The ever growing popularity of all things nostalgic has brought the VW camper van firmly back into the minds and lives of people in the 21st century, with its quirky, hippy-like image of freedom on the open road proving popular with an entirely new generation.
In the UK, more and more are appearing on the roads, especially in areas popular with freedom loving tourists. In Scotland and along the Welsh Coast Campers are not so unusual anymore. Few folk, however, would associate VW campers with speed or race tracks, except, that is, for a particular US car mechanic.
Jeff Bloch, or ‘Speedycop’ as he is also known, has taken a 1976 version of this iconic vehicle and remodeled it into a one-of-a-kind racing machine, and renamed his creation the ‘Trippy Tippy Hippy Van.’ His outlandishly clever design and engineering feat has produced what appears to be a VW camper on its side, but a glimpse of what is behind the façade reveals a completely gutted interior and the speedy VW Rabbit it is mounted on – http://cars.barcroft.tv/vw-camper-van-24-lemans-speedycop-side-driving.
A mean, lean, speed machine
Propelled by a ‘hidden’ vehicle which boasts an impressive 1.8 GTI, 16 valve engine, reaching speeds of 100 mph is pretty easy, even with the extra weight the camper van adds, as was putting together this unusual hybrid for the 44-year-old cop who created the entire thing in only five weeks. Trippy Tippy was born from his desire to have the most unusual entry ever in a car race famous for its often bizarre lineup. Competing in the end result at LeMons 24, a humorous alternative to the ultra serious Le Mans 24 race, guarantees Bloch a place in race history, regardless of the final outcome.
A more traditional use
While Jeff is proud of having his creation hold together for 200+ laps of a practice course, many British camper fans feel the same about their van used for its original purpose, even though many of them will have been refurbished inside by specialists such as Welsh coast campers.
The camper van revival is proving to have teeth, so who knows where the future will take the expanding fan base and their efforts to honour this amazing king of the road.