Costs to Buy and Own a Classic Camper Van

How much does it cost to buy a classic camper van? How much do you have to calculate for tax, insurance, maintenance and repairs? Of course, every van and every country is different, but in this article I will analyse in detail all costs of 2 year ownership of my 1978 Ford Transit Mk1 Westfalia camper van in Germany. And I promise there will be some positive and negative surprises.

Initial Investment:

Purchase price 2 years ago was 7,300 €. The van was a one-owner car in good condition, but I had to invest 1,460 € in restoration which should be added to the purchase price, because other than later repairs it belongs to the initial investment, in my eyes.

Together with 40 € of registration costs, that’s a total initial investment of 8,800 €.

Regular Annual Expenses:

Annual tax in Germany is a flat rate 191 € for a car older than 30 years, if it qualifies for historic plates. The annual insurance (fully comprehensive) is 216 €. The mandatory technical inspection (TÜV) is 163 € every second year. I had to pay 125 € for a valuation to determine the current market value, which is necessary to get the agreed value classic car insurance. Finally I pay 40 € per month or 480 € per year for a covered parking space in the barn of nearby farmer.

Maintenance costs are made up of one bigger service which included work on the carburetor and a new water pump and a small service which was more or less just an oil change for a total of 614 € in 2 years or 307 € per year.

In total my regular annual costs were 1,338 €.

Repair Costs:

I had three repairs within 2 years or 10,000 km. The two smaller ones were a broken distributor arm and a defect device that controls the charging of the battery. Both together were just about 200 €.

By far the biggest repair was replacing the spur wheels of the camshaft for 570 €. These Novotex spur wheels are a weak spot of Ford’s V4 engine. Total repair costs in 2 years of ownership were 784 €, that’s an annual 392 €.

Fuel Costs:

Fuel consumtion is 10.7 l/100km or 26 mpg (UK)  or 22 mpg (US). Additionally the Ford Transit needs an additive to compensate today’s unleaded fuel. And the engine consumes about 0.4 litre of 15 W40 oil per 1,000km.

Gas, additive and oil in total is 140 € per 1,000km or 700 € per year, because usually my road trips cover about 5,000km per year.

Total Annual Costs:   2,430 € (including gas for 5,000km).

That’s now really all costs for the camper van, but I haven’t yet calculated the costs for the campground. My average costs were exactly 26 € per night so far.

For my annual 5,000km of road trips we usually stay about 25 days on campgrounds, that’s another 650 €. All in all, I have paid 3,090 € per year in total for the pleasure of 25 days of holiday travelling…. quite a lot of money and not really cheap holidays!

But there is still a joker in my calculation: Classic camper vans have risen in value in recent years and part of my annual costs have been compensated by appreciation.

If you want to know more details about the costs of my Ford Transit Camper Van and how appreciation over the last two years resulted in „nearly free“ ownership and holidays, check out my latest Youtube video:

1974 Ford Transit Mk1 Dormobile sold at auction for 18.400 €

Ford Transit have long been undervalued compared to VW Bus T2 Campers, but this 1974 Transit Dormobile fetched a good price at Historics Auction in Brooklands Museum on September 23, 2017.

This charming camper van with 109k miles on the clock had an estimate of 9.000 to 14.000 GBP, but finally sold for 16.240 GBP or 18.400 EUR! This clearly shows that original Transit Mk1 Campers are rising in value (finally).

Historics described the car as follows:

„Originally registered in 1974, it was owned and enjoyed by the same gentleman for some 28 years until his passing. We are told by his son that his father was a manager at the Ford factory and that he ordered the van with specially selected panels and put it through the paint shop three times giving the body as much paint as the chassis. He also had a two litre, Essex V4 engine fitted with a beefed up diesel gearbox, flywheel and diff which is believed to be the same engine as in the vehicle today; this would explain the log book not giving an exact engine size but instead listing it as 9999cc. It has been enjoyed by many families including that of the current vendor’s.

PCR 793M has recently been restored to its former glory including fresh paint. The interior was kept as it was when originally ordered and recovered in the same style fire retardant cloth; it also offers a working electric sink, gas hob and grill. Sleeping two in the roof and two below and in all original specification, we are told this vehicle drives as well as it looks and has an MoT test certificate valid until May 2018. Compared to the similar VW Camper this is epic value and we think, given the rarity in this condition, slightly cooler.“

Link to Historics Auctions:

Wie sah Luxus-Camping in 1954 aus?

Dieses Mikafa-Wohnmobil muss in 1954 der Inbegriff des Luxus-Campings gewesen sein. Voll ausgestattete Küche mit Kühlschrank, Bad samt Toilette und eine gemütliche Wohnlandschaft. Kein Wunder, dass man zum gleichen Preis von 27.500 DM damals auch einen 300 SL Flügeltürer hätte kaufen können. Heute gibt es für den Mikafa wohl gar keinen Marktpreis, weil der Wagen so selten ist, dass schlicht keiner auf den Markt kommt. Umso schöner, wenn man ein so liebevoll restauriertes Exemplar einmal zu Gesicht bekommt.

Basisfahrzeug ist ein deutscher Tempo Matador mit 1500 ccm / 48 PS Motor. Für die beachtliche Grösse, immerhin 5,60 m lang, 2,00 m breit und 2,35 hoch, ist das ziemlich überschaubar. Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit liegt damit auch nur bei beschaulichen 80 km/h.