BACK TRAKK: Trakka VW Camper Evolution

Developed from a childhood passion for adventure, Trakka remains a family owned and run business. Founder and Owner Dave Berry recounts,

When I was around 15, Dad purchased his first VW camper, one of the 1968/69 models. As soon as I got my licence, the adventures really started when I borrowed the camper and disappeared for days surfing up and down the coast or to the mountains for snow skiing. It sucked me in and from then all I did was breath outdoor adventure. I discovered most Australians at some stage in their life were like me, with a dream of freedom travelling around our great & diverse country.

And with that, Trakka was born. Throughout the 70s the market was broad with demand from diverse age groups; single younger guys in the surf scene, middle aged couples with young kids and retirees. While their requirements varied from weekend escapes to off road Australian adventures, they all essentially needed the same thing – comfortable self-contained living quarters on wheels, compact and easy to take just about anywhere. Over the next few minutes we’ll take you through an evolution of the Volkswagen Transporter based Trakka Campervan.

VW Range

Trakka VW specialists

VW T2 Transporter (2nd Generation)

Michael Lord heads up our Research and Development team. Luckily for us he has been with Trakka for 33 years, which meant we could interrogate him about our relationship with VW. During the 70s and very early 80s we saw the birth of the Bronco Overlanding Kombi (which conquered the Strzelecki Track in 1978), we mastered the low profile elevating roof in both ½ and ¾ lengths and introduced swivel front seats. Our cabinetry was made using water resistant marine plywood and before the days of ADR Approval we had the flexibility to custom build and tailor the interior layouts.

VW Camper Trakka Bronco

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1976 Trakka VW Campervan

VW T3 Transporter

The VW T3 started as Air-cooled and by 1985 we saw the 1st of the water-cooled engines. All engines were Petrol and the model included power steering. In 1988 ‘Syncro’ was introduced, which carried into the VW T4 and included the option of front & rear diff locks (you may have previously read about our Off Road Camper that raced in the 1990 Australian Safari).

Trakka introduced the full length gas strut assisted elevating roof with auto latching mechanism as well as the fixed Hi-roof option. We brought to the mix a swing out stove, which allowed for outdoor cooking and had 4 and 5 passenger seating (or 3/4 and full width bed) options. During this era we also saw Compliance Plate Approval introduced into Australia (a second stage compliance for motorhome manufacturers).

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VW t3 Syncro Camper

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Trakka T3 Kombi

VW Camper T3

VW T4 Transporter

Not only can we credit Mike for his notes for the T4 onwards, but also Martin Poate (Trakka’s General Manager) considering he played such a large role in Trakka sales for 23 years.

We saw the first of Front Wheel Drive Transporter’s, which meant a flat VW camper floorplan and diesel engines were also introduced into Australia for longer fuel range and more torque. During this time Trakka announced 3 primary conversions: Camping car, SWB Camper and LWB Camper. In the ‘Camping Car’ we used molded fiberglass units as it gave us more design options, simple customisation and worked really well for the short wheelbase vehicle as a ‘multipurpose vehicle’, not just a ‘Campervan’. The arrival of the LWB allowed us to move into a more traditional ‘Campervan’ build.

The largest change for us would have been the switch from flat to rear hinged tilted roof design. We moved away from canvas materials for roof sleeve and rear annexes and incorporated the gas strut assisted roof bed option. Trakka moved into adhesive manufacturing, meaning there were no mechanical fixing of an elevating roof and windows were bonded. All stoves were spirit fueled and we used the first sliding rear seat mechanism (seat belts not yet integrated for flexible travelling). Towards end of T4 we finished up with the swing out stove and we’d changed our thinking on indoor/ outdoor cooking. Not only did it create better use of room and entry space but also more beneficial with the use of the rotating front seats.

The T4 Transporter was so much more than a car. Not only did convert a bare shell into a VW camper but we also moved into wheelchair access and Passenger seating vehicles with the Omnibus (3-10 seater).

LWB Camper Raised 021

VW Camping Car Camping3

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VW T4 Interior

VW T5 Transporter

The new generation of Transporter lead us into the ‘Trakkadu’ concept. Features that have worked so well for us over a decade include integrating the awning into the pop top roof design, roller shutter doors to maximize living space and integrated seat belts into sliding rear seat system (passengers could travel at any position along the sliding rail). The indoor/outdoor dining table concept became standard, we introduced grey water holding tanks and composite flooring. For the off road enthusiasts, Volkswagen released the 4Motion with rear diff lock and Trakka started fitting Seikel equipment such as raised suspension kits right up to full ORP conversions.

In 2010, VW brought out the 2.0L 4 cylinder engine and DSG transmission so for the first time you could have All Wheel Drive with Auto transmission, which today we’d call the 400 and AT variants. Trakka’s most exciting update was deletion of LPG gas. The diesel cooktop became standard and gave VW Camper owners a single fuel sourced campervan.

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VW Trakkadu T5 Campervan

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VW T5 Campervan

VW T5 cooking

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VW T6 Transporter

Similar to Volkswagen’s thinking, Trakka wanted our market to know there was a new VW camper on the market with clear link to the past. We now offer more variants to suit different budgets, travel requirements and on/off road capability. More Volkswagen options have become standard (side airbags and rear parking sensors) as well as new offerings from Volkswagen including App Connect, Driver Alert and Post Collison Braking systems.

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VW T6 Trakkadu Bed

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Today’s Trakkadu is most refined campervan on the Australian market. The Trakkadu range has become even more multipurpose and defines what ‘the modern camper’ should be. We’ve removed curtains and brought in sleek window blind and screen systems, integrated and dimming LED strip lighting, electric side awning, crockery and storage as well as automotive linings. Whether you’re an off road intrepid traveller, love a surf trip, or an adventure to the countryside the Volkswagen Trakkadu campervan is the perfect vehicle for when you need more than just a car.


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