The team at VW Camper Hire’s Sidmouth, Devon depot have been doing a bit of research into the history of the VW campervan in the local area and have traced it back all the way to the 1950s and what was to become the iconic Devon Moonraker. Devon Conversions had a rich history with the VW campervan and it began in the mid 1950s when Jack White a Sidmouth businessman had a VW caravette converted into a camper van to take his family on a trip to visit his wife’s family in Germany.
Renowned for their high quality and oaken woodwork the Devon Conversions from JP White were soon one of only a few converters who were licensed by VW as official conversion and VW provided their own warranty on the conversions. The marketing of the vans as the Devon Caravette was aimed at sales reps, though at the time they were referred to as ‘Gentlemen of the Road’
The development of the conversions continued for the standard beds and pop up tables to include such luxuries as water carriers with their own pumped tap. It was in the early 1960s that the pop top roof was introduced giving a full 6 feet of head clearance! The pop top continued to develop with the addition of bunks in the roof that meant 4 people could be accommodated in the campervan without the need for an awning or addition sleeping in a tent.
The developments continued with the introduction of the Moonraker which was Devon’s most famous VW conversion. Devon conversions as they were known continued to strive for excellence and maintained their relationship with VW ensuring they were a recognised partner to the German company.
Looking at “Olive” who has joined our VW campervan fleet this month it’s easy to understand how the introduction of the Devon campervans caused such a stir over 50 years ago and how they continue to be as popular today! Very little has changed – and maybe in today’s time that’s why so many people love a VW!