For the most part, the design of the VW California is pretty tried-and-tested. Most owners make a few ‘essential’ improvements to their vans including adding seat covers, carpets and perhaps a removable shelf, as well as adding those all-important accessories to personalise their van that add a splash of colour.
However, one additional accessory that I’ve recently added is a movable coat hook. The Cali comes out of the factory with two fixed coat hooks, one on the door pillar behind the passenger seat and one above the rear seat just behind the sliding door. Neither are very useful: the first is difficult to get to and the second risks hanging a dripping coat over your seat.
Enter the world of 3D printing. It seems that there’s a design for almost any fixture and fitting you can imagine – and lo and behold, there’s a downloadable design for a VW California coat hook that can be positioned very flexibly.
3D printers work by heating up plastic filament to produce bespoke parts which are very light and very strong. The filament is heated to about 200 degrees Celsius and then laid down in a very accurate, additive manufacturing process using successive layers of material. My 12-year old son has a small 3D printer at home which he’s used to make a whole variety of things: fidget spinners, neat boxes and even a small tripod that I use with my mobile phone. Quite the entrepreneur, he’s sold these to generate some welcome income from his friends and family.
The coat hook seems the most useful accessory I could find for the Cali but you can also download printable designs for the small shelf clips, a strainer for the sink and a new knob for the controller unit (for the roof, heating etc).
The coat hook fits under the rail at either side of the ‘ceiling’. It’s most useful at the sliding door side and is great for hanging wet jackets. The design is almost perfect but not quite. The end that’s opposite the coat hook is just about 5-6mm too short and otherwise would fix securely behind the aluminium rail to the side of the ‘ceiling’. As it is, it works perfectly when the roof is down since the ‘ceiling’ holds it firmly in place and while it does work when the roof is raised, the design could be improved.
If anyone’s interested in buying one please let me know by using the ‘Get in Touch’ form. They’re priced at £6 (or two for £10), including P&P within the UK. If there’s sufficient interest my son could possibly also produce them in grey to blend in better with the Cali interior,