Some Westfalia facts.

Discussion in 'Camper Conversions' started by Poptop2, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    With some nice old pictures of the factory below!
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    The Westfalia company was set up on october the 1st 1844 by a blackksmith called Johann Bernhard Knobel.

    The company produced heavy horse drawn rail carriages for transporting goods to the new rail yard in Rheda Wiendenbruck.

    In 1932 Westfalia patented the trailer hitch or tow bar as we know it

    The first vw camper box conversion was made in 1950/1 for an American army officer who stated he wanted a works space, sitting room, cooking area and bedroom in a vw type 2.

    This "camping box" became so popular it went into full production throughout the 1950s and became the world leader in van conversions.

    All camper conversions since Aug 58 have numbers, SO 23 and 42 being the more popular early conversions.

    S O stands for Sonderausführung or special order.

    1000 initial camper boxes were made between 1951 and 1958.

    It was after August 1958 that "so" numbers were introduced.

    In 1962 the so34 became the first Westfalia to have plastic work surfaces instead of wood veneer, some people say this is when the company went into mass production as apposed to hand built, but they had been mass producing vw camper conversions for some time by then.

    In the early to mid 60s the distinctive folding roof became standard.

    The early baywindow had a so60 conversion.

    The folding roof which was hinged at the front was turned around after may 73, this simple change made the roof roomier and more user friendly.

    Believe it or not Westfalia made Ford Transit conversions!

    Westfalia were the official vw converters until quite recently, Chrysler became the parent owner of westfalia coach builders in 1994 and vw saw Chrysler as a competitor and terminated the long standing relationship.

    The more popular vw westfalia conversions

    1950s camper box


    so23 from 1959


    so42- note the pop up roof as apposed to the hinged roof of the so23


    So60 prototype 1968 conversion-


    1969 Stockholm conversion with Dormobile roof


    All westfalia conversion have a so number even if they have names such as Berlin, Malaga etc. a 1972 continental is a so70/72

    Here is a picture of the westfalia works production line celebrating production of it's 50.000th campmobile - rare eh?


    Great picture of the factory and if you look closely you will see a Dormobile roof sitting on a westfalia conversion right of the van with banner. @baybirmingham

    I will add some more to this later when I feel informative!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
    art b, geordieandy, Day and 14 others like this.
  2. Terrordales

    Terrordales Nightshift Admin

    I like the line of trailers next to the campers
  3. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Caravans down to bulk carrying trailers!
  4. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    One for you then Don - the trailer making bit of the factory


    And the wood yard where they processed the timber and made the birch ply from.


    Early bays on a train going to the docks!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
  5. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Some more pictures of the Westfalia factory for your perusal.


    The sharp eyed will spot the Dormobile roofed Stockholm conversion line at the back!

    Not sure if this is the westfalia factory or vw but interesting all the same

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
    geordieandy, Day and Sven like this.
  6. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    72wilma and Majorhangover like this.
  7. brilliant photos Malc, cheers for posting them :thumbsup:
  8. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    No worry's Mark - I have had them bookmarked for some time and have been feeling lazy today so did this little write up for us Westy and Dormy people!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2013
    Day likes this.
  9. Lovely pics
    Poptop2 likes this.
  10. Excellent Malc, especially the pics :thumbsup: I love the trailer production especially the side opening retail style trailer behind the horse box :D
    Poptop2 likes this.
  11. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

  12. Nice thread @poptop2
    It is a very rare thread though so even more invaluable
    Poptop2 likes this.
  13. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    T'is a rare thread indeed, not only is it a Westfalia thread, It's also a very nearly sensible thread from me ;)
    Lofty likes this.
  14. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    That will change when Rick gets here! :rolleyes:
  15. Silver

    Silver Needs points/will pay!

    Nice pictures:thumbsup:
    Poptop2 likes this.
  16. is he a spy he will be shot , who stole zeez pic turez?
    Poptop2 likes this.
  17. Cool pictures.
  18. Great thread Poppy :thumbsup:

    Now you are showing off your nerdyness :)
  19. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Nahh - I've been around @baybirmingham too long - well a weekend anyway!:lol:
    Majorhangover likes this.
  20. OI!

    Another fact for you - the hinged roof on the SO23 was nicknamed the "submarine hatch" ;)

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