30 years of the Volkswagen California

Three decades ago, the mobile leisure segment changed forever when the first California came onto the market from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.


It was the start of a unique success story and the unique camper celebrated this milestone at Techno-Classica in Essen (21-25 March). One highlight at the show was the presentation of an original California in as-good-as- new condition – a 1988 T3.

The California is the most successful camper van of its class, across four

generations, 157,500 California campers having been sold to date. One important detail unites the models of today with the first-generation T3: the pop-up roof – a tent almost two metres high.

The California story began back in 1988 with a special camper model based on the T3 van generation. Late that summer this first California was unveiled at the Caravan Show in Essen. Customers were able to order the first California in one of two colours: ‘Pastel White’ or ‘Marsala Red’. The interior designers showed an awareness for style with the white-and-grey, clearly laid out kitchen units.