by Noel Anderdson
After having a 96 VW Transporter Trakka Synchro 2.4 diesel, which I bought in 2007 for a measly $22,500, I was off travelling around the country. My first trip was with three other motorhomes to Barcaldine in early 2007 for the CMCA rally (yes, I was in the big line-up). I did lots of other travelling, including the Leeton rally later that year and off to Western Australia to my great nephew's 21st Birthday. I had two nieces to catch up with as well, then back to the Eastern States and up home to Cairns.
I was at Earlville Shoppingtown in the van, when I was approached by a man who asked me if I wanted to sell the vehicle. I said everything is for sale at the right price and gave him a $29,000 price tag. He got a friend to come and check it out and within a hour or so handed me $1000 deposit, which I accepted thankfully. This was a Monday and by Friday the Transporter had been transferred to its new owner.
Then the panic set in. I was contemplating a new trip but this had put a spanner in the works. I had looked at the VW Caddy 1.9 diesel, with fuel economy in mind, and had also made a few layout designs and I quickly ordered a brand new 2008 Caddy Maxi from the Maroochydoore VW dealer. I still had a problem getting down south to pick the vehicle up, but this was solved when Dolly (who had hurt her arm) needed someone to drive Gypsy Dolly to Casino for the Solos Rally. This was a funny kind of trip, with people looking at me in this Gypsy Dolly Hi-Ace, and when I had the back doors opened there were earrings and necklaces hanging from the side curtain. I quickly explained the situation and (I think) this was accepted.
Finally, on 19th October, I picked up my Caddy and then I was off to get some prices to outfit the van. Eventually, Casey's RV in Bundaberg came up with a quote of $10,000, which I accepted and then we had to work out a time to do the fit-out. I must say this worked out well and a time was agreed on, which was bought forward because of a cancellation.
Fit For Purpose
The fit-out included a single 800 mm wide bed, 60 L fridge, 40 L water tank, sink, porta-potti, 380 W sinewave inverter, 120 AH AGM battery, a couple of LED lights and an inlet for the 80 W folding solar panel I would purchase in the following weeks. On the 19th November I took the train to Bundaberg to pick up my van and was very pleased with the workmanship of Casey's. I would recommend them to anyone thinking of fitting out a campervan or motorhome. There is hanging space and other cupboard space besides the under-bed storage.
I had the windows tinted and then done with the opaque white, which gives me privacy in day time without curtains and also some filtering of the sun. The name "Caddyshak" was printed on the rear window. Since then 25 mm foam and aluminium insulation has been added between the roof and existing board panels. There are a few things I would change if I were to outfit another Caddy.
I had a rear tent made (as per photo) and this was good, but since then I have just used a light rear-fitting tent I bought from BCF for $79. It works well and gives me the space to do my cooking, which is on a single burner (gas canister) stove. Two external tables have been made, one that can be fitted to the sliding door and one to the rear under the sink.
On The Road Again
As far as travelling is concerned there have been a variety of trips made in the Caddyshak, from 2-3 day trips to Townsville to watch the Cowboys play rugby league, to a major trip to WA for the 2011 Quairading Solos Rally. The trip to WA also included a detour to Lyndhurst, where I flew over Lake Eyre before travelling back to Port Augusta via the Stirling Ranges National Park. My first major trip was to Mundulla (SA) for the Solos rally in 2008, followed by other journeys around Quensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Easy to drive and very economical, the best fuel figure has been 5.9 L/100 km, but probably the average is around 6.5. I guess you can't have it both ways with room and economy. Travelling home from Mandurah to Cairns the fuel bill was around $102 per 1000k and considering the price of fuel and terrible headwinds all the way, other than the final 400 km, this was pretty good. When not away travelling the Caddy makes an ideal around-town rig, with 6-7 weeks on a 60 L tank being the norm unless of course I do some travelling up and other the Atherton Tablelands.
Very unusual is the usual message I get from people and some have even called it a Crampervan, but all are surprised by the amount of storage space. Even Ken Tame told me this was the only Caddy Campervan he has insured with his company.
Finally, I plan to explore more of the country in the future in the Caddy. Who knows where you will catch up with me?
Vehicle: Volkswagen Caddy Maxi 2008, 5 speed manual with cruise control. Extras: iPod connection, mini weather shields, roof rack.
For the full article download Issue 16 of iMotorhome eMagazine by clicking on the link below.