Twenty five years ago the first VW campervan badged as a California was introduced by Westfalia. These were based on the T3 platform and interestingly, were at the bottom of their campervan range and aimed at the summer camper. Topping the range was the fully winterised Atlantic, introduced at the same time, with the Joker models which they’d been producing since the introduction of the T3 in 1980 sandwiched in between.
In 1990 the T4 was introduced and with it Westfalia switched to using only the California name on their VW campervans.
This fantastic photo of us having dinner was taken by Andrzej.
For various reasons, Westfalia and VW parted company with the introduction of the T5, and VW started producing it’s own campervan under the California name.
Organised by the VW California owners Club, Cali’s on the Farm held at Blacklands Farm Campsite was intended to bring together as many California camper vans as possible. Although not directly related to the 25th anniversery of the name, it was a nice coincidence that what is believed to be the largest ever gathering of California’s happened at this time.
Sadly, only a single T3 California was present at COTF, but it was a stunning example and the owners were very friendly and justly proud of their van. Guess who forgot to photograph it? We managed to get it on the video though.
There were a handful of T4 based California’s, including an early Canadian import, a couple of the long wheel based high top Exlusives and Club. And us, of course.
The remainder of the field was filled with T5s. Both the SE (full camper) and the Beach variants were represented.
There was a big mix of people present, young and old, from those with lots of VW experience, lots of travelling in their vans, right across to people who were spending their first nights in their new vans. A few had made it from the continent and also from Ireland. For us, it was the first time we’d attended any kind of VW camping meet, so we weren’t really sure what to expect.
There were a few traders on site, a coffee shop and a Hog Roast was organised for Saturday evening.
The weather did spoil it a little bit and unfortunately the rain came down very heavily during the Hog Roast. It did result in a beautiful double rainbow over the field though. The rain cleared and in the evening there was a raffle and the results of the show and shine. I think most people came back out for the raffle at the end of the evening.
We had a nice relaxing time at the meet. We chatted to some lovely people, had a nose around various vans, chatted about trips and campsites and Rosana even won a couple of small prizes in the raffle that was held to raise money for Help For Heros. Final total was 106 vans camped over, plus a few more as day visitors. That’s a fantastic achievement.
We made a short film about it, enjoy!