Buying a Camping-Car in Germany

I Aways had a dream that sometime I would buy a medium size van for conversion and go travelling. So when the insurance money from the pensions came through I started to look in the ads for a Van.........Shock Horror the PRICES for second hand vans was astronomical and matched the distance travelled!!

Any way while trawling through the net I discovered that in Germany (thanks to 'translate with live search' because my year of German fifty years ago wasnt up to it) the prices of second hand vehicles was a lot lower than in France.

Googleing Fiat Ducato I came across lots of already converted Camper vans for a reasonable price,

My actual dream had been an A class camper ie a caravan with an engine and no sign of the origional vehicle. The Top marque has always been Hymer so thats what went into the search engine and out popped lots from 1988 to 2010 and from €5000 to €50,000 plus.Any way to cut a long story short I shortlisted four and went to Germany by Car, trusting the Garmin GPS to get me there.

Now I've spent my life looking for defects in bits and pieces so wasn't about to fall for the first rust bucket I came across, you know how it is .'If it seems too good to be true then it is too good to be true' But after ruling one out because of the layout and the lack of a drivers door (they were considered an extra like BMC used to do with car heaters before the Japanese tought us how to build cars). I came across one that I couldn't find serious fault with.

Right, I said, I want it. Would you like a deposit?

Ya €1000 and the balance upon collection.

No problem, I said, lead me to your keyboard.

Logged into internet banking, no problem, asked the nice server to pass €1000 from Bank in Britain to some Deutcher Banke

Oh No says the not so nice server, we only talk to foreigners during our lunch break.

Embarassing pause.

I'll have to come back tomorrow.

Nein Ich bin im Dusseldorf tomorrow und mein frau is at Arbeit alles day.

Trust me?


Back to France to transfer cash.

Usual result, cash disappears from my account immediatly and reappears three days later in Germany, I drove there quicker!! But I expect the cash needed a break at a nice health spa.

I had to wait a week while the beast had a new cambelt and service before we caught several trains to collect it,

a phone call to the seller an hour before we were due to arrive insured that he was there to meet us and in our Vehicle!!!.

I took another look around searching for all the bits I had nightmares over missing and still couldnt find a problem,

drove it to the Local govt. Office where registrations are done, changed the ownership documents into my name, handed over a wad of cash and headed for Strasbourg.

It has a 2.5TD Fiat engine and I was worried that it wouldn't keep up with the traffic, but the Italian horses had a few secrets, there might only be 95 of them but they were packing lots of torque joy once out of second I never returned to it third was there but rarely used and we cruised all day in fourth and fifth. Over the Voges up and over the Auvergne.

Mont Dore held no nasty suprises and so home 1500 km or so and the consumption? 10l/100Km or 30mpg to me. happy bunny!!

I arranged French Insurance before I left on my safari to Germany ....Aloa assurances only needed a phone call giving the Temporary German plaque number to cover me fully comp. ran out of gas in the Vosges mountains and found out that German 'detendeurs do not fit French bottles, got an adapter tho in Brantome at Font-Vendome
But now the paperwork trail has started, I tried the phone number of Hymer-Eriba in France but it is disconnected, Hymer Loisirs and Hymer-France are on holiday as is Hymer in Germany but I've left messages for them to come back to me.Fingers crossed. Fiat France have taken my 145 euro cheque and so far not replied, off for a control technique now.

Will let you know how I get on but as the Germans dont get back from their holidays untill 3rd Sept I shall just have to run round with my German Export plates on.........which expired on the 8th!!!

Happy camping!!!

03 September 2010

The Paperwork trail or should that be spelt trial? continues, the nice people at Fiat France have accepted €145 for a piece of paper and Hymer- loisirs in France have come back from their Vacances and demanded a similar sum (€129) for their piece, ah well speculate to accumulate.

Removed the back box after a shakedown cruise to the Charente coast, felt at home there-but I grew up at Topsham-on-the-mud!!

Looks fabulous and I’m sure you will have many happy times xx

Hi, I live in the charente and I’m after a camper van too.Your experience was interesting.I’ve been looking at eriba campers, I like the vintage look! Your’s looks cool though.I speak German so I could buy over there.Was it worth it? Hows the camper running?


There’s probably others who would appreciate an update… please… :grin: