Christian Brueckner was the owner of an early 80s VW T3 Westfalia campervan. Allegedly, there were times he lived in it. Let’s have a peek at the facilities on the interior.
These are two standard photos that have appeared everywhere in the press, but they help explain the interior.
All of the facilities in a T3 are arranged on the left hand side, behind the driver’s seat. Take a look at the left hand side exterior. There is no entry/exit on this side because of the row of utilities. More importantly, look at the rear window, which appears to be half blanked off. That is a small wardrobe.
The following is the right hand side of the exterior. It has a sliding door to allow easy access to the utilities for alfresco dining. But please note the two shiny clasps on the roof. These pop off to raise the roof and give headroom in the cooking/washing area.
By the way on my trawl through VW T3s, I never saw another 2-tone example. It does not seem to be a factory option. That would make Christian Brueckner’s campervan more distinguishable than most.
Don’t blink. This next photo is indeed a 1983 VW T3, and you can hire it from a couple in Faro if you fancy a week touring the Algarve. It is in alfresco mode, and it is clear how the top works.
There is a sneak peek of the interior. I wonder if plastic jerry cans are the only way of getting fresh water into the van.
As you look at the interior, please think about what is NOT included. This is a very basic lifestyle, not 5 star luxury. The photo shows the small combined kitchen and living space.
Starting nearest the driver’s seat and heading back, first up is a small sink and a 2 ring gas hob.
Next is a brown surface, which is actually a pivoting table, to turn out for the 2 rear seats.
One further back is a white upright unit, the wardrobe. I would guess that at best it holds maybe 5 shirts and a couple of pairs of shoes.
In the living room, there are seats for two. These fold down to become part of a double bed, so they must be soft. There is an overhead storage area. And there is a large underseat storage area. That is the only large storage area in the campervan.
Have you thought about what is not included?
This is another shot of an interior, and it is probably more like Brueckner’s campervan. There are no speakers on the overhead storage unit. There are no seatbelts on the seats.
You can see how small the table is, and that is the main table. The kitchen storage space at first looks generous, but there must be waste water collection under the sink. And unless the T3 is a liquid propane model, there must be at least one gas bottle under the hob.
This is an example of how to take a good design and mangle it. Someone has added a third seat at the back, but it has no leg room whatsoever. It has also blocked off access to the wardrobe from the living area. Now one has to gain access via the sleeping area, presumably by clambering in through the boot.
And it baffles me how this 3 seat wide sofa folds down to become part of the bed.
These are the sleeping quarters, and you can see how the fold down part of the double bed works. Note also the overhead storage unit comes all the way back. The sleeping area is very definitely crawl into.
At the front the seats rotate, and there is a tiny table that swivels out from under the sink. Just big enough for 2 cups of tea.
This is our red T3 undergoing a major revamp, not just a tidy up. Those two low units on the left don’t appear on originals.
You can see the metal base used for the seating and the bed. More importantly, you get a partial peak into the underfloor storage.
That’s the end of the photo tour, now on to the analysis.
Christian Brueckner is said by several to like to look quite presentable. That is a mighty challenge if you live any length of time in a T3. There are ways of getting around obstacles, but you have to work at it.
The most obvious is the lack of a shower. A trip to a camp site is but one solution.
There is no toilet in an original T3. A cheap coffee in a café and that’s sorted. The red T3 HAS a toilet, presumably installed as part of the overhaul. The only place for it is the low unit beside the gas hob. That’s pretty public, but if needs must.
There is no oven, no fridge, no freezer. It’s the gas hob, take it or leave it.
There’s no facility for washing or ironing clothes. However, Portugal has many inexpensive lavavanderias.
There are no electrical powerpoints. That means no electric razor or kettle. It’s the gas hob if you want hot water.
As it happens, there’s no microwave or TV. Hopefully you enjoy conversing with your partner!
That underseat unit is definitely large enough to stow away drugs, or Madeleine McCann.
Until next time.