As the 1970s drew to a close, Volkswagen introduced us to their new vehicle: the VW T3 campervan.
More boxy and pointed than its predecessors, the new camper still had a rear, air-cooled engine but gone were the curves of the much-loved T2.
As the new decade approached VW felt that a fresh, more ‘modern’ design was called for. And come 1982 the air-cooled engine was replaced with a new water-cooled system, much to the dismay of VW purists.
Whatever, the new VW proved just as popular and rolled off the production lines with much the same regularity.
In this gallery we’ve got a great collection of VW T3 campervans we’ve seen on our travels throughout the UK.
But just before we get to the pictures, let us provide you with the back story…
The launch of the VW T3 campervan
Thirty years after the first ever VW van was presented to the world (back in 1949), Volkswagen’s bosses decided that a new design was called for.
The most probable reason for the change in design was to meet more stringent safety regulations and modern crash protection standards.
Out went the curves of the classic T1s and T2s and in came a more pointed and boxy van, perfect for the shoulder pads of the 1980s. At least the rear engine was retained.
The T3 still falls into the ‘classic’ category but because these vans are a little more modern than the Splitties and Bays, they do feel more robust. Indeed, some of the vans in our gallery appear ready for anything!
Just like the earlier T1 and T2 campervans, converters included Danbury, Devon, and Westfalia who were commissioned by Volkswagen to create bespoke interior fittings and a variety of different roof designs from pop-tops to fixed high-tops.
And just to confuse us, the T3 had several names. In the UK it’s often referred to as the T25. Some folks call it a Microbus or Caravelle. Over in the USA, they called it a Vanagon (a mix of van and wagon!)
How much is a VW T3 campervan worth?
The VW T3s don’t demand the huge prices of the earlier T1s and T2s though you can still expect to part with £12,000+ for one in top-notch condition.
Tatty ones that might just be road-worthy but in need of some serious TLC can be bought for less than £3000. Even that might sound steep for a rust bucket but it seems you pay a premium for the VW badge.
Average condition T3s go for around 5 to 6K. If you want the better ones with more modern fittings you’ll be getting closer to £10-£12,000 or more.
Just like the earlier VW campervans, we can assume that T3s will hold their value or continue to appreciate in the future, especially the better ones.
You might be very lucky and find one in original condition but what most people do is have them re-sprayed, refurbished, and sometimes fitted with lowered suspension. They are a very popular choice of vehicle for campervan conversion.
How reliable are VW T3 campervans?
Like any old vehicle, the T3 isn’t without problems but by and large they are fairly reliable, like most VWs.
If you’re going to view one with the intention to buy take a mechanic with you. Even better, a mechanic who also has experience with T3s!
But it’s not just the mechanical side of things you need to be aware of…
There are areas that are prone to rust, sometimes the roofs leak, and there may be problems with the sliding doors (which can be expensive to fix).
Check out this forum thread to read what owners say about the reliability of the VW T3.
Even better, this fantastic VW T3 buyers guide with PDF owners manuals will tell you all you need to look for when you go to view a T3 campervan. It really is an excellent resource.
Now, onto our gallery that will whet your appetite. And if you already own a T3 and would like to add it to this gallery, please get in touch.
Our VW T3 Campervan Gallery
T3 campervan #1
What a beauty this little van is and when we saw her at Stonham Barns in Suffolk in July 2020 she was up for sale. She will have been snapped up pretty quickly! We couldn’t resist going over to take a pic.
She’s in immaculate condition with what looks like a recent respray which has been done to a very high standard.
The bright yellow ‘For Sale’ poster was on the back window. It’s a B reg, 1984/85 ‘high top’ model and looks superb in and out.
These T3s are sometimes known as T25s (just to confue us a bit more!) and this one may have been made by Westfalia. Please inform us if you know more!
T3 campervan #2
For a while, it seemed like everyone with a VW van were turning up at Dunwich on the same day, like some kind of van-fest.
This beauty is possibly from our ancestral home as it had Welsh stickers on the rear window. From the shape, you can see why these vans are sometimes known as ‘The Wedge’.
Lovely deep red colour and the white rings on the tyres makes it stand out and gives this T3 real style. Nice finishing touch with those curtains too! If this is your van we’d love to hear more about it. (Yes, that’s our VW Cree in the background!)
T3 campervan #3
Still at Dunwich on the same day, another VW turned up.
This one is either a work in progress or is happy to be part of the ‘rat-pack’ look. It’ll be interesting to see it a few months down the line.
This is a good example of rust problems on some T3s, often appearing on the panel seals.
It’s got a V plate making it a 1979/80 model and we’re not sure if the roof pops up on this one. Notice the gap on the roof between the cab and the living quarters. What do you reckon?
T3 campervan #4
We spotted this G reg VW T3 on a walk through a new housing estate in Stowmarket. We had to cut down a cul-de-sac to get this pic but it had to be done. What a great van!
The two-tone black and white paint job is well finished and we just love those chunky tyres, ready for off-roading, we reckon! Unlike many vans whose suspension has been lowered, it looks like this one has been heightened a fraction.
And with that ‘bull bar’ bumper on the front, this old V-Dub really does look like it could take on the world! A no-nonsense machine, ready for anything.
T3 campervan #5
We parked up at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre in Wales and spotted this little beauty straight away.
The owner was sat inside chatting to the people in the van beside her so we waited to take the picture. We hope you don’t mind!
Looks like she’s had a gorgeous re-spray job, done to the highest standard and we love that pop-top roof. A G reg, so that makes her 1989/90 model, possibly one of the last T3s?
T3 campervan #6
Yet another T3, and just as immaculate as the last.
We turned up at Bryn Y Gwyn campsite in Dolgellau and snapped this straight away.
We were intrigued by the bar below the bumper. Looks like a row of LED lights?
Y reg, making this a 1982/83 model, and she’s looking marvellous.
T3 van #7 – a pick up!
What a beauty!
We couldn’t believe we spotted this as we walked through Knettishall Heath. It glowed orange through the trees from a distance!
It’s a B reg (1985) VW double-cab pick-up with a left-hand drive. It has a Swedish sticker on the side window and we love the black face protector on the front and wooden slatted roof rack. We have no idea what ‘SJ’ means.
She’s in excellent condition and looks well-used and well-loved. And if she’s your van we’d love to know more!
T3 campervan #8
Hobo Trudi was busy taking pictures of the Harry Potter house in Lavenham when Gav’s attention was drawn more to this G reg T3.
We got speaking to the owner – who had pulled over to take some pics of the house himself – and he told us he’d had the van for four years.
He’s contemplating getting her resprayed. However, the interior is already in lovely condition.
T3 campervan #9
On one of our many trips to Felixstowe, we spotted this VW T3 down a side street overlooking the sea.
Great colour, chunky off-roader tyres, and goes by the name of Mr Orange. (We saw a sticker on the back window).
C reg makes it a 1985/86 model and it looks like it’s going to be around for another 30 odd years!
T3 campervan #10
Just a few yards away we saw this lovely yellow T3. Two vans added to the gallery in 10 minutes! Hobo Gav was like a kid at Christmas!
This is a 1983/84 T3 and has had an excellent make-over. Or is it all original? Interesting to see the wheel caps painted the same colour as the main body of the van.
If she’s your van tell us more!
T3 campervans #11 and #12
On a bright and sunny autumnal day we made our way to Old Felixstowe and couldn’t believe what we saw! On the horizon, parked up near the cliffs were loads of campervans and motorhomes. It looked like a Van Fest!
Gav got into geek mode and took pics of several vans, including these two T3’s…
The white one is an E reg (1987) Westfalia with a pop top. The owners were sat in the van enjoying the views out to sea.
The yellow one is also a Westfalia and is a W-reg (1981) model.
You can just make out all the other vans about on this day. It really was like an impromptu motorhome/campervan convention!
For more about the location check out our Motorhome Guide to Felixstowe, one of our favourite places in Suffolk.
T3 campervan #13
Number 13 in our gallery – unlucky for some – and it looks like this T3 has had a bit of a knock.
Spotted in Ram Meadow car park (in our birth town of Bury St. Edmunds) and parked in allocated motorhome spaces, this VW T3s name is Doris and she’s an F-reg, 1988 model.
Front and rear bumpers are missing and she looks like she is a work in progress. Again, notice the rust on the panel seals, a common problem with these T3s.
Just to say that you can park (and sleep overnight) in this car park for just £1. It is a designated overnight spot with 5 motorhome spaces. So, if you’re ever in the heart of Suffolk and are looking for a cheap overnighter, you know where to come!
Another T3 pick-up van #14
Now, we don’t normally do this – taking pictures of vans in people’s gardens – but this little beauty simply had to go in our gallery. If it’s your van we hope you don’t mind.
We were on a walk through Stowmarket and Gav felt he had to take a picture. It’s a G reg (1989) model, making this possibly one of the last rear-engine VW vans (before T3s were replaced by front-engined T4s in 1990, much to the disappointment of VW traditionalists).
We especially love the canvas tent-like covering over the back. Superb condition, and we’ll be waving when we pass her on the road!
T3 campervan #15
Hobo Gav got speaking to Dave, owner of this lovely 1981 T-25. Forty years old and still going strong!
Dave is a member of the Suffolk Bugrs, like us, and said he’d bought the van for 10K a couple of years ago but hadn’t been far because of lockdowns.
Look closely and you’ll see a BMW double-grill on the front, Porsche alloy wheels but get this…it has a Subaru engine (with four tail pipes coming out the back!) A Subaru engine would certainly give many of these old campers much needed extra horsepower.
However, it sounded nothing like your usual VW camper when it drove away! Pity.
T3 campervan #16
This lovely cherry red T3/T25 was spotted at Wickes in Stowmarket.
She might be a little rusty round the edges but look at that shine! Nice alloys too. And although you can’t quite see it in this photo, it has a twin tailpipe.
It’s on a D reg, making this T3 a 1986/87 model and we’re wondering if this van has sliding doors on both sides. What do you reckon?
T3 campervan #17
It wasn’t easy to get a decent pic of this van as the sun was bright but she had to go in our gallery.
This T3 from 1983 is in nice condition, We’re pretty sure some Silky polish would get those black marks out, just behind the door.
This V-Dub was converted by the Essex-based firm, Danbury. They started converting VWs way back in 1964 and are still going strong today.
Find out more about T3s converted by Danbury
T3 campervan #18
This lovely purple and white T3/T25 was seen at the Suffolk Bugrs auto-jumble in Ipswich. It has some, shall we say, interesting artwork and stickers on it!
Lovely black alloy wheels and H reg makes this a 1989/1990 model. Could be one of the last ever T3s (before the T4 Eurovan/Transporter appeared).
Good condition overall and in the current climate you’d expect to pay between 10-12K.
We hope you’ve enjoyed looking at our VW T3 gallery. If you have one yourself and would like it added to this page just get in touch.
If you love your V-Dubs remember to check out our other Volkswagen galleries…
The Classic VW T1 and T2 campervans and the VW T4 Eurovan/Transporter.
And if you’re serious about buying a campervan or motorhome check out what’s in our latest ebook, complete with checklists so you won’t miss a thing…
Back to Vintage Vans and Motorhomes Main Gallery