Not a Dolphin: VW Bishcofberger Camper

The range of mini camper conversions is somewhat hard to plot, as it seems there’s always an oddball or two like this Volkswagen pickup-based R/V running around the English countryside. Here in the states, we’re accustomed to seein the Dolphin-branded Toyota pickups lugging around a camper shell, but this VW “Bishofberger” here on eBay UK is a refreshing change of pace and looks like a manageable package for the truck’s diesel engine. 

Inside, the clever packaging includes a sitting area, cook stove, and easily converts to beds once the table is stowed. The curtains offer plenty of privacy and the orange and white motif continues inside. It looks quite clean, which doesn’t necessarily surprise me as camping in the UK is truly a lifestyle – to pack up the camper van for holiday is quite common, and accordingly, they do it well. As I look to convert my HiAce to a camper van, I’m amazed at how many UK enthusiast groups exist for how to live a good life on the road.

The seller is clearly a VW / Audi dealer and/or mechanic, so I’d feel comfortable lodging a bid from afar. The large VW sticker out back likely didn’t come standard, but the stripe kit and “Bishcofberger” nomenclature certainly did. From this angle, you can appreciate the fact that this narrow VW pickup body didn’t add on too much extra girth with the camper attachment, seemingly barely any wider than the plastic fender flares over the wheels. Not that it matters in the US, but the camper does have a valid 12 month MOT.

If I’m reading the listing correctly, the powerplant was sourced from a third-generation VW Golf equipped with a TDI diesel. The MK3 platform showed up stateside from roughly 1993 to 1999, so parts availability should be manageable if you were to import this camper convert. Plus, the third generation TDIs were generally considered long-lived and torquey, an ideal combination for camper life on the road. The seller will help coordinate delivery to the US, so if the Dolphin doesn’t do it for you, this could be worth a look.

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Comments

  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    I wonder how that would handle with all the weight over the rear axel, assuming it’s a front wheel drive? It’s cute but not something I’d be interested in.

  2. etienne

    I don’t think the seller is a mechanic.. the engine is clearly not a TDI but a old TD (see the throttle cable) Engine code AAZ.

  3. Metoo

    Maybe I missed it. But nowhere in the ad or this article does it state what year the be is. Just a vague 93 to 99 reference for the platform.

    • Derek

      K reg makes it 1992-1993, I think.

  4. Etienne

    running mk3 golf tdi…

  5. whippeteer

    I’m guessing the MK3 engine gives a little more power than the original. Although probably still very slow. It would be fun to take a vacation in the UK and then bring it home.

  6. Ethan

    I had a 96 Passat TD aaz engine in an 83 vanagon with a high top. That thing moved. It had no problem keeping up and passing my wife’s Subaru in the passes around Tahoe. I wish we had more little campers like this in the US

  7. John T

    I remember way back when in the early 1980’s you could get a VW Rabbit (Wabbit for you Elmer Fudd fans) pickup as they were available in the U.S. for a few short years before the next (second) generation Rabbit (Wabbit) became a Golf in 1985. I think you could slide a small camper unit on it as long as it was not too heavy.

  8. Howard A Member

    Mmm, a Bishcofberger,,,, aaaggg.(drooling) What’s that? It’s not? Never mind,,,

  9. Sheffieldcortinacentre

    That’s a 92 vw caddy (golf caddy geddit) The mk1 shape was sold along with the convertible right through the 80s alongsidethe mk2 hatchback.

    The ad refers to the 5 speed gbox being from the later golf tdi.

    • Etienne

      I Don’t think so the gearbox is clearly a 020 not a 02A/02J…

  10. Alex B

    Well, it’s larger than some apartments in Japan…

  11. Brad C

    Not to be mistaken for the visually similar Presleyberger.
    R.I.P., Elvis.

  12. Joe Howell

    I had a Diesel Caddy with a cap and can assure you this rig would be slow to accelerate or climb mountains. In 5th gear with the A/C on it didn’t take much of an incline to make me downshift to 4th, sometimes 3rd and run with the semis in the slow lane.

  13. Rex Kahrs Member

    I used to like camping with my buddies. We’d drink beer, smoke cigars, strum guitars, throw the frisbee, then crash out on the ground in a sleeping bag. This type of rig would have been pure luxury in those days.

    Looking at it now, I wonder how I’d stumble outside and go pee in the middle of the night.

  14. W9BAG

    Gotta ask: what’s a m.o.t. ?

    • Alex B

      Ministry of Transport (certification)

  15. audifan

    A seller who can’t even spell the name of the vehicle he wants to sell does not get my time of the day.
    It’s Bischofberger.

  16. Kenny

    M.o.t. Is the annual test in the uk for road worthiness and emissions. stands for ministry of transport. W9BAG.

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