Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles celebrates in April 25 years since the California was launched – an exotic name for a dedicated camper van. For many, according to a press release, this type of vehicle has meant freedom to travel and explore new places, and California has marked an important point in the construction of recreational vehicles dedicated to those families who want to spend their vacation on wheels.
In the 80s, air travel was not within everyone’s reach, and the tent was no longer fashionable. Those people interested in holidays, from Western Europe, were seeking an alternative to these two options. Towed caravans or traveling by train were not appreciated and not flexible enough, so the European tourists, especially those wishing to explore the southern European have turned to motor homes or camper vans.
Volkswagen had taken advantage of this new trend and created a new model: the California. It was not a totally new idea. A number of independent manufacturers existed which altered commercial vehicles to suit this purpose. The Westphalia, for example, was a manufacturer that already had a history in this area and even one related to the Volkswagen.
The Volkswagen Westfalia was the official partner in the recreational vehicles segment. The first model was modified in 1962. It was the SO34, a modified original VW Transporter for the holidays. This was followed by the Westfalia SO42, based on the same design, but with a greater number of specific features. The model SO42 was very popular in the United States. Westafalia continued to produce models dedicated to the holidays in the 70s using the base vans and from other brands too. They carried the names of explorers like James Cook, Sven Hedin and Marco Polo.
In the early 80s, Westphalia was to have a major success with the Joker model, based on the Transporter T3. The Joker was basically a modified transporter, the rear seat could be converted into a bed and a small kitchen with a fridge, gas hob and sink were located inside. Thus the Volkswagen California was born, which the folks at Volkswagen for 25 years.
The most important element that debuted on the California and was preserved until today is that it can raise the ceiling to create additional sleeping space inside. The previous models were modified to have a super fixed ceiling, an element that could affect vehicle stability and its ability to pass under low areas.
Over their 25 years of existence, Volkswagen produced 100,000 copies of the California, which covered three generations of the model. The current VW California is available in a variety of engines, with two 2.0 TSI developing 150 and 204 hp, and five TDI engine (84, 102, 114, 140 and 180 hp).
Some of these engines can be associated with the automatic DSG transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive. To celebrate 25 years of the California model, Volkswagen has launched an anniversary version, based on the Multivan, named Edition25 .