1973 VW T2 Bay Window Camper
The Volkswagen Type 1 was the Beetle saloon, and the Type 2 was the light-commercial derivative. Introduced in 1950 and available in many different forms, it was almost completely re-engineered in 1967 to become the ‘bay window’ – a reference to its big one-piece windscreen.
‘Bay windows’ were available in pick-up, crew cab, panel van, Kombi (a van with windows) and Microbus (with seats) formats. VW didn’t build them as campers, but they were adapted for the job by a variety of converters. The German Westfalia typically features a pop-top roof, cooking facilities, some very clever storage and a ‘rock ’n’ roll’ bench seat that converts into a bed. Other converters who produced Type 2-based campers included British specialists Devon and Danbury.
So popular are these conversions that Danbury,
in particular, continued to make them long after the T2 went out of production in Germany in 1979. In fact, it’s still possible to buy a new one today: the Type 2 remained in production in Brazil until December 2013, latterly with a water-cooled VW Polo engine, and a few are still waiting to be converted into campers.
Between 1967 and 1972, the 1584cc Beetle engine was standard, but from 1972 power gradually increased with the new Type 4 engine. This came initially as a twin-carb 1700cc, an 1800cc (from 1973) or a 2.0-litre (1970cc) from 1978.
A large number of detail changes occurred in the early 1970s and it would take pages to list them all.Until 1972, the front indicators were set low on the nose, but were then re-sited higher up either side of the front grille. The front bumpers changed at the same time with squarer ‘grooved’ versions replacing the former wraparound arrangement. The rear end layout was also redeveloped to reflect the use of bigger engines, including enlarged air inlets. Taller, larger tail lights are another feature of the ‘late bay’.