June 21, 2009

Dan Neil's Got A Fifty Thousand Euro Motorhome

On my first trip to Las Vegas, I was 17. Some SoCal BYU dorm mates and I Rat Packed it down there from Provo for a weekend. And so it was, that I found myself at 3 o'clock Saturday morning, drinking a Kahlua and mostly milk in my matching thrift store dinner jacket, frittering money away at a two-dollar blackjack table at the Flamingo Hilton and watching as an obese old cowboy tried to seduce the lady sitting between us: "Baby, I got a hundred thousand dollar motorhome."


Which really has nothing at all to do with Dan Neil's flat-out awesome review of the Europe-only VW California camper van. Neil is blown away, and rightly so, by the T5 van's hand-crafted interior; its gracious honoring of the Westfalia minibus tradition; and the totally decent performance of its diesel engine. And he's baffled and outraged, and rightly so, that VW has a whole slate of vans--including one named California--which it doesn't bring to the US; instead, we're stuck with the embarrassing, hamstrung, rebadge fiasco, the VW/Chrysler Routan. [Neil's review last month of the Routan is sweet, btw.]

No, nothing to do with it at all. It's just what pops into my head whenever I see, hear, or type the word "motorhome."

VW California Biker: a dream van come true [latimes]
der California: Ihr Zuhause ist die Welt--the world not including the US, that is [volkswagen.de]


I agree with Dan, these need to come to the U.S.!

Ahhh, your little story sent me into Proustian reverie about my own spontaneous, late night Vegas runs down from BYU. Thift store dinner jackets, underage drinking, and gambling at 2-dollar blackjack tables with pre-mission Mormons, strange characters... Good times, good times. I could drive that Provo/Vegas stretch of the 15 in my sleep (and more or less have - you really only need to be awake for the short stretch between St. George and Mesquite).

(as for the strange characters, I meant the people I met at the tables - not the Mormon colleagues!)

Now that's a minivan I'd be proud to drive.

while shopping for a wagon this weekend we went to check out the Jetta Wagon and the salesman told us the many reasons this has not appeared in the US. Basically, it seems VW does bad market research and thinks we all want plush suvs and minivans. Also, it would be expensive. That said, it is missing the lovely flat front of the original buses, which he said would be impossible to survive in todays crash tests. anyway, the jetta wagon was very nice but am concerned about VW unreliability.

Humm. I was told by a neighbor of ours that they could get us a VW from Europe...they teach at a base over there and all you have to do is buy one and drive it over there for a few months. Then you can ship it back over. (they are allowed to ship a car every few years I guess)So I could buy one let them drive it for a while and then have it shipped. Too bad our grocery bills have gotten so high that we can't afford a new car now. :(

I desperately need this van! My 2001 Westfalia is getting a bit long in the tooth (over 150k miles and survivor of "the early years" of my kids). There is absolutely nothing else on the market that even vaguely captures my attention.

Yes, it definitely has the "vw quirks," but I'd buy the Westfalia again today if it were still available. I cringe at the thought of the remaining options for someone with five kids.

Does anyone know of a T5 that has found its way into the states?

Was initially thinking about buying a Volkswagen Transporter van before I came across the Routan,
it's most certainly forced me think twice about picking a
euro-style van

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