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1970 Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi Lovingly Reimagined As Quaint Gypsy Wagon

This Gypsy Wagon story is a guest submission by Diane Michna, share your story here!

Diane got ahold of a 1970 Volkswagen Type 2 Bay Kombi bus, and using her imagination, help from talented friends, and an antique sewing chest (among other great vintage finds) turned the vehicle into a “Quaint Gypsy Wagon”.

Volkswagen Type 2’s were introduced in 1950, as the company’s second car model.

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“The Quaint Gypsy Wagon”: Slowing down traffic since 1970.

Gypsy wagon motorhome

She had her friend, the late Richard Lagewaald, make a Z-Bed out of the parts from the fake rear bench. Once the bed was in, she was free to create her “dream get-away”.

Set up for camping

I would like to introduce you to Cikan Vuz, The Quaint Gypsy Wagon. I acquired her back in March or 2009. When she came to me, she had nothing inside (other than front seats) but a fake rear seat and some wooden side panels, and her exterior was a sanded down spray paint tan theme.

Since then I have repainted her exterior in a flat sandy tan color “Frappe” and added custom lettering and phrases to her sides, depicting her name and lifestyle.

I began with an antique sewing chest that I had purchased over 30 years ago, finding it perfect for the job as it was sturdy enough to withstand constant travel vibration and the drawers locked.

I also had an old copper bowl and a vintage hand-pump, so I went to work.  I made two holes in the top of the cabinet; one for the hand pump and one for the copper bowl sink. I obtained two 6 gallon BOA free water containers and some water line and installed them, with there being a tank of fresh water to the hand pump, and a tank from grey water from the sink.


I installed faux copper tin ceiling panels on her ceiling and then created a gallery-rail shelf that goes around her uppermost interior sides and across the back. She also carries a vintage Coleman upright ice box and two vintage wicker box dressers for additional storage of clothing and such, as well as a small portable butane stove and antique Coleman oven for cooking and baking (outdoors of course).

There is a discreet porta-potty inside as well for emergencies and dry-camping times. I also use a small gel-fuel chimera and candles for warmth on those chilly winter nights when camping.

Inside the Gypsy-inspired camper.

Interior of Gypsy Van

Diane says that although the camper has been in only one show – it won “overall winner”!

Everywhere I take her, people take pictures of her, even if I drive her to the local supermarket, she draws attention, and holding true to her saying I painted to her divers side “Slowing down traffic since 1970” as even while on the road, people will  go to pass and then slow down and snap pictures of her as we drive along, then wave and go on their way.

I describe driving my “Cikán Vůz” as Serene and Sans Souci, as that is how I feel whenever I am in her or driving her, or heck, just thinking about her as she is one of my favorite items in the world, family member even and if it is possible to love an item, I sure love her.

Inspirational saying on the door.

Saying on door


Inside from rear


Travel stickers

The awning is made from a repurposed antique linen tablecloth and matching napkins. She UV treated and waterproofed it so it will last for many years to come.

Linen tablecloth awning

Lake Hemet campingPassenger side

The Gypsy Wagon in her element.

Outdoor campsiteFor more on Diane’s VW Gypsy Wagon, visit her website.

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