(insert cartoon Transformer noise here)
December 9, 2004 2:18 AM   Subscribe

Verdier, a very geeky proposal for the redesign of the VW Westfalia. I think my brain just exploded. It has solar panels, an integrated pop-top tent with a huge awning and an attached screened enclosure, a fold-out kitchen with tables and chairs and more. [Flash-based, English translation link available at the bottom.]
posted by loquacious (34 comments total)
Wow, that is super cool. It's a transformer. I liked the folding captains chair-to-stairs trick the best.

But this is pretty ugly. It looks like it was texture mapped with a pressure treated fence.
posted by joelf at 2:31 AM on December 9, 2004

Ooh, the music is nifty-keen.

I both lust after such sleek integrated design and fear it. When one component on my TV/VCR/thermometer/coffeecake breaks, it sucks.

And I wonder how safe or comfy that rotating ladder-chair is. Would be, whatever.

But then again: lust!
posted by catachresoid at 2:37 AM on December 9, 2004

It looks like it's staying a lot truer to the original than the godawful New Beetle.
posted by veedubya at 2:41 AM on December 9, 2004

sport utility camper?
posted by three blind mice at 3:22 AM on December 9, 2004

If they wanna redesign it, how about designing an engine that'll allow it to ascend a hill at a pace faster than a toddler's crawl?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:26 AM on December 9, 2004

It's not really an it. In Vplkswagen terms. it's a proposal made by a designer for a contest.

There are dozens of pretty cool photos on the site. (And a few goofy ones)
posted by joelf at 3:28 AM on December 9, 2004

PareidoliaticBoy, wadja mean?
posted by veedubya at 3:30 AM on December 9, 2004

Having been condemned to 8 years of my childhood vacations trapped inside a classic VW campervan, I can say with comfortable certainty that the nightmarish roar of the engine, industrial odours and glacial up-hill pace will stay with me forever.

Just because it's now made of carbon fibre and glass (rather than lead and rock crystal) doesn't mean I won't run shrieking when it comes creeping round the corner

(on preview: PareidoliaticBoy - you too know the shame of being a kid watching all the cooler families manage to get all the way up a hill in one attempt? F*ckers, ain't they?)
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:30 AM on December 9, 2004

I was just reading about the Verdier Westfalia on Jalopnik...where there is also this article about a *real* Westfalia - "fitted with a race-modified 2.7 liter Porsche 911 motor, outfitted (holy crap) with a 10” turbo and intercooler setup from a Western Star diesel rig." Apparently, it can reach 170 mph, "despite being as aerodynamically inclined as a copy of Webster’s Unabridged dictionary standing on end."

(on preview: PareidoliaticBoy - I think the Porsche-powered Westfalia will meet your power needs)
posted by tpl1212 at 3:35 AM on December 9, 2004

My only personal experience with them was in the 70's, when going with the flow was an accepted pace. As it is, those things should be banned from the Sea To Sky highway at least; as they make an already hazardous trip even more dangerous, prompting impatient skiers to attempt to pass the frikken things when unsafe to do so.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:41 AM on December 9, 2004

PareidoliaticBoy, aircooled is the only way to travel. It's not just a car, it's a way of life.

The problem with big hills and veedubs, is that whilst it's easy to drop in a tasty engine, it's a bit more difficult to get a custom transmission. So, you're stuck with the standard high factory gearing, which is intended for an engine that runs best when it's running flat out. Long climbs just suck out the momentum, and it can be frustrating for us as well as the traffic behind.

I did 950 miles, this weekend, in my 1970 Beetle. Running in the new (bigger) engine. Damaged my hearing, hurt my back, sprained my shoulder and neck holding on to the steering wheel, and loved every mile of it.

Sometimes, the journey is the reward.
posted by veedubya at 5:33 AM on December 9, 2004

It's cute, but as a veteran of more campers, fifth wheels, tent trailers and motor homes than I can care to count, I'd say it lacks storage, which is always the number on problem in any camping vehicle. I didn't see a refrigerator in any of those loving interior animations. I didn't see a closet or a cupboard or a set of drawers other than the one under the stove, which would clearly be meant for kitchen things. "Dirty hippies" might have got by with only taking one set of clothing on their journey, but your average camper these days is far from that.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:00 AM on December 9, 2004

I want a reggae version called the "Westapharian".
posted by Eekacat at 6:27 AM on December 9, 2004

The music is delightful.
posted by odinsdream at 7:23 AM on December 9, 2004

Pimp my ride, indeed.
posted by fungible at 7:59 AM on December 9, 2004

I know this is going to come off sounding critical, but they should have spent a little more time designing the actual vehicle and less on the website. It looked pretty spartan, and I always remembered the VW as having a very good utilization of space. What about the interior? Where are all the little nooks and crannies for your stuff? Does the seat inside turn into a bed, or does it have storage under the cushions? Were there any amneties like, say a single hot-plate to cook things? Where's the engine go if there are lawn chairs in the front? And really... lawn chairs? That's the best they could come up with for front storage? How about a cooler?

-aircooled is the only way to travel

Not if you like your car to start in the winter, it isn't.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:28 AM on December 9, 2004

I was mentioning just yesterday, that my next car will be a Westphalia, camper. That whole thing, looks just great to me. For a singular user, the whole pop-up thing isn't necessary for anything but long encampments. I had a VW Van that I made into a camper, in the late seventies. I sold it to help make down payment on the home I currently own. I think that owning a camper again, would be a lot easier than owning a home, it would kind of take the sting out of homelessness in general. The whole concept really suits my inner nomad. That is it, the Boomers won't exactly retire, they will become nomads frequenting frontage roads, and ranch exits everywhere.
posted by Oyéah at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2004

Civil_Disobedient, you been spying on me?

Oyéah, a restored splitty is so you.
posted by veedubya at 8:55 AM on December 9, 2004

Does the seat inside turn into a bed
If you'd watched the video, you'd see they do!

The artist kept the overhead bin+speakers and side closet design of the 80s Westy, and I assume the under-the-rear-bench storage space.

I assume the engine's in the front now? That's too bad, part of the charm of the rear-engined VW campers was that you had lots of room, could walk down the middle between the driver and passenger seats plus they had a hell of a turning radius.

The fold down passenger seat staircase is probably the best idea in this whole concept. I had a hard time climbing up into the top bunk when I was a little kid, though it was pretty fun. And getting down at 3 AM to pee, that was even more fun.
posted by anthill at 9:26 AM on December 9, 2004

man that music rocks, the whole site is an unbelievable use of flash and despite hating those vans i now want one. Also there seemed to be plenty of storage.

does anyone know what that music is?

odinsdream i followed your link... must be daft still not sure what im listening to.

also odinsdream iloved this link via your link so much im gonna fpp it
posted by sourbrew at 10:04 AM on December 9, 2004

Dip. Dit-ih. Uma way-oh.
posted by scarabic at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2004

To me, it looks like it's based on the redesigned VW bus that should be coming out in late 05 as an 06 model (IIRC).

But that's not exactly like the New Bus concept that was shown at various auto shows (sorry, couldn't find a link). Perhaps that's closer to the final version of what will be produced.

Apparently, the NA market loved the original concept, but Euro consumer clinics found it too retro, so they dialed the design back a bit.

Still, I like what they've done with this modern camper conversion, and that's amazingly hard for me to admit (I tend away from cars that have back seats).

Nice site design too.
posted by Relay at 11:07 AM on December 9, 2004

Drove an '84 Westy (rear engine, water-cooled) for years.

While I miss the the amenities and the camping, I don't miss the getting nickled-and-dimed-to-death to the tune of about $200 a month in repairs.
posted by sourwookie at 11:36 AM on December 9, 2004

I, too, had an '84 VW camper and at the time, loved it. However, even with the watercooled engine it wasn't much of a go-er, and you could tow zero. Plus that feet-in-front-of-the-front-wheels design is not exactly safe. The newer VW campers (actually converted by Winnebago for the US, I believe) are OK, but still lacking in power and (probably) reliability. A better choice is this, with dozens of interior designs available (or design your own), with available pop-top second story bed and as much power and towing capacity as you need.
posted by centerpunch at 12:15 PM on December 9, 2004

If you'd watched the video, you'd see they do!

Ah, I missed that. Ok, well, that's fine. It's no Earth Roamer, but it's fine.

Oh, and Relay, here's the link to the New Bus concept vehicle you were talking about.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:45 PM on December 9, 2004

Here's a link to the Earth Roamer. It's soooo bad-ass.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:46 PM on December 9, 2004

This is so much better than the New Bus concept vehicle that Civil_Disobedient links to above. I saw it at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show. A bunch of us were just standing there, jaws dropped. I mumbled something about it being a Yuppie-scum-mobile, not a VW, and all the people around me nodded. It was just so wrong.
posted by QIbHom at 12:57 PM on December 9, 2004

Here's a link to the Earth Roamer. It's soooo bad-ass.

Yeah, but it doesn't have that fruity iPod/Volkswagen/Macintosh vibe to it, so who cares how practical it is?
posted by scarabic at 1:36 PM on December 9, 2004

Yeah, but it has solar panels. As it, it already has solar panels. And it runs off eco-diesel. And there's no propane involved. And there are no generators needed. And it has a safe, non-gross human-waste disposal system. And it gets double-digit miles-per-gallon. And it's 4x4 drive. And it's got 570 ft.-lb. of torque. And a changing room. And a dining table. And two full-sized beds. And a closet. And a pantry. And a sink. And a stove (but no propane necessary). Oh, and it's got an A/C unit. And a refridgerator.

It's the best, dammit!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:52 PM on December 9, 2004

Oh, and a microwave and a bathroom.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:04 PM on December 9, 2004

Sourbrew, the tune is "Steeps" by a Canadian musician, Freeworm. Go check out his site and use the little music player in the upper right to fast forward to the tune "Steeps" from his album "Vegetation = Fuel".
posted by debris at 3:31 PM on December 9, 2004

I love VW (I've got a Passat) but any Eurovan redesign will probably have to address the issue of safety in front end collisions. Not much crumple-zone in front of you. When "Click" and "Clack" talk, people listen.
posted by spock at 4:31 PM on December 9, 2004

I want one.

One of the greatest vacations I had as a kid was with a friend's family. Pair of burned-out hippies-turned-yuppies, still had their treasured VW camper from (I believe) their Deadhead days. Drove up to Georgian Bay in that thing, slept in it the first night... glorious.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:37 AM on December 11, 2004

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