Anyone buy a VW camper in Europe lately?

Sep 16th, 2007, 12:01 PM
  #1  
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Anyone buy a VW camper in Europe lately?

I've been researching options for long term travel/life in Europe after the second of my 2 beloved Bearded Collies passes--probably before the end of the year.

My most recent focus is buying a VW camper over there to meander in, mixing camping with gites, b&b's, occasional apartment rentals....In looking at the 2 main sites I've found selling used VW campers (Moby Campers & Munich Kampers), I'm shocked by how expensive they are: with a few rare exceptions which sell very fast, many worth having are in the 30,000 - 50,000 dollar range.

The advantages of going through a 'dealer' over a private party are a) they'll buy back the van if I choose that, and b) they ensure the condition of the van at time of purchase, c) they take care of registration & other paperwork garbage for you.

I'm wondering if anyone here has done this recently, or has helpful knowledge about doing it: experiences, tips, knowledge of cost, leads to humans familiar with the market over there...

My plan would be to 'base' the van at the home of a friend in southern Paris (Courcouronnes) when not in use--possibly having to rent a garage near her, though I'm not sure about that.

As usual, your wise input will be so appreciated. (I also posted this on slow travel in case anyone there knows anything.)

Karen
http://www.pbase.com/karenmickleson

KarenKM is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 01:38 PM
  #2  
 
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Does it have to be a VW camper? Why not a Mercedes or one of the other makes? There are many many camper hire companies that sell off campers, just as Moby do, in most European countries. But they will be expensive - they are at most two years old, and new campers are expensive, but the prices may vary slightly in other countries. Consider buying privately - it will be cheaper.
How long are you planning on staying - have you considered the fact that you may need a visa? I am assuming you are not living in Europe at the moment. Have you thought about health care and insurances, for yourself and the vehicle, plus road tax for it? You will not be able to insure the vehicle unless you have paid, and continue to pay any taxes due on it in the country in which it is registered. You will not be entitled to free health care in Europe.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 01:47 PM
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Main problem with the exception of the UK it's virtually impossible to register a vehicle in Europe UNLESS you are a resident of that country. Getting insurance even in the UK is even more difficult for non-residentss. Lonely Planet's Thorntree has quite a few postings about the subject

As for the prices - brand new VW campers are expensive, old VW cans are EXTREMELY expensive if they've been restored.

Try looking for campers based on vans like the Ford Transit and be prepared to kick tyres and know what you are looking for - see www.autotrader.co.uk for private sales in the UK
alanRow is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 12:18 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for your input--I'd given up on getting responses to this one!

Since posting initially, I've done extensive research and because of the problems you note, it looks like the only real option is going with B&W in the Netherlands because a) they take care of all registration/paperwork/insurance issues (and are said to be the *only* European outfit qualified to do this); b) they have warranty service all over Europe; and c) they offer buy-back if desired.

Downside is they deal in only VW California type vans and Rimor RV's (I think on a Fiat base). These are more suitable for my needs (shower, toilet, etc) but seem wider than I want for small country roads. They have older 92 or so ones for around 20K or so (dollars). I also want to ship over my new Vespa 250, and have a rack for it installed, and these smaller campers may suit the extra weight.

Truth told, I'd *love* a James Cook Westfalia Sprinter for quality, maneuverability and features, but they're VERY expensive, even used. And I imagine it would be hard for B&W to land a used one for me.

Buying private in Germany has too many problems associated with it. Though I do have an address in south Paris at a friend's house I could use, the registration, licensing & insurance would be a stickier thicket of complexities than I'm up for navigating.

I'm looking at this as an open-ended, few years long adventure in which the vehicle will be my home for quite some time. I'm excited, but this phase of choosing 'the home' is daunting and complex.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Karen
http://www.pbase.com/karenmickleson
KarenKM is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 12:38 PM
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The Rimors are based on a Ford Transit.
The 1992 models cost around €8500/$1200, the newest about $40000.
You see a lot of the Rimor type around, also with a scooter rack on the back. They are not too wide for most roads, maybe for the single track roads in Scotland and Wales, but that's what you have the scooter for!
BW seem to be offering you are good deal from what I have read. I assume you would leave the vehicle in their name not try to export it.

Do remember to find out about visas health care etc before setting off on your adventure!
hetismij is offline  
Sep 21st, 2007, 12:59 PM
  #6  
 
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Hi Karen,

You may want to try these folks:

http://www.dutchcampervans.com/vehicles.htm

Prices seem reasonable.

In Amsterdam this summer I stood in the parking spot (on Damrak opposite where Amex used to be) where I bought a battered 64 VW bus in the summer of 1972. Seems like it was just yesterday!

Good luck!

Rob
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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I was a little shocked to hear that you thought www.munichkampers.co.uk were expensive. I understand that the UK is expensive to visitors but the campers made available by from Munich Kampers are some of the cheapest in Europe. That is the professional Westfalia conversion of course and not some dutch home job conversion.

Munich Kampers also helps with rego and insurance. you certainly don't need to go to Holland for that. I hope you made sure you had legal insurance and not some quick fix. This is actually more important the buying the camper in the first place.

Hope you managed to get your camper anyway.

Bedros


munichkampers is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 12:35 PM
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I resent the suggestion that the campers available from B&W are some Dutch home job - they too are professionally converted campers, used iniatially for rental and then for sale.

Oh and by the way advertising is not allowed on this site!
hetismij is offline  
Dec 7th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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Karen, assuming you're not a citizen of the EU, I don't believe you can legally stay in western Europe longer than 3 months. Have you looked into this?
Mimar is offline  
Dec 10th, 2007, 06:37 AM
  #10  
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Checking back in here, I see the recent posts.

To update, which speaks to your comment, Mirmar, my current thinking is to: 1) apply for a long-term visa here at the French consulate; 2) this then allows me to apply for a 'carte de sejour' (residence card) while living at my friend's home in south Paris; 3) once I have this card, I can legally purchase, register and insure a rig & scooter within France (or, if I want, buy in Germany and export to my French residence).

[Since first posting, by the way, I've learned that my 250cc Vespa is too large for legal driving on a regular driver's licence in Europe. So, I'm going to sell my dear Buttercup and buy a smaller scooter once I get a French residence card.]

I'm thinking I will travel to Holland and see what's available there when I move to my friend's home (next fall-winter). If they have a rig which suits my 'interior layout needs' there, I'll go with that option If not, I'll look to buy in France or Germany.

I'm still looking for motorhome dealers (whether in Holland or elsewhere in Europe) who handle registration/insurance matters for non-EU residents.

Karen
http://www.pbase.com/karenmickleson

KarenKM is offline  
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