a very stable low corrosion (compared to 30 year old steel) base.

    The brazilian engines are good - a “new” old bus engine is going to be built on a mexico or brazil block. Digifant (fuel injection) is a pain but that is only because you cant do as much yourself as you could to a dizzy and carb set up. The box is slightly suspect but a rebuild can even happen on the best new recon boxes (yes a brand new motorhome would not have this as a problem but then how many people know of the problems PSA and fiat have had with their boxes recently)

    At the end of the day a brazilian bus is an expensive option but is just that an option … it isnt for everyone.. but for those who they suit and that even includes the wasser brasil they do what it says on the can. Why is the new fiat 500 so popular and until VAG Hanover rea;ise that there is a market for a really well conceived microbus revival well then the boys from brazil will be pulling teeth

  • Danbury Man on August 5th, 2009 said:

    Hi Nigel - In answer to your question. The older aircooled Brazilian models have manually adjusted tappets (not hydraulic). These need to be adjusted to ‘6 thou’ on the feeler gauge with the engine stone cold. Hope this helps. Jason

  • Nigel on August 5th, 2009 said:

    Thanks Jason
    Actually just spoke to Matt in your workshop who explained the differences on the proceedure compared to a stock german with a contact dizzy

    Just one question though in the combi manual - (actual read the engine spec today and would have realised manual lifters if I had done it before) it states the adjustment as .1 mm which is more like 4/1000 (0.0039″) of an inch rather than the standard .15 in German engines

    though I reckon my .1 is probably more like .12 by the time it is all back tight

    Given the number of Brazilians about and coming up for sale in camper and bus etc it may be worth Danbury re-iterating the manual lifter issue in say volksworld or camper and bus

    From experience on the continent all VAG dealers and even specialist classic VW garages assume that they are going to be hydraulics as per mexicans or most FI late bays as well

    I actually checked this morning with my local VAG who are surprisingly good mainly because they have a couple of bug nuts as workshop managers and they said they would automatically assume that any FI late bay was going to be hydraulics. I am quite lucky they will even call up my engine on the VAG service system - where engine part numbers come up. Seems all VAG europe have access to this but most will deny it.

    Anyway back to danbury. Like I have said talking to Matt this morning was very useful and he was quite happy to take a second call just so I could check.. many thanks

  • Steve on August 9th, 2009 said:

    After a visit to Danbury in Bristol on Friday we left, with mixed feelings about them. We drove for 3 hours from the North West after making an appointment only to be greeted by Jason who took our details and rushed us through the pricing process. We then explained that it was our first visit to them and that we would like a test drive, a good look around at the van’s then we would go back home and sort out finances out. With the intention’s back down to sort out placing an order in a week or so . On telling Jason this he immediatly lost interest and made some excuse that he had to go and sort a customer out who was going to pick up a vehicle. Told us that we needed to act quick otherwise we faced a £6000 (!!) price rise, then just left us there on our own (Me, my wife and 4 year old Jack)

    I chirped up that actually we “did” come all this way down for a test drive. This seemed to be to much trouble as well and he reluctantly agreed, leaving us with his Production Manager, Mike. Mike couldn’t do enough, he took me out in the demo T2 and we chatted as he showed me the ropes, then I drove it back on the return leg which I totally loved.

    Whilst Danbury conversions do seem fantastic their customer liason appears to be a bit lacking unless you goto them waving £50000 in used £20 notes around. I know that Danbury can shift T2’s on looks alone to the wealthy people but to the rest of us who are a bit more careful on how they spend over £30000 they just are not interested.

    It left us with a sour taste in our mouths. I doubt we will return to them for out T2, We are going to try VWdownunder next week. Wish us luck.

  • Sara on August 10th, 2009 said:

    Great article…..thanks!

  • Eddy on August 10th, 2009 said:

    Steve (of 9th Aug),

    I really wish you luck, I purchased a brazilian bay from Paul of vwdownunder earlier this year(see my earlier post of 11th June). Paul was and continues to be very helpful and i must say I have been very happy with the finished product “bessy blue”. I underwent a lot of justification to myself to convince myself that i was doing the right thing (e.g. the money/the old technology/new model versus old/original etc. etc. just has many folk have discussed the pros and cons in some of the previous blogs), however looking back just i personally wish i had done it much sooner! (as i had been considering purchasing a bay for several years). Also I too have a 4 year old son who just wants to ride around in her all the time.

    once again good luck and hope you finding what you want,



  • Danbury man on August 11th, 2009 said:

    Hi Steve - Re your visit: Sorry you felt rushed (we were very busy and short staffed that day due to sickness with some staff!) We also did have some customers just turn up with no appointments and also some ‘hand overs’ so it was a manic day for all. I m glad you were looked after by Mark though and enjoyed your drive! Please bear in mind you only get the back up and also the 3 year warranty when you buy from Danbury. We are also the only company that offer right hand drive from new with new parts. Its no excuse though that you felt rushed and every customer is very important to us regardless of what or how they spend with us. I dont remember anyone saying they wanted more time on the day? Please feel free to call me Wed - Fri if you wish to discuss in further detail or ask any other questions and I will do my very best to help you (pre VW price increase hopefully!). We really do try our best to ‘keep the legend alive’ and build a VW community so look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks - Jason

  • Steve on August 11th, 2009 said:

    Jason - First off sorry for getting the names wrong. I think it was Daniel that saw us not yourself, so apologies for that.

    We did have plenty of time to look around but were left on our own to just wander around after the test drive. bit poor if you ask me for someone who had made an appointment as we had lots of questions..

    Don’t get me wrong though your vans are superb. Just a shame about the initial experience and the impending £6k (!!) price hike.

    Thanks for taking time out to reply that means a lot.

    Eddy - Have already spoke to Paul at VW Downunder and he gave me your phone number said I could call to see what you thought of your van. I’ve held off doing so, but would like to chat to someone with one. If it’s ok could I give you a tinkle in the next couple of days?.. Small world huh?

  • eddy on August 11th, 2009 said:

    no problem, give me a call when you are ready,

  • Steve on August 12th, 2009 said:

    Thanks again to everyone for getting involved with such a good discussion!

    Jason (Danbury Man),

    Thanks for continually responding to the questions here. I am sure a lot of the people commenting here find this very useful so thanks.


    Good point about keeping your vehicle for as long as possible rather than trading it in for a ‘greener’ model - I have not thought of it in that way.


    Thanks for keeping us updates regarding your van and the problems with it. Glad you have got it sorted!


    I would try and get yourself a job with Danbury on the PR side of things, I am sure they could do with someone like you championing their products. You should be on commission at the very least!!


    Thanks for your detailed comment. It is great to get genuine feedback from Danbury owners!


    The price increase is worrying - if your thinking of getting one get in their quick!


    No problem - glad you found it useful!


    A lot of people have said the same of VW Downunder. I have heard good things!

    Again, thanks to everyone who has contributed here!


  • Jessi on August 28th, 2009 said:

    Dear All,
    Two weeks ago I ordered a new Danbury T2 and am very excited to think its being converted as i write well i hope so!
    Anyway, its been very interesting reading the discussion on new vs old. I had this debate with myself but decided that realiblity is key esepcially using the van everyday for commuting to work.The new van will be brillaint i can surf, mountain, walk whatever and know that i got my new home on wheels to warm up in after!
    I was worried that I may get some grief from the VW scene but its perfect for me and i suppose thats what matters.
    All the comments have reassured me that i have made a good choice.
    Cheers xx

  • Indolental on September 2nd, 2009 said:

    I wish this blog has existed in 2007/08 when we were going through the same decision making process.

    In the end we went for a Brazilian because ultimately we want it as a working campervan rather than a beautiful show piece that would require time I don’t have to keep it mint.

    We went with Danbury because they seemed to be the only provider at the time.

    The van is an 08 and has no rust (and we live half a mile from Brighton seafront). We do keep it under cover and well waxed and I do keep on top of the rain gutter sitation with rust inhibitor if ever I see surface rust starting to form.

    I wish we’d known about VW Downunder when we were buying because having seen their conversions they are fantastic - much more sympathetic and of higher quality than the Danbury ones.

    Our post-purchase experience of Danbury has been fairly negative - I agree with other comments that you get a response from them quickly if you have money in your hand but have never had a call returned as an owner with a query. We just don’t use them for anything now - we have found local places for servicing/parts etc.

    We had one problem early on, which I’ve heard has happened to other owners. Our gear stick snapped off at the base after only one month. It cost quite a lot to put right. Having spoken to others it seems to affect right-hand drive conversions. My suspicion is that Danbury bend the heft-hand drive gearstick (in a vice perhaps) so it leans over to the right rather than replace it with a right-hand gearstick. This creates a weakness in some of the gearsticks, causing them to snap. I heard one story of someone hiring a Danbury from Snail Trail trail and the stick snapped off outside his house. (Snail Trail were very good about it he said).

    Having discovered VW Downunder we have set about bringing the standard of our van up from the Danbury level. We have replaced the pop-top roof with a Westy style one (it’s fantastic) and had the dash painted. We are also having the horrible pine-effect floor replaced and a roof lining added. Paul at Downunder has done a great job (although be warned - he is very busy). We will keep the Danbury units because they are perfectly functional, even if they don’t look as good as retro-style ones we’ve seen since.

    I have no regrets at all about going Brazilian and we’ve had no negative experiences from owners of classic vans (and I owned a new style mini when they first came out so I know about snotty treatment from owners of classic vehicles). The kids love it and we know it’s less likely to break down than a classic (even a high end restored one is still 30 years old). I’d love to own an old one and show it - but that’s not why we own our van.

    My advice to prospective buyers? Look at VW Downunder and not just Danbury so you can make a choice. Don’t buy the Danbury roof rack - it costs a fortune and isn’t as good as the version we bought from VW Heritage, which did fit. Watercooled is lovely and quiet and efficient. No one likes the grill but if you go for a white strip grill above it draws the eye up. Personally I think the fake wheel covers are a waste of time aesthetically and morally - the van is what it is.

    Erm, that’s it. We love our van!

  • Nigel on September 3rd, 2009 said:

    Hi Indolental

    We have a westy style roof from oconnors and a vanwerks interior (same as the vwdownunder) but in a 05 aircooled. We have had no issues with rust either, however our issues are mainly with the westy roof and interior. We love our interior and it has done two 7 week round europe stints each 6000k plus with 2 adults a 7 y old and 2.5 y old well actually for last year knock a year of each kid.

    Our interior is now has many bad edge chips - mainly because the edging is hand bonded and so very brittle - during this winter I am going to take the entire units apart rand cut t channel groves to add reimo style alu edge

    Also the raw edges of the units bottom back and side edges are not sealed so with water slpash have now sucked up and spread but hey that is minor and was fixed when i had all the units out this year to add floor insulation and a new 10mm floor. Also the units are quite heavy being fibre board and wil I guess be eventually replaced by self designed and built units out of vohringer will probably half the mass.

    the roof is another matter - and I am not sure if the vwdowns are the same as trhe oconnors - ours held in place on 30mm square section mild steel side rails. these are obviously under the header and cant be seen. but are an amazing moisture trap. especially as the outer bottom canvas seal depends on a hand applied silicon bead. This over time has lifted and so we know get a compression damp spot through the canvas in heavy which rain. Also as all fittings are pop riveted into place exposed rivets tend to attract rust into them. But the biggest problem is the bud up of internal moisture in the mild steel square section and inside the roof cutout frame. neither on ours are painted so only by chance of me altering the headliner tp take a new light did i find the internal rust. A it was a SOB to fix with rust converter and waxoyl pro.

    The other rust traps that appears to get overlooked when a vanwurks interior is fitted and maybe even when a danbury is fitted are the trim liners behind the units these are not sealed on the edges so will allow splash water that runs down the back of the units in to collect inside them. Again by the chance of removing the units to fit a new floor was this noticed. Cured with woxyl and fitting a waterproof membrane from the window edges to the floor and under the units. UV stable white pool liner is great for this and can be hidden under a unit - window edge strip courtesy of IKEA

    Apart from roof and unit problems which now I know of are cured our van “daphne” has been a great buy

    We do get snobbery sometimes but mainly from british van owners. As we live in Belgium in the summer we meet mainly french, dutch, german and spanish van owners and they think it is great that brits have access to new T2s

  • dave cleland on September 5th, 2009 said:

    We have an air cooled Danbury van

  • Danbury Man on September 9th, 2009 said:

    After reading some of the comments above heres some interesting facts: Danbury are often classed as having the best QUALITY interior’s because of the length of time this interior has been produced by Danbury aswell as the fact that Danbury interiors are very high quality MOISTURE RESISTANT LIGHT WEIGHT furniture and have PVC edging that is applied with a special machine that applies 3/4 tonne of pressure so will not peel off again (not brittle stick on edging that chips). Not at all like the Vanwurks/VW Downunder interiors. Danbury are also the ONLY company that can convert a new Brazilian VW T2 to right hand drive using new parts and do not currently ‘bend’ gearsticks over but actually change this with a right hand drive NEW part. Being the largest supplier of new VW T2 campers in the UK (and the world!) Danbury have vast experience in what they do that cannot be replicated so easily by others. Danbury are also the only official supplier of new VW T2 Danbury campers in the UK and use UK spec vehicles only with a 3 year warranty (not Brazilian spec vehicles like VW Downunder do) . Danbury are also the only company to stock over £500,000 worth of dedicated parts stock and 30 - 40 fully trained staff to support customers. Over £3 million was also invested a few years ago into new production facilities so Danbury are here to stay and have stayed and invested in the UK economy and support many many UK jobs. I hope this clarifies that unlike a lot of small businesses in the VW scene that seem to be here one minute then gone the next that Danbury are here to stay and support their often loyal customer base. No business gets it right every time and massive growth has caused ‘growing pains’ in the past but as funds allow Danbury are continually investing in more staff and training to keep up with demand and are always looking forward as a modern, professional UK business that makes many people’s dreams a reality. A recent addition of another extra service mechanic and an extra two BRAND NEW service loan cars that are FREE to use for service or bodyshop customers has also just happened aswell as an extra member of staff in the parts department that offers nationwide delivery from STOCK of most parts to all existing Danbury customers. I hope this clarifies what Danbury can offer and the high quality interior conversions that 1000’s of existing customers enjoy.

  • Indolental on September 9th, 2009 said:

    Whoa Danbury Man - DEFENSIVE much?

    I’m glad to hear you don’t ‘currently’ bend gearsticks. Do you supply RHD gear sticks to previous RHD conversion customers?

  • Danbury Man on September 9th, 2009 said:

    Hi Indolental - Yes our parts department offer RHD gearsticks. Call Jason on 01454 310000 if you want one. We aren’t ‘defensive’ just stating facts and answering questions asked previously :-)

  • David on September 9th, 2009 said:

    Hi Danbury Man

    Just to be clear: we have a 2003 Danbury coversion. Never had a problem with the gearstick, but are you saying that back then they were the original LHD sticks that were bent into shape? If so, should we replace it? Would hate to be abroad or something and the gearstick snaps…

    Many thanks


  • Danbury Man on September 9th, 2009 said:

    Hi David - My records dont go back that far so cant tell what type of stick you have or what fitter did the conversion. We can deliver nationwide next day or even worldwide should you ever need parts so I wouldn’t change anything that doesn’t need it. If your ever passing by our way or booked in for a service just ask us to look at it for you (this will be free) and we can advise you then. All the best and hope your well - Jason

  • Nigel on September 12th, 2009 said:

    Dear all.

    Just a word of support for danbury’s service - as I have said above we have a 2005 late danbury aircooled. Not converted by danbury for the simple reason when bought it 2007 Danbury did not have a “used” none roofed aircooled in stock. We wanted a westy style roof. However since then I have needed to contact danbury a few times and while there have been times I have had to hold this happens with other companies as well. Danbury have always been very courteous even though I did not buy directly from them and where possible have helped. I still disagree with them that pre water cooled should also carry a tare plate as required under EU rules which the Uk should adhere to (but then I live in belgium and they still have red number plates which are technically EU illegal).

    When I have had a service problem, given that i can not get back to the UK for Danbury to service it they have been very helpful - especially Matt in the workshop who even spent 15 minutes talking me through a procedure that was totally different from a non fuel injected aircooled - and another time confirming that digifant read out codes were actually showing me hat I thought they were(check out - a site for fi mexican beetles but a useful resources for brazilbuses as well though with caution about the differences between mex and braz engines)

    I have not had to call on Danbury for parts but then I live 6 Km from BBT and am lucky enough to also have a sympathetic VAG dealer near by who has called me up suitable parts from the european VAG stock - lots of none body and engine parts used on Brazilians are golf/jetta parts as well.

    But I can imagine that with the apparent demand that there is for the watercooled. We went to dub freeze and were amazed to see as many as we did. That Danbury maybe don’t always get it right but it is very rare for a company to get it right all the time. I currently have a hate relationship for justkampers, they wanted me to pay delivery twice to belgium for a part that wasn’t even delivered the first time - but it doesnt mean for everyone else they are not a great service.

    My biggest gripe so far and not really with danbury but maybe something danbury and vwheritage (cause thats who downunder really are) please please please somebody make a stainless exhaust for an aircooled brazilian that does not mean mean having to think about having to biuld one myself — arrrgggghhhh

  • David on September 14th, 2009 said:

    I’m buying an awning for my 2003 Danbury - does anyone know what sort of fitting I need? Is it a figure of 8, or something else?

  • Indolental on September 15th, 2009 said:

    Hi David

    After much trial and error we found the website who sell 2 types of fitting that both work

    1. A figure of eight along with some grip-track that you cut into 3 cm lengths to make the figure of 8 grip the rain gutter tightly

    2. A much more robust pole and clamp set - we use this and it has held the awning to the van in 50mph gales.

    As for awnings - we first bought a Nomad explorer, which we didn’t rate. We now have a Khyam motordome - which is brilliant in every respect

  • David on September 15th, 2009 said:

    Wow - thanks so much. I’ve been looking at Khyams too. It sounds as if the pole and clamp set are best. Will look at fishbrain - thanks again.


  • Eddy on September 15th, 2009 said:


    I too used the pole and clamp system(together with a Kyham Motordome sleeper) and it held rigidly, so much so that in strong winds it considerably rocked the camper without breaking free. If you do go pole and clamp then I suggest a few small pieces of extra material placed where the clamps connect, to help protect the awning sleeve from chaffing (as mine did slightly)in stronger winds.

    Like Indolental I also rate the kyham, it is easy (and reasonably quick)to erect, however I have noticed that the awning connection material does let some fine drops of water through after it has been wet for some time. Might look to see if i can get some spray proofing or something silmilar)for next time.

    best regards,


  • Andy on September 15th, 2009 said:

    I’m interested in getting a Brazilian (ooer!) but had heard mixed reviews about the RHD conversion - aside from the gearstick issue which Danbury appear to have sorted by using proper RHD sticks.

    On another forum I’ve heard that one the RHD conversion the air vent/demister flaps are no longer connected therefore non-working, and also the driving position is offset with the pedals and steering wheel offset to the left. Can anyone confirm or reassure?

    Also, why doesn’t Danbury offer a Dinitrol cavity underseal option, that would then ease the rust issues that seem to be around.


  • Andy on September 15th, 2009 said:
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    Have also noticed that one company in Essex can do a plumbed-into-coolant heater system, that exists through the kickboard at the front of the rear seat/bed, and has a 3 speed dashboard control. That sounds like a must-have. Take a look at: There is also a Kph->MPH speedo conversion, etc. If Danbury of VWDownunder could incorporate some of these it would be a good package. Perhaps also a ‘German gearbox’ option…?

    I’m just pondering, and doing as much research as I can before I take the plunge.

    Plus I echo the earlier good idea from Nigel, for stainless exhausts, as I’ve heard that the mild steel disintegrates in no time at all.

    Also just wondering, perhaps Danbury Man might explain the difference between their ‘UK spec’ van and the ‘Brazilian spec’ that other companies offer? Am very curious.

    Sorry.. taken up a lot of space here..


  • indolental on September 16th, 2009 said:

    Hi Andy

    We’ve got the RHD Danbury conversion. It’s OK but I don’t really have anything to compare it with.

    The vents are no longer connected and the driving position is offset. Also the steering is very vague, with lots of play. I just put up with all this as a ‘feature’. The people who service our van weren’t that impressed but consider it safe enough. It’s definitely something on my future upgrade list.

    Thanks for the heating tip - I think VW Downunder do something similar. We have the Danbury under dash fan heater - again it’s OK but a bit noisy.

    Our exhaust is a year old and definitely on the way out - I would welcome a stainless steel replacement if anyone knows a supplier

  • Danbury Man on September 16th, 2009 said:
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    Hi All - Danbury offer a stainless steel exhaust option for both water and air cooled models. A heater on all watercooled models is also standard from Danbury. The old air vents on the dash stay on LHD cars but its in the way for RHD conversion so removed (but you still have the main front door side windows and the 1/4 light small windows for ventilation). Our UK spec models are built differently to the home market models and have different paint quality, seating and lighting amongst others. We are also now taking orders for the new 2010 model with many excellent modifications from the 2009 model with a high level rear brake light, speed sensor moved from wheel to gearbox, revised grille, speedo and fuel injection system to name a few. We also have a batch of cars at ‘old’ 2009 price to avoid any potential price rise you can order now for delivery anytime in the next 12 months by calling 01454 310000 or visiting there is also a low rate finance scheme available (subject to status) with deposit starting at just £1000 and if needed we offer part exchange on any vehicle aswell. Hope this info helps everyone :-)

  • Andy on September 16th, 2009 said:

    Thanks Danbury Man! You’re doing a grand job of fielding queries here. Perhaps it’s a facility you could offer on your website? But anyway, thanks for loitering here.


  • Indolental on September 16th, 2009 said:

    Hi Danbury man

    It would be good to hear prices for retro fitting 2010 model upgrades to previous watercooled models

  • Danbury Man on September 17th, 2009 said:

    Hi Indolental : 2010 upgrades are not available for earlier models sorry. Danbury Direct Drive steering (modern precise rack and pinion steering) and also power steering is now available as an option on all new model orders for those who prefer. Yet another great option for Danbury customers! See our web site brochure for more info :-)

  • Tim on September 17th, 2009 said:

    I’ve owned my ‘04 Danbury Rio since May. I’ve replaced the starter motor - it cost me 55 quid from JK. The so called “stainless steel” lifetime exhaust fitted by the previous owner was junk so I replaced it with an original VW Brazilian supplied by Heritage. Bit pricey, but it fits perfectly and the bus runs smoothly.

    I contemplated spending an equal amount on a restored van but the place for such vehicles is in the concours ring at shows not down at the beach. My Brazibay runs great, looks great and is a pleasure to own. I have thrown gallons of Waxoyl at it as I intend to keep it - period.

    I’ve started a Facebook group for owners/enthusiasts of the Brazilian made Bay - whether air or water cooled - the group’s growing by the day.

  • jay on October 4th, 2009 said:

    anyone out there in vw land that can give ma any information on the 1975 Pop Top camper engine its an 1800 but the engine number is APO49414 and all i can find out about it is thats its a european model only but i found mine on a country property in Queensland Australia its head is blown and am having a great deal of trouble finding a replacement for it. ant info would b greatly appreciated

  • Andy on October 6th, 2009 said:

    Hi Jay,

    Try http// They’ll be able tell you about your engine and which head to use.

    Best of luck


  • Andy on October 6th, 2009 said:
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    Sorry that should be:

  • Jen on October 10th, 2009 said:

    For people who have NO idea about cars and don’t even know how to change a wheel - the Danbury is a genuine hassle free option.

    Ironically, they will no doubt be their own version of “classic” in 20-30 years time!

  • Al on October 10th, 2009 said:

    Well - lazy me has still not got round to selling (see my July post) but my reasons for selling include concerns around build quality - i have had coolant leaks, brake problems, tap broke in the sink, gas cylinder pipe not connected properly, the laminate cover on the fridge door has warped out, indicators stopped working, battery went flat, the kitchen unit catches have all gone stiff and AA diagnosed a duff battery. There have been good reasons/excuses from Danbury and they’re friendly enough but in all honesty i would prefer to own either a well looked after old bay or spend the cash on a T5 conversion. If you have to go the new route i would pick up a second hand ‘new’ van - there will be a few about - or go to a smaller company with less of the high volume more love approach (!). Incidentally, apparently Danbury expect the depreciation in the first year to be c £10,000 on a £34,000 new van. they take off between 30% & 35% if you want to sell via them and they claim only to make £150 or so from the deal. Think I’ll be selling privately but a loss of £10,000 in year one of a van that has only done 5,000 mls is painful! Perfect condition too as kept in the garage. Watch for the advert! :¬(

  • Danbury Man on October 14th, 2009 said:
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    Hi Al - Sorry to hear you need to sell your camper. You say its a year old but it must be approx 2 years old as it is a 57 plate? Anyway if you need help just let us know. Obviously we will try and return you the best money we can but there has been many modification by VW recently so the price needs to be not too close to new price or customers will buy new (2010 model with new 3 year warranty and choice of colour and spec) instead. Sounds like you dont use it often so keep the battery charged up and a dry interior (window open in garage or dehumidifier etc) that way hinges or door sticker panels wont get affected. We can have the car here anytime you want if you want us to help and as discussed we charge £150 + VAT to do this for you. Hope to hear from you soon! I think you would prefer a T5 by the sound of it and bear in mind we can also take your car in part exchange for one and special low rate finance offers and reduced prices/special offers this month! Danbury Man.

  • Barry Vee on October 31st, 2009 said:

    I have been looking at all the options, has anyone had a later watercooled Subaru conversion done? If so whats it been like?

  • Andy on November 1st, 2009 said:
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    Take a look at this site.. It’s a discussion forum and info source for those who convert aircooled VWs of all types into water-cooled:

    All the best

  • s levere on November 15th, 2009 said:

    Great section to all whom have inputed etc, I have a 2005 import from brazil and I love it etc I looked at the danbury conversions etc and the quality is somewhat hit and miss.
    The basic van is fine has some quirks, paint, tappets etc but its being going strong, the issue is with any conversion etc.
    Danbury are high priced for their options and the quality was a few years ago terrible, wiring held together with tape , RHD conversions poorly done (blanking holes just with scotch tape over) they look nice but will they hold up.
    The Aftermarket support is somewhat poor, the 3 year warranty I would argue about you are deemed to have it serviced their enriching the pockets more of danbury.
    I am sorry if these seems negative towards danbury, but I am afraid its true

  • Danbury Man on November 20th, 2009 said:

    Hi - Not sure I agree with you about the quality of Danbury interiors as the latest interiors (fitted for few years now) are marine grade quality and moisture resistant etc and are very high quality. There is also a new service centre built in a 40,000 sq foot building with 3 brand new FREE service loan cars available to all service and accident repair customers. Danbury dont get everything right all the time (no-one does) but try to do the best job and have grown the business massivly in the UK when no other company would invest the £ millions needed to do so. There is a dedicated department now to Quality Control that every camper passes through proir to being polished and valeted ready for the customer. I hope this explains that things have come a long way since 2005!

  • Andy on November 21st, 2009 said:

    With a view to quality concerns at Danbury: perhaps they need a section on their website with pics showing conversions with before/after shots to allay the old fears mentioned by S Levere a couple of posts above this one. Quality pics showing the workmanship of say, the finished RHD conversion BEFORE the dashboard/carpets go back would be good so we could see that things like “blanking holes covered with scotch tape over”, and “wiring held together with tape”are no longer used.

    From what I’ve heard, the actual ‘camper innards’ like the cabinets, beds etc are very good indeed. It doesn’t need a huge budget or high-tech facilities to get things like proper blanking-hole plugs/grommets or finish the wiring neatly with proper connectors. I once had an old VW Beetle that was patched up/serviced in the least appealing workshop visually, but inspecting the work after repairs you could see it was done with precision, care, attention to detail and was easily the quality you’d expect from a manufacturer. The mechanics CARED about their work and even on my manky old Beetle didn’t see it a fast buck to made.

    If I paid £30k+ for a brand new conversion and when lifting the carpets or looking under the dashboard found things like wires held together with tape and scotch tape over blanking holes I’d be livid and kick up such a fuss all over the internet, and more importantly would worry about the attention to detail in more critical areas.


  • menavw on November 26th, 2009 said:

    Is it possible to convert air cold engine to water cold engine ?

  • eddy on December 3rd, 2009 said:

    Had pretty much a hassle free first season with my brazilian bay (from vwdownunder)apart from the kamikaze pigeon that took out the front nearside indicator lens whilst coming home on the M11. However it did develop a somewhat eratic fuel guage recently and at the first service it was diagnosed as a faulty fuel “sender”. The part was ordered and Paul (of vwdownunder) kindly collected the vehicle this morning and delivered her back this evening with a working gauge (carried out under warranty)- many thanks for the personal service Paul! I have also been monitoring the fuel use over this first season and the last few trips have been returning an average 38 mpg which I feel is pretty good especially considering the additional weight always being carried (e.g. awning, camping chairs, toys!, and the stash of food/drink etc.) Looking forward to next season and making use of more free weekends…..bring on the sunshine!.


  • Andy on December 7th, 2009 said:
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    Here’s the link to a site that’s all about converting aircooled to watercooled:

    It’s a discussion forum and info source for those who convert aircooled VWs of all types into water-cooled:

    All the best,


  • menavw on December 7th, 2009 said:

    thanks andy

  • Ceri W on December 16th, 2009 said:

    I have recently purchased my new T2 from Danbury. I love the van but if you are serious about buying one ask about the small print in the warranty terms and conditions before ordering !

    Yes, you have a 3 year warranty … however, you must have a service within the first month of purchase, then every 6 months there after for it to be valid. Each service costs betweeen £250 - £350 ish plus VAT.

    Funnily enough no mention of that when ordering. When I pulled them up about it I was told “You never asked”. Outragous that such important info was withheld prior to sale !

    My last vehicle was a brand new VW from a VW dealer and I have never heard of such outragous conditions.

    Instead of driving away from the depot happy with my new purchase I drove away dissapointed with the ’small print’. I hope the reliabability of my van is more trustworthy than my recent sales experience with them ! Not the standard I expect when spending the best part of £40k !!!

  • Danbury man on December 17th, 2009 said:

    Hi Mr. Williams - I am sorry you feel this way but this is clearly stated in the warranty terms and conditions. These are displayed in the sales order office and our sales staff are trained to answer any questions you have prior to ordering (just ask). We dont hide any answer to any question which is why we offer personal factory visits and many people visit us a number of times aswell as calling us via telephone and e mailing us prior to their purchase to ask any questions they may have. We offer you the 3 year warranty FREE of charge if you have the servicing done with us under our service plan. As most people wish to use Danbury for servicing, parts and accident repair anyway we have not had any problems with this and have people from all over the UK use our new 40,000 square foot workshops. Its always best to use the factory that supplied any car and worked on it for hundreds of hours as they work and breath what they do every day and also most parts are on the shelf in our vast parts department if needed (unlike using a local garage who would have to stop works and order parts if needed and wait for delivery)aswell as fully trained specialist labour. I hope this explains and look forward to meeting you in person on your next service. Dont forget we also have 3 brand new loan cars that you are welcome to use FREE of charge whilst you visit us (please request a free loan car when you book) and we can suggest some very interesting places to visit in both Bristol, Bath or Gloucester (all just a short drive away!) so you can enjoy a day out or even a weekend away in the Cotswolds in your new campervan.We also have full office facilities for anyone wishing to stay and work whilst they wait for their vehicle should you wish. We all wish you a very Happy Christmas and thank you for your business so far helping to keep UK jobs secure at Danbury Motorcaravans and buying a british built campervan conversion. Kind regards - Danbury Man

  • Ceri W on December 17th, 2009 said:

    Nice sales pitch Danbury Man … but bottom line is potential customers need to be aware of the clauses in the terms and conditions. It’s ok saying it’s displayed in the sales office … I obviously missed them when I visited. I obviously didn’t ask enough questions during my visit either !

    Given one of your unique selling points is that you provide a 3 year warranty I made the foolish mistake of thinking it was similar to the standard VW warranty. Having brought brand new VWs from dealers in the past I had no reason to think your warranty would be so different. Hence the reason for me flagging on this blogg - others should be aware of this !

    It’s a shame you do not do services at weekends … it means that in the first year of owning a van, in addition to nearly a grands worth of service costs, I’ll need to take off 3 days holiday from work. Again, something for potential buyers to be aware of if they do not live in or near Bristol.

    As I said in my blogg post, I love the van itself, it’s a great concept … just hope others “ask the question” to prevent dissapointment or suprises when collecting …

  • Indolental on December 17th, 2009 said:

    Hi Ceri

    The hilarious part of the Danbury sales process for us was when we were offered a ‘premium warranty’ with a 3rd party provider that allowed us to have our van serviced elsewhere and keep within the T&Cs of the Danbury warranty.

    We ended up ignoring the warranty on the grounds that it was fundamentally worthless. Apart from a snapped-off gearstick (see previous posts)we’ve had no problems, so hopefully you’ll be OK.

    Danbury man - please do not bother responding to this post - I think we can take your position on the matter as read.

  • Tim on December 17th, 2009 said:

    Hi Ceri W. Great to hear you’ve joined the Brazilian Bay gang. There’s now a dedicated website for owners of both aircooled and watercooled Brazilian T2s - - independent, friendly, good for advice and a nice place to chat Brazilian Bays. Don’t let this warranty issue spoil your enjoyment of your new ride - hopefully - you won’t need it.

    One thing I would say though - Waxoyl, Waxoyl, WAXOYL!!!!

    Have fun in your Bay and look forward to maybe meeting you at some point at one of the future Brazilian Bay get togethers.

    PS: There’s also a Facebook group linked to the website, just search Brazilian VW Bay Fan and it should pop up sharpish.

  • Danbury man on December 18th, 2009 said:

    Hi Ceri. Sorry we dont open on weekends but all the staff work very hard in the week and we feel they need weekends off to be with their family. Hopefully you will see the benefit of dealing with our factory service department in the future. (We may look at opening half day on Saturdays in the future if enough demand is there). Glad your enjoying the van and hope you have a great Christmas.

  • anthony on December 26th, 2009 said:

    I love my T2 but have several niggeling problems that need sorting. The front and back windscreens leak which leaves massive puddles of water on the floor every rainy morning. I’m worried that the water is also running between the front panels and my lovely van will rust from the inside out. The water also seems to be running up the wire of the heated windscreen and back window through calpillary action, and the heated windscreen has stopped working, and I seem unable to find the fuse? I also seen to hvae the old rust forming on the gutter rail. Can someone offer advice on the water problem.

    ps.I love my T2 van!

  • vw camper hire on January 20th, 2010 said:

    You could always rent a new model to see how it compares before purchasing one?

  • Sara on January 22nd, 2010 said:

    Hi all
    Really interesting reading all of this. I am looking to enter the camper van world, me and my 2 children, cant afford a new one and am not a mechanic , budget well under 10,000. Any advice welcomed. Thanks in advance!

  • Steve on January 31st, 2010 said:

    Hi Sara,

    In my experience, even spending £10,000 on a VW Van can still mean a huge day to day cost to keep it going. As I mentioned at the start of the article, we chose a 1990 T25 as we thought it would be less hassle and we have spent over £2000 this year alone getting it back on the road after a cylinder rod snapped in the engine!

    I would think that the only way to have a relatively hassle free van under £10,000 would be to go for a T4 conversion. They have a huge following now and have a much more modern mechanical design than the T25. However, they do (in my opinion) lack the looks of the classic vans.

    Hope this helps!


  • Danbury Man on February 3rd, 2010 said:
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    Hi Sara - My advise would be to buy new (if you plan on keeping a camper long term and / or want to use the vehicle every day as your main transport) as you will have everything the way you want it and the far better fuel economy a new VW T2 can offer (aswell as running on bio fuel aswell as unleaded so lower CO2 emmissions) . Even if you had a really nice spec camper say at a cost of £30,000 and put £10,000 deposit it would work out approx £270 a month (£60 odd a week) and then you have NO MOT’s for 3 years. A parts and labour 3 year warranty and YOU know where its been, looked after it well and have no breakdown / repair bills / MOT failures etc so you can easily spend more than that keeping an older vehicle on the road (and older cars do far less per gallon!). You also have a new bed, cooker and latest fridge etc. Food for thought…………see . Danbury also take part exchange etc.

  • Keith on February 5th, 2010 said:

    Hi, good forum, I stumbled across you whilst looking for a new exhaust for my Danbury aircooled (Oct)2006. I’ve had the VW Danbury Rio from new, I’ve had it regularly serviced, including an oil change every 3,00 miles, keep it in a garage and had some really good times in it, that’s the good side.

    On the downside maintenance/parts etc… I’ve had to replace one particular gas strut in the pot top roof three times (they are pretty flimsy); had a £1,000 bill for a gearbox problem which meant engine out etc…; separate to that the gearstick bent so badly that the passenger would have been in a better position to change gear; I’ve had to have a new alternator fitted; had the AA out twice because the immobiliser stopped working; and now I have bubbling paintwork/rust next to the sliding door outer sill at the bottom of the van even though it’s been kept garaged (this one is giving me a real headache).

    I also bought a blank spare key from Danbury (cost around £50!) and when I went to have it coded at a VW authorised dealer they could not do this as they did not have the codes for these types of Brazilian vehicles, phoned Danbury and they said this was a common problem which they were trying to fix but I’ve heard nothing since (still have the cut key which still needs coding).

    The exhaust is now going rusty and on my latest service was told it would all need changing so just priced it up - £1,300 for standard exhaust - £1,700 for stainless steel plus labour charges at £80 per hour if carried out at Danbury.

    So, all in all, good for those holidays and short breaks but it’s been a pain keeping on top of, which brings me to old or new VWs. I’ve had an old Devon VW in the past and it took some looking after, but I’ve got to say so is this one. Love vdubs though, always have, and they have always taken up my spare time, I did think the new Danbury would improve this but that doesn’t seem to be the case, the paintwork issue is one thing I didn’t expect and one reason I went for new was I thought the paintwork/bodywork would stay good for a lot longer, looking back I’m not sure if going new was such a wise decision.

  • Vicky on February 8th, 2010 said:

    Steve, Thank god for this blog! Having visited Bristol last week and weighing up the pro’s and con’s of spending 34K on a new t2, I have found these comments incredibly helpful. Does anyone know where you can find a second hand Brazilian t2 for sale?

  • Tim on February 14th, 2010 said:

    Hey Keith, Vicky and all recent posters on this blog.

    The Kombis do need maintaining - but in a different way to an original T2. If you know where to get the parts - you can source them cheaper. If you have a knowledgeable VW mechanic - you can get them serviced more locally and potentially cheaper.

    I’ve had my Brazilian T2 for nearly a year now. I’m pleased Danbury import them. I wouldn’t swap it for a Classic anyday. They’re great to own - you’ll have plenty of good times in one, and yes sometimes there’ll be issues. If you want a completely hassle free experience go and buy a Volkswagen T5 Transporter. But no one will notice you in that.

    Several months after I got my BraziBay I realised there was no web resource for these great vans - so I created the forum - there’s loads of owners there now - both aircooled and watercooled who can give you advice about what the vans are like to own, run and how to sort issues out if and when they occur.



  • Sasha on February 15th, 2010 said:

    True…if you want a modern ‘normal’ car buy a new VW T5. If you want a classic car without having to restore a 50 year old one then the new VW T2 from Danbury is the best option. Great fun!

  • Keith on February 18th, 2010 said:

    Hi Tim

    I agree they are great fun when you’re out in them and great time camping with the kids etc.. but c’mon - new alternator + £1,00 bill on gearbox + broken gearstick + bubbling/rust coming though on paintwork door sill!! + faulty immobiliser + 3 new gas struts for the roof @ £120 a time + no way to code the keys even at VW authorised garage + £1,600 for an new exhaust.

    A new T5 may be hassle free but let’s get real you shouldn’t expect the above in a just over 3 year old T2 Danbury no matter how good it looks and yes you get noticed especially by the VW air cooled garage/s repairing it and their comments are not complimentary considering the van’s age - that’s from guys who deal with vdubs on a daily basis.

    Good to have a website discussing it though - both pro’s and con’s - my experience not surprisingly is towards the ‘con’. Paintwork definitely not equipped for this country’s conditions.

  • Sasha on February 18th, 2010 said:

    Hi Keith - Sounds like you’ve got a Friday afternoon car? (my grandad always used this comment - sorry!) I know lots of Danbury owners having been to various shows etc and had no comments like you’ve had. I do know by reading other web sites that the VW factory has improved the paint now on this years model aswell as new gearbox improvements etc. . . I’ve got a Danbury and love it to bits (had no problems - unlike with my old VW I had before!). A friend of mine has a 2005 model thats done over 60,000 miles and not had one problem. I also dont know why the VW garage you went to could not code a key for you as I know a Danbury owner who had this done with no problems? Perhaps ist because its the newer watercooled model? Good luck to you anyway. Sasha. x

  • Steve on February 18th, 2010 said:

    Again… Sasha, you really should apply for a job in the Danbury PR department - you would do an amazing job!!


  • Keith on February 19th, 2010 said:

    I agree, Sasha are you sure you do not work at Danbury, good spin, but does not really address the serious point/s regarding problems with a 3 year old Danbury T2, mind you Danbury could not solve the key code problem either. I’ve also spoken to people with the 2000+ Danbury model and they have had bodywork/rust problems.

    I had an older T2 Devon (1974) in the past, considering going back to the older version seeing that the main reason for buying a new Danbury was reliability regarding bodywork/no rust. The older version was simple to fix and reliable if regularly serviced etc.. and parts definitely cheaper. At present Danbury & VW Heritage seem to corner the market on Brazilian Bay parts and they are not cheap, depends how deep your pockets are I suppose.

  • Sasha on February 19th, 2010 said:

    Hi Keith - I wish I worked at Danbury! I couldn’t think of anything else better…All those lovely new campers! Seriously though having owned many old campers in the past the cost to run them far exceeds owning a new one and all old VW’s are full of rust anyway because they are old.Also I believe everything unbolts on the new VW the same as the old ones? Ive not found any parts expensive (you should try owning a Mini - My friend just spent over £1200 getting a cluthch done! The 2nd clutch is under 3 years!). I would spend a few hundred pounds getting a repaint of the areas you talk about and keep it. All classic cars and modern cars cost money to maintain well….x

  • Steve on February 20th, 2010 said:

    “all old VW’s are full of rust anyway”

    Totally disagree - I have seen plenty of old VW vans that are free of rust!


  • David on February 22nd, 2010 said:

    Has anyone had any luck getting a roof rack for their Danbury T2? I really want to get one for this season’s camping, but not really had much luck. Ordered one that allegedly fitted the Danbury and it didn’t fit and I had to send it back.


  • Sasha on February 22nd, 2010 said:

    Danbury sell them (I just bought one) New style ones that clear the roof. Standard size is £449 and available to order now for collection in April for £449 or a large deluxe type one with stainless steel and hardwood for £599 (the one I bought and it looks fab). See the facebook page: Danbury motorcaravans for pictures

  • David on February 22nd, 2010 said:

    Thanks, Sasha. I wish Danbury weren’t so ****ing expensive. The one I bought last year and sent back because it was the wrong size was stainless steel but only cost £300 (not from Danbury, naturally). Grrrrr. How big is the one you have got? I’m guessing it must be 4 bow?

  • Keith on February 22nd, 2010 said:

    Sasha, you said you have “not found any (Danbury T2) parts expensive” you either must be working for them or you’re getting a discount.

    Exhaust for aircooled Danbury T2 - £1,200; for a classic VW - £100; Air filter for Danbury T2 - £34; for a classic VW £7; blank uncoded key for a Danbury £40; key for a classic VW £5. 4 Roof struts for Danbury T2 raising roof £400; 4 roof springs for a Classic Devon VW poptop roof £16.

    If more traders stocked the parts it would not be so bad as prices would most probably come down but at the moment Danbury has a virtual monopoly, anyone else know of anywhere cheaper to buy Brazilian parts apart from Danbury & VW Heritage?

  • Tim on February 22nd, 2010 said:

    Hi Keith

    Just Kampers are about to retail a whole load of parts specific to the Brazilian Bay. Should show on their website soon. Always worth contacting them when you’re looking for a part too.


  • Keith on February 23rd, 2010 said:

    Thanks Tim, will keep an eye out on the Just Kampers website, I’ve used them in the past for parts for a classic VW and now for basic accessories for the Brazilian bay, they were prompt with orders and listened to forum members regarding what parts people wanted to buy and tried to keep the price down, also have a good technical forum.

    I also recently checked out the forum you set up for Brazilian bay owners, nice work, thanks for going to the trouble it will be a good resource.

  • Sasha on February 24th, 2010 said:

    Hi David. My new Danbury roof rack has 13 wooden pieces so its a good size. Have a look at Danbury’s facebook page for a picture. Sasha. x

  • Indolental on February 24th, 2010 said:

    Hi David

    We bought a rack from VW heritage which was cheaper than the Danbury one and looked a whole lot nicer as well. It was a 2 bow one and stainless steel rather than powder coated that sat nicely above the cab abd didn’t interfere with the Danbury pop-top.

    This was back in 2008. I can’t see it on thier website now but it may be worth giving them a call.

    We sold it when we had a Westy style pop-top fitted.

  • Keith on February 25th, 2010 said:

    Hi Indolental

    Why did you change the pop top and who did you get to fit the Westy roof? Was it worthwhile? Seen the roof kits and roof companies on the web and the Brazilian Westy roof on the new vans look good, on the websites at least.

  • Sasha on February 25th, 2010 said:

    We did see the other rack on someones camper and we thought the new Danbury roof rack looks a lot nicer than the VW heritage one and better quality too…I think VW Heritage have stopped selling them now and someone at a show said they had quality problems with them as they were copies made in China?

  • Indolental on February 25th, 2010 said:

    Hi Sasha - had no problems with ours and I’m not sure where you’re coming from with thinking the dnabury looks nicer; but I guess it all comes down to persoanl preference.

    Keith - we replaced the danbury coffin-lid because even our 3 and 4 year old kids couldn’t sit up in it - plus we found the quality questionable (and that’s before I heard how much people have paid for replacement gas struts)

    Our Westy coversion was carried out by VW Downunder - it’s a very high quality piece of work; you get the integral roof-rack over the cab; loads more room in the roof; windows in the canvas and a better look to the van when closed or open (though this of course is a matter of personal preference)I can thoughly recommend it.

  • Sasha on February 26th, 2010 said:

    Hi Indolental - Ive read a few stories about the VW Downunder roof and some people have had rust problems because they dont treat the cut metal properly before fitting the roof. Also water and air coming in so check this if you can get to it as one guy had to take it back to be resorted! I prefer the straight up lift in all 4 corners design personally but as you say its all down to preference. Anyone going to any shows soon? It would be great to meet up and show off our brazilians! oh er….Sasha. x

  • Dave on April 1st, 2010 said:

    Hi - really interested in the idea of a new VW T2 to act as a family runaround as well as for weekends/trips. We need to comfortably sit 2 adults and 4 kids, then think about bikes, tent….! Is the T2 an option or should we just buy a double-decker like Cliff Richard.


  • David on April 6th, 2010 said:

    Dave - I think it would depend on how big the kids were and how long you were going to go for. My T2 in theory could carry 6 people: 2 in the front, 3 on the back seat and one on the “buddy seat” behind the driver’s seat. But I don’t think it would be that “comfortable” for any long journey.

    You could buy one that was more of a bus, with more seats and no storage/cooking units perhaps. You can also buy matching trailers so you could fit in a lot more kit if needed (such as tents etc). Danbury sell them (

    Good luck!

  • Teckno Head on April 7th, 2010 said:

    Hi,I have just been reading eveybodys experiences and can relate to most, good and bad. I purchased a 2006 air cooled from Danbury new. 4 years later my starting problems seemed to be sorted,Tappits was always the reason given even though it was happening every 1500K,I was pleased when my warranty ran out,that can not be right can it! My gear stick snapped off as well and Danbury offered me one for £150!! I declined and got a older gear stick for about £20, It is shorter and the box is tighter making slicker gear changing Result! In all my expensive and time consuming visits to the west country nice as it is, I never left satisfied and one time(the last time) the mechanic said the plugs were in to tight and could damage the engine if he tried to remove them blaming another garage for putting them in!I told them nobody but themselves have touched the plugs but they would not have it! Those who have had problems with Danbury would of heard all the same patter.I told them to put my air filter back on and cancel my service I have not been back since.On the good side I would not be without it and give Danbury a bit of credit for getting them over here I just wish they would sort problems out rather then 10001 excuses why they are not!

  • jj123vw on April 9th, 2010 said:

    Hi Teckno Head - Just to clarify things - Dont forget to mention we didnt charge you any labour for working on your car last time and you have had another garage work on the car ( you told us the garage name and that they had serviced it for you ) and since then the plugs would not come loose from the engine and you had problems….We cant blame Danbury for that one as we didnt do the work. We do try our best as you know which is why we have come in out of hours for you and worked overtime with no charge to try and help you. The new watercooled engines VW now fit obviously dont have these ‘tappit’ problems but the older aircooled design can have sometimes. We dont make the base vehicles but do make the interiors and we do give feedback to the VW factory on a regular basis. Hope your well and maybe see you at a show one day? All the best - Jason

  • Teckno Head on April 18th, 2010 said:

    Hello Jason,just to clarify things further, one of your mechanics did take my van home for a week to find the persistant problem I have had for the previous 2years which he said he stiffend the tappits.When I picked van up it still took a while to start and no I did not expect to be charged labour as problem was still there! As another garage did a service to which I had got your permission (because of the warranty) as my van would not start at all! they did not change the plugs.After leaving Danbury with with the vision of my engine being stripped down because the spark plug sockets are threaded through being overtightend as told by Danbury, I got home plucked up courage and untightend the plugs! easy.At the end of the day I was fobbed of again with the on going problem I had always had which has now been sorted!

  • Nickthedrummer on April 26th, 2010 said:

    Finally got down to Danbury-land last summer for test drive. Cash in pocket - test drive arranged. Decent team of people there. Did factory tour etc. Then went for test drive - loose trim over wheel arch on drivers door…well I ignored that - but the drive in the rain was shocking. offset windscren wipers (LH conversion?) and the play in the steering wheel, the dashboard trim - and the cost of ‘luxuries’ like rack and pinion steering!! I know these vehicles are all about ‘heart ruling head’ - but there is a limit - sorry for £30k I had to walk away…

  • Sasha on April 27th, 2010 said:

    I guess its what your used to or at least what your mind is. I love it and it gives so much more than a ‘normal’ modern car gives. The new rack and pinion steering is fantastic too. Danbury are selling bucket loads of campervans and every time Im there for a service I meet loads of really happy customers. Guess we all cant like the same things…..Sasha.x

  • Tim on April 27th, 2010 said:

    Nickthedrummer - sorry you were disappointed by your test drive. Why not go for a second hand Brazilian T2 instead? You’ve got to remember that the design of the vehicle is essentially the same as it was back in the 1970s so you do need to adjust your expectations as to how it will drive. A lot of people go for the Brazilian T2 for its retro charm.

    The wipers have always been set for lhd - it’s one thing rhd drivers in the 70s had to deal with.

    Don’t let the weather rain on your potential Brazilian Bay parade!

    Have a look at and you’ll see there are plenty of happy Kombi owners and there are some for sale there too.

  • Sasha on April 27th, 2010 said:

    Good comment Tim. I would also test drive the new model (this years 2010 model) as the power steering and direct drive options make the campervan totally different to drive than even a year old one! You can see a vieo of these options on ‘Danbury Motorcaravans’ facebook page which gives you customer comments etc. Either way you’ll love it when you adjust your brain to the charm of an old design. Sasha. x

  • Steve on April 28th, 2010 said:


    Are you sure you aren’t anything to do with Danbury - you seem to know a lot about the vans they sell? Do you have a 2010 model?


  • buss69 on May 1st, 2010 said:

    I’ve got a beautiful ‘71, am not a snob and will definitely wave at anyone in a VW bus old or new. Fascinating blog this, just posted it to a friend who is about to buy a 2003 aircooled. Anyone have any experience of potential problems apart from the roof/ bumper edge rusting issues?


  • Sasha on May 4th, 2010 said:

    No I dont have a 2010 model but have read a lot about them. My manager has ordered one though and collects it next week (he is sooooo excited that he has been like a school boy for the last 2 weeks!!) so I’ll let you know what differences I see. Best place to see info is the Danbury web site and facebook page: Danbury motorcaravans. Thats where lots of video’s and pictures Ive seen are. We are going to try and start a Danbury owners club up soon! x

  • Helen on May 5th, 2010 said:

    I’d just like to thank everyone involved for the discussion on this page, my husband and I are giving serious consideration to buying a Danbury, and I’ve found the discussion here both fascinating and very useful! Thanks all. :)

  • Steve on May 9th, 2010 said:

    Hi again Sasha,

    Sorry to question this but I only ask because I received an email sent to me in error replying to one of the above comments saying:

    Hi - Please can you call me on 01454 310000. Many thanks - Jason. Danbury Motorcaravans

    … which appears to be from Jason at Danbury and was meant for Teckno Head. Then, I received another email from the same email address saying:

    Sorry _ I sent you a blank e mail by mistake! It was a reply meant for Jason at Danbury campers! Sorry. Sasha. x

    So me thinks Sasha might be an alias for someone at Danbury? Or at least Sasha shares an email address with Jason at Danbury?


  • Tim on May 9th, 2010 said:

    Lol - so BUSTED!!

  • Tim on May 9th, 2010 said:

    Now I’ve stopped laughing - Helen, there’s a bunch of us T2 Kombi owners on if you need another avenue of info about the Bays.

    Steve - loving your work ;o)

  • David on May 9th, 2010 said:

    Oh nooooo!!! Just re-reading all Sasha’s comments and that’s just embarrassing. I also think it may be illegal. There was certainly some discussion a few years ago about companies misleading customers by pretending to be someone independent.

  • thevanman on May 9th, 2010 said:

    I have a danbury 54 plate air cooled that i love. i do however have serious rust on the bank just above the engine lid and lots of rust where danbury drilled holes for indicators and didn’t paint the bare steel so saving for body repairs. I have have seriour handling issues with the van and doesn’t handle anything like as good as my old 79 viking, which is dissappointing and makes driving in mild winds seriously scary at times! i have now lowered the van which has not helped as much as i hoped. also cant believe price of parts. need a new exhauset after covering 34000 kms!

  • Tomosbach on May 11th, 2010 said:

    Have been following your blog for some time and have had my suspicions about Sasha confirmed. I have a 2005 air-cooled Danbury Rio which has now done over 40,000 mostly hassle free miles. I absolutely love the van but never left Danbury without the uneasy feeling that I was being squezed for every last penny they could get from me.

  • Teckno Head on May 11th, 2010 said:

    I think Jasons weekend name is Sasha,as they are the only
    people on this blog that call our camper vans CARS!Sussed.

  • goblin on May 15th, 2010 said:

    Hi Gang,

    Have read some of these comments with much interest. I have a 2002 Brazil van from the then Beetles UK and can honestly say that at the time it was just about worth the money,bout 18K all in with all the mods. Exhaust lasted about 2 years as did the front bearings the paint work and interior. The thought of paying 35K for the same van now would fills me with dread, they are just not worth it. Save you money and get a rust free original. In fact my 66 split was more reliable.
    By the way if you need a new exhaust get a Power torque Stainless steel one made for you the same price as Danbury but life long guaranty and better for the van. Oh yes the filters are commercial units for tractors Mann C14 200 so dirt cheap I remember about £10 not £35.

    Hope this info is helpful

  • thevanman on May 17th, 2010 said:

    I have managed to source stainless steel exhausts for air cooled brazilian bays for £600. Anybody interested? doesn’t include cat!

  • Julian on May 30th, 2010 said:

    Hello all,

    I have always thought that SASHA worked for Danbury it was pretty obvious really, But the comment that really sealed it for me was the one about the VW Downunder roofs
    Quote ‘Sasha on February 26th, 2010 said:
    Hi Indolental - Ive read a few stories about the VW Downunder roof and some people have had rust problems because they dont treat the cut metal properly before fitting the roof. Also water and air coming in so check this if you can get to it as one guy had to take it back to be resorted!Sasha. x’

    This was basically repeating what Jason had written on a post at Really pissed me off I don’t know why Danbury feel the need to spread rummer’s about a small company that’s not really offering much in the line of competition to Danbury.

    My van was fitted with the second VW Downunder roof, and the water ingress post on was written shortly after. I know that VW Downunder had only fitted a small had full of these roofs at this time and don’t believe for one minute that someone with one of their roof when down to Danbury and complained about water or air ingress. The quality of the roof is very good and we’ve have had no problems with it at all.

    Danbury really do need to improve their public image!

  • Sasha on June 4th, 2010 said:

    Just to clear things up….I dont work for Danbury (although I have helped them out in the past along with other Danbury customers) and if you read other peoples comments on the Downunders roofs, customers of theirs have had problems with their roofs (poor fitting and water coming in) I have no wish to get into any arguments with anyone and this is only mine and others opinions. I think everyone should support all the companies better though so they are here to support us all in the future but Im not going to argue with anyone. I’m off to France soon to live (work reasons) and they really do moan about life so lets stay out of that way of life. Peace and love to all V dubbers! Sasha. x

  • Julian on June 4th, 2010 said:

    Hi Sasha?
    I haven’t been able to find any negative comments about the Downunder roofs. please link to these comments so we can all read them.

  • '10' plate classic VW camper.... - MBClub UK Forums on June 4th, 2010 said:

    [...] Window Type 2 vans are still produced at Volkswagen Brazil. Volkswagen T2 anbury Motorcaravans Is it possible to own a hassle free VW Camper Van? | VW Camper Van Blog __________________ Mercedes E300D Multivalve W124 Estate (1994) - FULLY LOADED - MB-Tex, [...]

  • Keith on June 4th, 2010 said:


    I initially came on this forum some time ago to point out my experience and the pros and cons of my Danbury VW and to share experiences with others, I found a lot of valuable independent comments which were very useful. Recently issues have been posted regarding Jason and Sasha possibly being the same person or both work for Danbury.

    Perhaps to clear things up Jason and/or Sasha, before leaving for France, can give a logical reason behind the e-mail which begun all this (posted on 10th May by Steve - copy below), that should then clear things up and we can get on with ensuring this is a useful and valuable forum and countinue to share experiences.

    The post was:

    “Hi again Sasha,

    Sorry to question this but I only ask because I received an email sent to me in error replying to one of the above comments saying:

    Hi - Please can you call me on 01454 310000. Many thanks - Jason. Danbury Motorcaravans

    … which appears to be from Jason at Danbury and was meant for Teckno Head. Then, I received another email from the same email address saying:

    Sorry _ I sent you a blank e mail by mistake! It was a reply meant for Jason at Danbury campers! Sorry. Sasha. x

    So me thinks Sasha might be an alias for someone at Danbury? Or at least Sasha shares an email address with Jason at Danbury?


  • Sasha on June 4th, 2010 said:

    Keith. This has already been explained to Steve and was sent on a public computer at Danburys waiting room when I was here. I forgot to sign out and Jason used it behind me as someone was using his office. Julian. I do not wish to slag any company off so you’ll have to do your own web searching on VW Down Unders roof problems. This forum should be a place to meet and help the owners of vehicles not a place to run down Danbury or any other company and I dont want to get involved in this. Off to catch a flight tomorrow if the dust cloud doesnt stop me! Sasha.x

  • Steve on June 5th, 2010 said:
    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/vwcpblog/public_html/wp-includes/kses.php on line 947

    Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/vwcpblog/public_html/wp-includes/kses.php on line 948

    Sasha… Welcome back!

    All the emails I have had explaining the email I received were from Jason at Danbury - how are you aware of what was explained to me?

    I also note that despite you mentioning how good the Danbury Facebook group is many times that you are not a member? Nor are you a member of any of the unofficial Danbury / Brazilian Vans Facebook Groups? Seems odd as you come across as quite passionate about the Brazilian Vans!

    I also can’t find any posts from you on which again seems odd considering how many times you have commented here?

    And finally, it probably does not go in your favour when you refer to Danbury’s waiting room as ‘here’! Makes it sound as though you are at Danbury?


  • Tim on June 6th, 2010 said:

    Well I think we should all just wish “Sasha” Bon Voyage and hope she finds the peace and love she advocates wherever she’s headed en France.

  • Danbury man on June 6th, 2010 said:

    Steve-Seems you are after Sasha! She actually sent that e mail from my waiting room as she and I were discussing you / your site / your comments (when she called in to say hello!) and she felt she had to defend herself (and me!) which is not surprising. I discussed your e mails to me……..Maybe when she comes back into the UK she may take part in this forum again but after your comments perhaps not? You discussed with me recently you would like to test and feature the new rack and pinion steering system and also the power steering on your site, as I said before let me know if you wish to book a press car and when, but lets keep our customers that are trying to help out and happy to comment seperate.She said you have never e mailed her to discuss. She may reply if she see’s this and feels she wants to but your not being very friendly to her (in my opinion that is) and its up to her if she wants to. Luckily we have many happy customers that keeps us in business and enjoy the opportunity to own a new T2 camper. I hope this explains my point of view without attacking you in return. Call me if you wish to. All the best. Jason

  • Julian on June 7th, 2010 said:

    I think every one can read the above comments and easily make their own minds up about Sasha/Jason.

    It’s just making me laugh reading all the comments and excuses now…
    I didn’t realise that you had to be in the UK to post on the blog! Don’t they have Internet access in France?
    And if it is indeed true that Jason is really a girl or Sasha is in fact a man (no offence attended to anyone) I’m sure nobody will be admitting anything anyway.
    funny funny funny………

    Happy camping season everyone

  • David on June 7th, 2010 said:

    Jason - you must see how odd this all seems! It’s not just the whole “she was using my computer in the waiting room” excuse that sounds so lame, there are other clues - such as the way neither of you tend to use apostrophes and the way you both write ‘email’ as ‘e mail’.

    This has been a really useful forum although it does worry me a bit that you may have thought it was OK to pull the wool over your customers eyes in this way.

    Just had a lovely weekend in my 2003 Danbury … I’ll say this, I don’t regret our decision to buy it - it’s given us loads of happy times.

  • Angie on June 14th, 2010 said:

    wow i thought eastenders was
    juicy! I need to test drive a vw camper not the tinkering type so prob best new/ish. I am based in Aberdeen can anyone help. Is the Californian ok? very functional but seems to lack personality???
    Thanks Angie (that is my name cross my heart and hope…..)

  • Keith on June 18th, 2010 said:

    Hi Angie

    Yeh, only difference no talk of murders, disfunctional families, break-ups, drugs mentioned on here and not all of us sat in a pub, although the forum does seemed to have become bogged down with a debate about if people are sat in one other particular venue! Although hopefully that debate has now ran it’s course.

    Personally Angie if you’re going to spend serious money I’d think about hiring one for a weekend, test drives are ok but if you really want to see how it works in detail it’s a good way of doing it. There are several vw hire companies in Scotland hiring Type 2s and if you want to go for something more modern there are hire companies hiring later versions/models. Google ‘vw camper hire aberdeen’ and see what you find.

  • Ronald Hogenboom on June 25th, 2010 said:

    I have been contemplating buying a T2 for a long time. Had a T25 once (as you Brits call it), but that was a disaster. Should have known better.

    It is financially viable for me to import a Danbury conversion to the Netherlands, even with our harsh additional taxes on cars. However, the sales pitch of Danbury man is starting to annoy me slightly. The simple fact of the matter is that their warranty is a money maker and they should really consider to change that. I will not trust a company with such a scheme, even if their product is ok. If you look at their website, you’ll find an asterisk next to the warranty claims, but where is the small print on the site? Maybe I did not look hard enough…

    So no Danbury for me, no matter how many ’satisfied customers’ they claim to have. I’ll just rent a vintage T2, like I did last spring. Loved it!

  • Tim on July 4th, 2010 said:

    Hi Ronald
    I’m not really sure what you wanted to achieve in your post. I think anyone who’s read even half of the thread above is quite aware that Danbury man is enthusiastic about his product and company but perhaps needs to look at improving the image of his business. If you’re suggesting that you don’t want to get a new T2 purely so that Danbury don’t get your business then why not try another supplier such as VW Downunder/VWKampers? Further why not buy a second hand one from here in the UK - there are a number on the market right now.

    I think if you’ve been contemplating a Brazilian T2 for a while - and as you suggest you’ll be taking it to another country - you shouldn’t let what are ultimately minor annoyances prevent you from owning one.

  • Jimmy McNulty on July 6th, 2010 said:

    Hi all,

    Read through this entire thread over last two days. Decided on a Brazilian some time ago. Have spoken to Danbury, VWKampers and DownUnder in the past. All have things to say about themselves (and eachother!)

    Danbury seem like they’ve got the UK market sewn up (for this year and next, at least) - is that a good thing?, some say they’re great build, some don’t, some say good service, some say (emphatically) not. The warranty sounds a bit ’special’ too….

    It sounds like if you want a Brazilian, go to Danbury, but you’ve got no competition, and service levels sound one-sided. You won’t get a new Brazilian from the other two as they’re not importing right now. To get a second hand Brazilian looks difficult, since Danbury seem to have them as they pop up - prices therefore locked up.

    Would that be a fair assessment? Or if not, is it a good bet to go to Danbury, or find another way……?

  • julian on August 1st, 2010 said:

    Brazilian bays quite often appear on ebay, camper and bus magazine and snail trail - If your in the market for a second hand one.

  • kelvin on August 24th, 2010 said:

    Re all the notes on the “new” bay campers, the price from danbury is a real rip off, I imported mine privatly, and fitted it out and converted to right hand drive over two long weekends, The price including inspection was not even half of danbury prices, (bottom end)

  • Tim on August 25th, 2010 said:

    Hi Kelvin,
    If you were able to convert your Brazilian imported van to rhd and fit it out as a camper to the same spec as a Danbury supplied vehicle then a) you’re a lucky chap and b) you’re in a minority. Most buyers wouldn’t know where to begin with doing work on their vans and hence are happy to let some else do it and pay for it. That applies to vans supplied by VW Kampers and VW Downunder too. The vast majority of people wanting to buy these vans are not capable of performing the work involved and nor would they probably have time to. That’s what they’re paying for when they go to a specialist supplier.

  • willscamper on September 14th, 2010 said:

    we love our brasilian type 2 and have just returned from a trip to the south of france with it. it did brilliantly on the autoroutes and drew many admiring looks and was a real conversation piece in the campsites.

    however, on the return journey we lost 4th gear and had to drive the last 80 miles to le havre in third. noisy and slow.

    has anyone else heard of this problem occurring with these models?

    thanks all.

  • Kiteman on September 21st, 2010 said:

    Picked up my watercooled bay from Danbury in Feb this year, when driving it home in the snow and howling winds, getting blown all over the motorway, I was wondering what the hell I’d just spent nearly £30k.
    After drining it around for the summer it has been worth every penny, and put one hell of a smile on my face.

    Yes I agree that Danburys after sales care isn’t that great, not once have I received a call to see if all is OK or to let me know when my next service is due. And they do seem like they’re trying to squeeze every last penny out of you. Silly things like charging £10 for some touchup paint. It’s leftover paint from when it’s coloured that’s put in a pot, why not give it away FREE, it’s only going to get poured down the sink.

    But at the end of the day they have made the scene what it is, as mentioned earlier you get one of these for the heart not the head. They are doing all the donkey work getting them shipped over and registered here, so credit where credit is due.

    I have a friend with a brand new Q7 who paid £50k+ and is hated by the world cos he has a huge 4X4 that will never got off road and will only do the school run. Where as everywhere I go I get people coming up and talking to me wanting to know more about my camper.

    Let the good times roll :O)

  • lizard on September 29th, 2010 said:

    thanks we are just considering buying a VW van and wasn’t sure which, new or restored. I thought the multiple personalities of the Danbury guy a joke. Just by the multiple comments about the service or lack thereof has made it clear that I would rather deal with a touchy vehicle that NEEDS to be restored than the non existent customer service from a rather shady dealer. Thanks for this!! Life is short!

  • Danbury Man on September 29th, 2010 said:
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    Hi Kiteman - Thanks for your nice comments and glad your enjoying your campervan. We have invested heavily into our aftersales now with new workshops, ramps, trained staff, free brand new loan cars and hire campervans and are in the middle of a new (rather expensive) computer system being installed that will remind customers of service and MOT dates etc via e mail and text. In answer to the £10 charge for the optional paint touch up stick: The bottle and stick that it comes in costs us £7.50 + vat (£8.81) from our supplier and this is what the charge covers - not so much the paint that goes in it. It is offcourse optional as at any dealership. We are listening to feedback like any growing company does and have sold 1000’s of vehicles over the years to many happy customers - So we get it right most of the time and are trying our best to make it even better. Lizard: We are the biggest new VW T2 campervan dealer in the world now and are growing all the time and are also trading standards approved so dont let a few negative comments rule the day when 1000’s of people are happy they had the chance of owning a new fuel efficient VW T2 rather than trying to restore an old one with old technology / engine! See for gallery pictures of just some of our happy owners / customers :-)

  • Tim on September 29th, 2010 said:

    I’m sure it’s been said somewhere above - but it’s very true that you always here more from those that are disgruntled rather than those who are happy with their vans.

  • Kiteman on September 30th, 2010 said:

    Nearly £9 for a plastic pot!!!!!!!!! think your getting ripped of some what. I got two cans of custom spray paint for £15 and what was left was put in a plastic bottle with a brush fitted to the inside of the lid no extra charge.

  • Danbury Man on September 30th, 2010 said:

    Kiteman - Perhaps the spray cans are made in the 1000’s and bought in bulk to get the price down? Anyway we are happy with our supplier and they always deliver on time with the paint included so lets not beat them up for earning a living…Let me know if you need a job working in purchasing! All the best and might see you at the next event?

  • scribbler on October 18th, 2010 said:

    Has anyone imported a VW directly from Brazil? For instance, all Mazda Bongos in the UK have been imported one way or another.

  • Mike Benis on October 20th, 2010 said:

    I’m also posting to express my thanks.

    Funnily enough I only thought of buying a T2 when I found that one can obtain them new again. So I rented an air-cooled Danbury Brazilian from Ian at vwkampers, who are only just outside Brighton, where I live, and had an absolute whale of time last week driving all round Cornwall without a single serious problem and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the many accessories provided.

    The rust and finish problems I found did not impress, however, and comically enough I am now considering getting a full refurb on an old van, knowing that I will be set up for reliability, widespread easy and cheap parts availability, servicing and all the rest of it way beyond 2012.

    Ian is a refreshingly bullshit-free guy who had not a bad word to say about anyone else in the business and freely acknowledged the problems with the new vans as well as their strengths. His assessment is that reliability on the new vans is likely to be superior, although I would add that for how long is anyone’s guess. I ought to perhaps take his advice and buy Brazilian considering the van will be my only 4-wheel transport (I prefer motorbikes and bikes to cars), but the combination of rust and high parts prices has put me off.

  • Tim on October 20th, 2010 said:

    Hi Mike

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip south-west in the Kombi. I did the same thing - I hired a Danbury T2 from Snailtrail before deciding whether to go down the classic route or new(ish) T2. I wasn’t in the fortunate position to buy new so whatever I ended up with would have been owned by someone else and therefore would demonstrate how it had been cared for.

    With regards to the Classic Bays, don’t forget that a good proportion of the panels that will be fitted in a restoration will have come from Brazil - so if you have concerns about quality of metal on the Brazilian T2 then you will just be putting the same metal they are made from onto a Classic Bay. Further, don’t be under the illusion that a Classic Bay won’t rust. It will. I’ve restored 2 old Volkswagens and thought all the corrosion had been removed. The shiny paintwork that went onto both vehicles eventually started to show corrosion spots - simply because the metal was old and it’s impossible to see where the tin-worm is going to start next. It can be soul destroying. This is why I chose to go for the newer Bay.

    I picked up a 5 year old Danbury converted Bay in May of 2009. It was a one owner, one driver vehicle. It came with pages of history right from when it was new. Could you get that for a Classic Bay - probably a rarity - and you’d pay for it?! Yes it had a couple of spots of corrosion that were very straightforward to rectify immediately. The previous owner had been thorough with the underseal treatment and since owning the Bay, every 6 months I top up any area that looks like it takes a beating.

    Mine’s aircooled and many of the parts are shared with the Classic Bay and some from the Splitscreen ie. suspension. The electrics are all new and everything works without problem. Much of the ignition system comes from the Mk3 Golf GTi and so parts are readily available from common motor factors such as Eurocarparts. It’s just a question of knowing what you need and where’s best to get it from. The watercooled model shares plenty of parts with the Fox/Polo models, so again parts - once it’s been deduced where they’ve been derived - will be readily available. As Ian has suggested, the modern electronics bode well for reliability.

    I’ve been so taken with my Kombi that a year ago at Vanfest I started a Facebook group for owners and enthusiasts of the model. As you are now aware that has grown into a dedicated forum and it’s flourishing. A year on we’ve over 100 members and are now recognised as a Volkswagen club by the ABVWC. The future’s looking good for the Kombi in the UK.


  • Mike Benis on October 20th, 2010 said:

    Hi Tim!

    I signed up to the forum yesterday! You’ve done a great job there :-)

    I found it through your earlier posting here, in fact, which is why I posted here rather than the very interesting Danbury or VWDownunder thread there, which covers similar issues.

    You make very good points about the new vans. But some of the rust-free Australian/SA/Californian imports stripped to bare metal, primed properly, painted well, waxoyled etc. and fitted out with new/refurbed engines, new wiring looms and parts don’t come out more expensive than most second hand Brazilians, so I’m having a good ponder. And the original Westfalia units seem better made than many of the modern ones. As for the steel, the quality of the Brazilian steel isn’t the issue to my mind, so much as the poor corrosion proofing.

    All that said, though, I haven;t had so much fun on four wheels since I owned a 2CV - and the dog finds a camper much more congenial than a motorbike :-)



  • pauline on February 14th, 2011 said:

    hi everyone. this is a question for david or anyone else who can help! david you say you used a local garage..can you give me the phone no? we have been let down so many times, so if anyone knows of a reliable and honest garage/mechanic,anywhere in london, please let us know. address/name/telephone/any info gratefully received. thanks

  • David on February 24th, 2011 said:
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    Sure. We used Terrys Beetles. He’s great. He’s a little bit sniffy about Danburys because of the problems he’s had trying to get info from them but he’s very nice and thorough. Reminded me a bit of the guy in Withnail and I with the Camberwell Carrott!

    Website is:

  • GEORGE WHEELER on March 5th, 2011 said:

    I have been toying with the idea of buying another camper having had 2 type 2s back in the 80s one a 1966 splittie the other a 1973 1600cc bay, which I renovated to pristine condition, we used it to travel to Devon and Cornwall a lot when my daughter was very young, ie 2 years old we had it for about 2 years but decided to sell it as we found it just to darn slow (5 hours to Cornwall) at 50-/60mph 70mph downhill if you were lucky, plus it cost a bomb on petrol, we decided it was quicker and cheaper to fly to Spain etc; but now haing watche ONE MAN AND HIS CAMPER VAN I would like another as my daughters flown the nest and it would be just my wife and I , but we want mod cons ,space,speed,and economy, so the new Danburys are out with there tiny engines and massive price tag, were going to try and buy a S/H T5 with 2.5 diesel turbo charged engine with massive bhp, MODEL year 2000 on,ETC; I seE you can pick these up for very reasonable 4 figure sums,in basic van format, we will convert it ourselves to suit our needs ,from others Iv’e seen around you can make them look real nice, yes I do like the old T2 shape but my god so slow,and expensive to run, and the new ones well, sorry but there just not worth the price tag as far as i’m concerned,tiny little petrol engines, persoanlly if you really want that shape then far better to buy an original,with a decent size engine in it although it would still be pricy to run, unless you can find a diesel to fit it, go diesel as far as i’m concerned , more miles to the buck more reliable and robust, I have a petrol engine Nissan primara estate, had it 5 years it’s old but my god it’s reliable, but a bit juicy though (you can see the petrol gauge needle moving as you drive etc) my wife has an o3 1.9 tdi VW GOLF estate, , well ! what a car sooo reliable,fast , and economical it just seems to run forever on 20squids worth of diesel, we go to DEVON a lot in it and it only costs 30 squid there and back with fuel to spare, so maybe I’ll put an elevating roof on that instead, THATS MY OPINION ANYWAYS, SORRY DANBURY.

  • Sarah Delaney on July 19th, 2011 said:

    Hi all
    we are new to the scene but have just purchased a 2009 watercooled Danbury from Steven at Snailtrail. Florence arrives on Thursday so fingers crossed…..!! We had a terrible experience when we bought a much longed for Devon Moonraker from Ian at VWKampers (Brighton) in December of last year. Basically, despite a brand new MOT etc I was never able to drive the van and to cut a long story short, I was fobbed off and had to fight tooth and nail to get my money back. Anyway, needless to say, once bitten, twice shy!! I am hoping that going new will mean less heartache…..

  • Tim on August 2nd, 2011 said:

    Hi Sarah

    Sorry to hear about the grief you had, however I’m sure your new Kombi will have you smiling.

    Good luck with Florence - the fun times are on the road ahead.


  • billmccreery on September 8th, 2011 said:

    Hello PEOPLE
    There is no perfect vehicle,they all need tender loving care i have owned trucks cars and vw camper vans as well as a few others,my age is old 80years i was a very good mechanic from a boy at the isleof man tt race’s 1946 till 1980 if you depend on your transport change the oil regular and service it,it’s just like having children,the rust is the curse of our wonderfull country,now i am looking for vw camper to do a bit of roaming
    yours billmac

  • Peter Gordon on October 11th, 2011 said:

    Although I didn’t buy the model being currently discussed, I have to admit to being more than a little disappointed in my dealings with Danburys both in the purchase and the sale from and through that company.

  • Jimmy on October 28th, 2011 said:

    I borrowed a friends Danbury and took the kids camping for a week. The kids loved it and generally we had a great time. I don’t think I would buy one as we wouldn’t use it that often and would probably buy a newer T5 if I did wan’t a camper. The only problem I had was with other campers, some were interested and wanted to nose around and some of the others made rude comments and wanted to start an argument. They were a very certain type, a bit rough and trying to live the dream(40+ something hanging on to the surfer image and failing). One guy even called me a F**king rich fake in front of my 5 and 7 year old girls. Would I buy an old VW to be associated with these jealous hippies? NO.

  • BETHAN on November 2nd, 2011 said:

    My husband and I bought a band new T5 from Danburys earlier this year.
    We’ve had considerable troubles with it despite it being brand new and cost £42,000.
    We had to call the AA out TWICE to get it started - not Danburys fault but VW - a faulty battery. It was replaced.
    However the BIG problem has been the leaking roof. Apparantely a fault in the canvas. First visit to Danburys and we were told we must have left a window open !! How patronising !
    THREE MONTHS later we are still waiting for a soultion. We have been unable to use it for a great deal of the summer. So disappointing.
    Customer service has been dreadful. No responses to e mails or phonecalls.
    I mentioned it on the Danburys facebook site - the comment was immediately removed and I was banned from writing any further comments on it ! Unbelievable. We are still waiting for them to solve the problem. At £42,000 we at least expected dry camping and some half decent customer service. Don’t bother with this company. We regret dealing with them and are now taking legal action. Very sad indeed.

  • Tim on November 13th, 2011 said:

    Jimmy - sorry to hear your trip in a New T2 was somewhat tainted by another’s jealousy. I say jealousy because that’s exactly what it is. You’ll find a number of purists who may have spent a small fortune restoring classic T2s will have nothing good to say about the Kombis. What’s interesting though, is the steady flow of former Classic Bay owners now switching to Brazilian T2s because they are fed up with the unreliability and running costs of the Classics. When you look at the price of a decent Classic Bay or even a Split now, you could easily buy a year or 2 old Brazilian Kombi that will do the job it’s purchased for with ease and get 40mpg. On our club stand at Volksworld 2011 for Brazilian Kombi owners, we were inundated with visits from Classic Bay owners wanting to know more because they fancied swapping.

    Bethan - sorry to hear of your troubles and I hope you get sorted. One thing that others reading this should bear in mind though: you rarely hear from happy customers on threads like this. For every one customer that’s had issues, there could well be 50 who haven’t.

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