Last week I looked at the oddball LT28 Westfalia Sven Hedin camper. While it was affordable relative to some crazy VW Camper pricing, at the end of the day it wasn‚Äôt a really great example. Somewhat surprisingly, another Sven Hedin
popped high-topped up immediately after I wrote up the post. Our reader Daniel spotted it, and not only was it cheaper than the one I featured, it was in much better condition. But it‚Äôs not the only offbeat VW Van to appear at that time.
I also noticed what seems to look like a more traditional American-style mini-camper, and I was curious. What it is is a T3 conversion by JŁrgens in South Africa. Called the ‚ÄúMighty Mini Motorised Home‚ÄĚ in period literature, starting in the 1970s the company basically strapped what looked like a tow-behind caravan onto the chassis and cab of a T2. Although I couldn‚Äôt find much information outside of the brochure, there are a few fan groups devoted to the T2 model. According to that site, JŁrgens began production in 1973 and when the T2 was phased out, production moved to the T3. The new T3 chassis offered more space in the back, so the AutoVilla grew to accommodate a double bed over the cab and a bathroom. All this space meant weight, and the already underpowered 2.0 inline-4 apparently struggled to meet the company‚Äôs definition of ‚Äúmotorised‚ÄĚ, never mind ‚Äúmighty‚ÄĚ. But these South African campers inspired Wilhelm Karmann (yes, THAT Karmann), who liscenced the design and began building the equally ungainly Volkswagen Karmann Gipsy. Karmann even built a few syncro models of the Gipsy. Needless to say, neither the Karmann Gipsy nor the original JŁrgens AutoVilla made it to the U.S., but there‚Äôs one for sale now in North Carolina: