|T2 Evolution : From left the 'Splitty', Early Bay, Late Bay, and T25|
This post is intended as an explanation of our sub heading for this blog as Barbara is an 'Early Bay' or 'Low Light' variant of the classic 'Bay' camper. When we first decided to get a classic VW camper i was only really aware of the three main variants of the classic VW camper : the original 'splitty' splitscreen bus, the 'bay' (as in bay windscreen) camper or 'breadloaf', and the later T25 or 'brick'/ scooby doo mystery machine type. However the second variant the, bay camper, is distinguished by two different models and so called 'earlies' or 'low lights' have subtle design differances in that the indicators are at the bottom just above the bumpers and the front bumper itself curves around the front of the cab area and has an intergrated side step.
If you have read Barbara's bio you will know that for almost a year we shared 'Barbara' from our nieghbour who was the original owner after she had larnt we were going to buy a camper. At this stage i was convinced that i would not really be able to afford a classic 'bay' camper or had the knowledge and skills to maintain an older bus and was actively looking for the 'newer' 1980's update of the T2 bus the t25, which although doesnt have the 'cute' or 'classic' look of the Bay or Splitty, certainly has its charms and still shared the heritage with its rear mounted air cooled engine. I already knew that the original and perhaps most iconic 'split screen' camper was out of my league as they are so prestigous and 'precious' (This is a bus i knew was going to be parked up on the street, and although i have a miraculously 'clean' 25+ year driving history i also have a history of car abuse and neglect that would bring me to the equivilant of the VW social services if a bus of such heritage got in my clutches)
It was only when my 'bro in law' Vern, who is a VW fan and owner of both a bay and beetle beach buggy and a very skilled and knoweledgable enthusiast all round, saw the bus and explaind that Barbara is actually a truely 'Heritage' vechile and with its early 'low light' styling as they were not produced for a very long period and are increasingly rare in thier original right hand drive variant unless they are 'rust free' imports from South Africa or Australia.
In many ways the 'Early' Bays are the evolutonary bridge between the original and iconic 'splits' and the later bay window design and in my view are definately cuter than the later bay but benefit from the updates larger size and various technical updates. I'm not wanting to be a VW 'snob', the VW equivalent of saying 'Im not racist but...', but in my view i got the best camper that is both 'classic' and 'heritage' without the 'elite' and lets face it much more expensive to maintain and own Split Screen.