One of my childhood dreams was having a car which I can live in. And after many years, it happened. My brother found out that his friend he met in the previous job has an old campervan - Volkswagen Transporter T3 produced in 1986. It was a heritage after his father who died two years ago. Since that moment the car was staying abandoned at his backyard. Now it's strongly corroded, wooden furniture and other elements inside are already rotten, some mechanical stuff is not working... We couldn't leave it like this! This car can survive another 32 years if we take care of it! That's it - our ideal campervan! And that's the story how we decided to buy it...
However, it was all just the beginning. There is much work to do before it will be ready to drive it safely on public roads again. First thing I did was engine oil change - 1.6 TDI engines from VW are extremely durable but they still need some care. After the oil change, I finally wanted to start the engine for the first time. I connected a spare accumulator as the old one was already dead. Next, I took my seat as a driver, switched an ignition on and just started the engine! It started just after one drive shaft rotation, this car totally didn't behave like his earlier engine start took place two years ago! The only thing showing it was his first start after so long break was a big cloud of black smoke which came out of the exhaust.
After minor repairs when it became possible to drive our car "somehow", but still only at my friend's house backyard, it was the time to make the body and paint repair - the most difficult part. We needed to remove totally everything from interior and some major exterior parts. The only things that stayed inside are driver seat and a part of the cockpit.
After emptying the car it was the time to transport it to the specialist workshop. Repainting and repairing the body is not a thing we can do ourself. Someone with very big experience and good equipment is needed here as extremely big accuracy and precision is necessary. If even just the smallest mark of corrosion is missed the car will be rusted again soon...
Body repairs will be finished at the beginning of August and that is how the history ends now. We have to wait.
The total cost of whole repair project will not exceed $9500. We bought this car for $500 and already paid another $500 for it's basic service. We are able to do many things ourself so it let save us hundreds or even thousands of dollars. When the body and paint work will be finished we still have to do some mechanical repairs. The final part is about building the new interior with furniture and equipment essential for living.
Our campervan is legalized for four people including the driver. When it's finally ready, we have a plan to see with this car as much world, as possible. Our framework plan (just for the beginning), contains 4 longer European trips, all starting in Poland, and it is as follow:
1. Nordkapp trip - through northern Germany, to Denmark, then to Sweden by Oresund Bridge and go to the northernmost points of Europe - Nordkapp and Knivskjellodden. Return via Finland. From Helsinki to Tallinn by ferry and continue through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, back to Poland.
2. British Isles - I already visited London with my car and this time I wanted to see more! Depending on final decisions we go by ferry from Rotterdam to Kingston upon Hull or from Calais to Dover (ferry) or Folkestone (train). Our target is northern Scotland. And we can't forget about Ireland and Isle of Man.
3. Iberia and Morocco - our target is Spain, Portugal, and Morocco. How will we get to Spain? That has to be decided - it's a framework plan. There are many possible routes - Austria, Switzerland, Germany, northern Italy...
4. Italy - From the northern to southern Italy, including Sicily. Really simple!
Except for Eurotrips we want to visit the USA with our campervan. It may seem to be a crazy idea, but it's easier than it looks like. The car can be shipped from Europe to the USA, where we get by a plane week or two later. Then we pick it up in a port and start our trip. Touristic Visa let us stay in the USA for 90 days, and we want to use as much of this time as possible. While staying there so long it's a way cheaper to import your own car than rent one. Return the same way - car goes by ship, we fly by plane :)
Any donation we receive will help us a lot with this project. We will be able to finish it much faster. And it's not just about our travels. It's about restoring the almost legendary car, the successor of VW T2 and T1 to its factory condition!
If you have any question connected with this project, feel free to contact me. I would be happy to answer all of them :)