When Maurice Mitchell and Reginald Tyrell came to us separately last year to renew their insurances, we couldn’t help but notice just how long the duo had each owned their VW campers.
As one of the UK’s largest specialist VW insurers, we are no strangers to campervan devotees, but with a combined ownership just shy of 75 years, these two certainly stand out from the crowd.
As shining examples of long-term ownership and love, the pride and care taken by them for their motors shows just how passionate our customers can be about their VWs.
Always keen to get to know a little more about our customers and to speak to fellow enthusiasts, we recently got in touch with these VW owners to delve into the story behind their campers.
Maurice And Betsy – Four Decades Of Camping Joy
Maurice nearly missed our call on the sunny afternoon when we rang - true to form he was busy outside cleaning the very camper that we wanted to speak about!
The 81-year-old from Somerset bought his ’71 bay window camper from new, ordering it himself directly from the factory in Germany and taking receipt in early ’72. Maurice proudly reveals to us that he still even has the “birth certificate” for Betsy, his camper, proving her authenticity and Maurice’s claim of sole ownership.
Unlike some people’s treasured motors, Betsy hasn’t been shut away in the dark and has been lovingly used by Maurice from day one, clocking up more than 62,000 miles over a lifetime of varied use as a camper, day to day motor, commercial vehicle and even for the odd wedding and school prom.
It’s always nice to hear of a well-loved classic still being used, and Maurice tells us that Betsy is kept in top condition, despite her 42 years of service. With yearly under-sprays and a strict cleaning regime, Maurice and his wife are certainly kept busy.
Part of the reason that we think VW campers are so special is the memories and experiences that can be built around them, far more than with a regular car or van. For Maurice, his most treasured memory of Betsy came in the late 1970s when he embarked on a tour of Europe, taking in seven different countries including France, Spain, Germany and Italy and cementing Betsy’s place as part of the family. No doubt this must have been a fantastic journey, and we just love the romantic image conjured up of his vintage camper cruising down the French Riviera.
Maurice and Betsy have been with HIC for two years now, and he said that he couldn’t be happier with the service we have offered. With absolutely no plans to sell up (quite rightly too!), we trust that there are many more years of motoring happiness still to come.
Reginald’s Globetrotting 1970s Viking
Reginald Tyrell, from Hertfordshire, has owned his 1979 Viking Type Two camper for 31 years now, becoming its second owner in 1983.
The 86-year-old’s camper is mostly used for family holidays, and over the years it has been adapted to suit their needs.
Having already been equipped with a space saver roof, the original wooden boxes and furniture have been replaced by new equipment and a very comfortable rock and roll bed, making the camper ideal for family holidays.
Each year Reg and his wife drive the camper down to Beaulieu and The New Forest in Hampshire, taking time to soak up some sun in the countryside and grabbing the chance to meet up with friends and family.
In the past the duo have also toured France, Spain, Italy and Germany, making the most of the flexibility and freedom that the camper brings. The pair prefer to avoid motorways and main roads, making use of B roads and less-travelled paths to take in the scenic route that other travellers might miss – undoubtedly making every journey a little more special.
Over the years the couple have made fantastic memories with the camper, through the good times and bad.
The highlight of Reg’s camper-driving career was struggling through the Alps in seemingly endless, pouring rain until finally emerging out into the welcoming and warming sun on the beaches of southern France.
One of the rare downsides that Reg has encountered, however, was experiencing brake fade, also whilst driving in the Alps, and facing the famed Mistral Winds in Perpignan, a reminder that driving, even on a camper holiday, always carries risks.
Despite the odd up and down, Reg maintains that buying a VW was one of the best decisions he ever made.
“Owning a campervan really is a wonderful way to travel.” Reg said. “Touring Europe, eating fish and chips in the van and watching the sunset whilst parked up on a harbour and watching the boats come in, there really is nothing like it. I’d recommend anyone buy a campervan, you won’t regret it!”
If the stories of these two VW veterans have inspired you to splash out on your own camper and experience the freedom of the open road, why not stop by at HIC for your VW camper insurance?
With 25 years experience and a team packed with motoring enthusiasts, we are sure to be able to get you the insurance you need at competitive prices and maybe even share some stories of our own.