Benjamin Davies

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Read Practical Motorhome's Danbury Diamond Classic review – it's bright and colourful, but what's it like to live in?

Design

The bay window T2 is a design classic, with its bug eyes, boxy shape and nose-mounted spare wheel carrier. To these time-tested ingredients, Danbury adds a canvas-sided plastic elevating roof, which lifts on gas struts, and a vast choice of bespoke paintwork treatments.

It’s a classic VW camper interior layout – that is, a side kitchenette with a rock-and-roll style rear seat bench that converts into a double bed. The sliding passenger door remains on the UK driver side, and the grab handle for clambering into the cab is behind the steering wheel, but these are small concerns: what you’re buying is a cult classic that gets you plenty of waves and smiles from fellow road and site users.

On the road

For anyone used to piloting motors with power-assisted steering, driving the T2 is an acquired taste: heavy steering that’s susceptible to crosswinds (despite the near-essential Direct Drive option) and ponderous brakes (now servo-assisted front discs, rear drums). Some testers complained that working the gearbox, with four forward gears and one reverse, is like stirring porridge, and have found it difficult to select gears.

Nevertheless, the T2 gets to 70mph easily enough, and engine noise from the rear-mounted unit is acceptable. Fuel efficiency reached 28.4mpg and there are two fuel tanks on either side of the ’van: one for petrol, one for bio-fuel.

The cab is basic: a CD/radio plus four speakers does the job of entertainment, but there are no ABS brakes or airbags. Diamond models have three lap belts for the passenger seat bench, so five can travel safely, plus there’s heated front and rear windscreens.

Lounging & dining

When it comes to lounging, dining and mealtimes, the T2 only has the basics. A table fixes atop a free-standing leg, which is stored under the seat bench. The table itself stashes behind the cab passenger seat when not in use.

Kitchen

A two-burner gas hob and grill will only cope with light, two-saucepan meals, and a 40-litre, 12V compressor-type fridge will carry just enough for a couple of days’ touring, but will flatten the leisure battery off hook-up in under eight hours.

Sleeping

The seat bench quickly makes up into a double bed, and an extra foam cushion lies on top of the rear storage shelf and inspection hatch. It makes for a comfortable, flat surface.

Hinged plywood forms the base for the optional roof bed (£399), and is sturdy enough for children. Directional ball and socket reading lights and fluorescent strips provide interior lighting (though not for the roofbed), while silverscreens for the cab windows and curtains for all of the interior windows provide nighttime privacy.

In compact confines though, it’s a real achievement to sleep four in reasonable comfort.

Storage

With the leisure battery and charger sited under the passenger seat bench, storage is limited. There’s a shelf at the rear for bedding and some gear, but no wardrobe, and no lockers other than the kitchenette.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats5
MTPLM2300kg
Payload285kg
Length4.38m14′4″
Width1.81m5′11″
Height2.12m6′11″
Kitchen Equipment
Waeco Compressor Fridge, 2-burner gas hob, Separate grill
Security
Immobiliser

Verdict

There are countless motorhomes out there on the market that are twice as expensive, three times as big, and equipped with five times as much kit. But few have a fraction of the charm or spirit of fun the Danbury packs into its compact proportions.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It's very cool
  • Iconic retro styling
  • Classic Volkswagen campervan layout.

Cons

  • On-road manners are suspect
  • Lacks refinement
  • Short on storage space and creature comforts.
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