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:


Wir haben lange auf den Sommer gewartet, um unsere „Rheingold“ Tour zu starten, aber Anfang August war es dann endlich soweit und wir sind eingetaucht in die sagenumwobene Landschaft von grünen Weinbergen und malerischen Burgen, haben jeden Abend mit einer Flasche Wein den Ausblick auf Fluß und Schiffe genossen und natürlich auch die eine oder andere Bekanntschaft zu anderen Freunden und Besitzern von alten Campern gemacht.

Traumhaftes Panorama auf unserem Lieblings-Campingplatz am Rhein, direkt gegenüber der Loreley: Unser Ford Transit Mk1 Westfalia Wannsee, ein riesiger umgebauter Magirus-Deutz und ein VW T3 treffen hier rein zufällig aufeinander.
Niederländischer Magirus-Deutz aus den 50er Jahren
Auf einem kleinen Campingplatz in der Nähe von Colmar: Unser Ford Transit Westfalia und ein schöner Hanomag-Henschel aus den Niederlanden, welcher nicht nur zufällig große Ähnlichkeiten mit dem Mercedes T2 („Düsseldorfer Transporter“) hat.
VW Bulli T2 aus den Niederlanden
Ein anderer VW Bulli T2, diesmal aus England.
Fiat 238 aus den Niederlanden
Bedford CF Dormobile aus Malta
Inzwischen bereits an der Mosel auf dem Weg nach Trier: Unser Ford Transit Westfalia und ein Mercedes T1 Weinsberg Orbis
Frühstück direkt am Rhein in der Nähe von Rüdesheim