VW are celebrating 25 years of the VW California this weekend at the Techno Classica exhibition in Essen. Over 100,000 Californias have been produced since 1988 and are still going strong.
While it’s absolutely right that VW exploit the heritage of their VW-based camper vans I think there’s a bit of editorial licence involved. In actual fact, it was Westfalia who first used the California name for a version of their successful camper vans built on a Transporter base vehicle. Back in the mid-1980s the Joker had been established as a successful edition of the T3 and Westfalia brought out a slightly trimmed-back version, the California. They continued using the name in the T4 variant.
It was’t in 2003 (see my earlier post tracing the history of VW camper vans) that VW realised that there would be a lucrative market for a camper van produced in-house. So, strictly speaking, the VW California is only 10 years old – but the name has a longer lineage.
Pickiness apart, it’s something to be celebrated !