The Karmann Coachbuilts Club


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Formed in 2008, the Karmann Coachbuilts Club is the original and largest community of Karmann owners.


The club owns and operates the only "Karmann Coachbuilts Register" and at present this Register contains details of in excess of 500 Karmann's.


In June or July of each year the Karmann-Coachbuilt Club hold their UK National Treffen (meeting in German) in Leicestershire This provides our UK (and European) members with the opportunity to meet the other Karmann owners and friends both old and new.


Our website and forum have been created to allow all Karmann owners to share information about these vehicles and with the specific aim of helping all the VW Karmann owners enjoy Karmann experience to the full.




The UK National Karmann Treffen 2012


Germany National Karmann Treffen 2012


Details of the current events are in the Karmann Forum




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T2 Karmann Gipsy's


This is where the story of the Karmann Choachbuilt motorhomes begins.


During a visit to South Africa in 1974, Wilhelm Karmann Jr. (b.1914 - d.1998) saw a Jurgens motorhome built on the chassis of a Volkswagen Type 2 (Bay Window). He was so impressed that he requested licensed production. The Jurgens Type 2 motorhome had been launched the previous year in 1973.


The first motorhome produced by Wilhem Karmann was also based on the Volkswagen Type 2 chassis and was launched in 1974 also on the Type 2 chassis. The bodies of these early Karmannís were of a sandwich structure, had two beds, kitchen, shower, waste water tank, secondary battery, toilet, hot water heater and gas heating. It also came with the option of a luggage rack over the driving cab. These Karmann coachbuilts were - at the time - miles ahead of any of it's rivals in terms of build quality.


Production of these vehicles continued through until 1979. In total, it is believed the Type 2 Karmannís had a production run of approximately 1,000 units.


At present the "Karmann T2 Gipsy Register" contains details of just 16 surviving Gipsy's but there are many more out there dotted around the globe we don't know about.



T2 Karmann Safari's


Karmann-Ghia do Brasil Ltda was founded in 1959 in Brazil (a subsidiary of Wilhelm Karmann GmbH) and they became the only company and country outside Germany to produce Karmann Coachbuilt motorhomes.


This was entirely down to the great relationship between the then VW President Friedrich Schultz-Wenk and Karmannís Wilhelm Karmann Junior.


In the 1970s they started to produce their first Karmann Mobil motorhome - the Karmann Mobil Touring. Two years after the launch of the Karmann Touring, they then introduced the Karmann Safari.


Both the Karmann Touring and Karmann Safari were mounted on the VW T2 with a cabin walk-through to the rear living area and they became icons of Brazilian camping and both these models were based on the Karmann Mobil Gipsy (see above).


These Karmann's were produced until the mid-90s (we believe 1995) when production finally finished. Between the Touring and Safari's a total of about 560 (real number unknown) units were produced over this time period.



T3 Karmann Gipsy's and Cheetah's


With the introduction of the Volkswagen Type 3 (T25/Transporter/Vanagon) in 1979, Karmann gave their motorhomes a permanent overhead can area with a bed for two people. These vehicles were named the Karmann Gipsy and Karmann Cheetah.


The early Volkswagen Type 3ís were normally aspirated air-cooled engines and due to the low power to weight ratio of these vehicles, only a moderate performance could be expected. With the introduction of the 1.6 turbo-diesel engine, the Karmann Gipsy and Cheetahís went on to become one of the best-selling motorhome of the day. Production continued with the T3 until the early 1990's when it's successor based on the new VW T4 started.


In total 741 T3 Karmann Gipsyís were manufactured on the chassis of Volkswagen T3 (T25 / Transporter / Vanagon). This number excludes 30+ 14" wheeled Syncro models made between 1986 and 1989 and 7 Syncro 16″ wheeled models made between 1990 and 1992. Parallel to the Gipsy production, 113 Karmann Cheetahís were manufactured by Karmann between 1980 and 1992 to make a grand total of 891 T3 examples.


At present the "Karmann Register" contains details of 378 surviving Gipsy's and Cheetah's, but there are many more out there we don't know about. It is understood that there are 6 of these vehicles in North America, but 4 of these need to be confirmed. To our knowledge, 8 examples have so far been 'written off' or 'scrapped'  representing a 2.12% lost. If we were to apply that 'lost' percentage to the total Karmann production figures, this means there are a maximum of 870 surviving examples, however the exact number of surviving examples may never be known.


The Gipsy and Cheetah's on these pages and represented on the forum are just a mere 44.26% of the total Karmann Gipsy/Cheetah survivors. One wonders where are the others?


Total Gipsy's Produced: 778 Known examples surviving: 318 Survival Rate: 40.87%
Total Cheetah's Produced: 113 Known examples surviving: 52 Survival Rate: 52.00%


Considering that some of these vehicles are now 35+ years old it goes without saying that the Karmann brand were built to last.


Come on you Gipsy & Cheetah owners, let us know who and where you are!!


Updated Feb 2023.


Details of the Gipsy and Cheetah production figures and lots of other information can be found in the Members Area


LT Karmann Distance Wide's


During the years of 1978 to 1996 approximately 3,164 Karmann Coachbuilt LT Distance Wides were produced.


These models were named the LT28, LT M, LT L1, LT L2, LT L Distance Wide, LT L Distance-Wide Gold, LT H Distance-Wide, LT H Distance-Wide Gold, LT S Distance-Wide, and the ultimate Karmann of that time, the LT Distance-Wide Autovilla.


At present we have 60 Karmann LT's on our Karmann Register.


Therefore the Karmann LT's we know about represent is a mere 1.93% of the total Karmann LT production. We look forward to seeing to finding the rest.



Karmann MB100's


Content to be completed



Details of the Karmann LT Production figures and lots of other information can be found in the Members Area


T4 Karmann Gipsy's & Cheetah's


With the end of VW production in sight of the VW T3's, in 1990 VW introduced the VW T4. Building on the success of their T3 Gipsy and Cheetah range Karmann produced the T4 Gipsy's and Cheetah's.


A new coachbuilt section was designed and mounted on the VW T4 chassis.


The same high quality Burmese teak was used on the interior of the T4 Gipsy's while the T4 Cheetah's were given a harder wearing grey laminate (similar to the VW Westfalia's).


The T4 engines were found to be bullet-proof and very reliable.


Whilst over 1,500 T4 Gipsy's and Cheetah's were sold, Karmann were also developing and were soon producing in parallel their larger offering of motorhone - the T4 Colorado.



T4 Karmann Colorado's


Other than the Missouri's (see below) the T4 Colorado's were the last to be built on an all-VW chassis. At the beginning of production Karmann offered 3 types of the Colorado H models each having a different loading capacity from 2.4t to 3.3t.


The engines were a 2.4litre TDi(75Kw) 102PS.


LT Karmann Missouri


Mounted on the VW-LT35 chassis Karmann introduced the Missouri range from roughly 1996 and with two coachbuilt styles, the "H" with rear U-shaped lounge area and the "S" with the lounge area in the middle. Both models were identical in length (6.365m).


T5 & T6 Karmann Colorado's


First introduced by karmann in 2003. the T5 Colorado's were the first to have an Alko chassis attached to the drivers cab. The models were offered with four floor plans and 8 different models. From the compact Colorado 550 with a length of 5.685m to the Colorado 675 Ti measuring in at 6.839m long.



Other Coachbuilts - Foster & Day, Tischer, Jurgens and Bischofberger


Foster & Day Coachbuilts were British made (Foster and Day, 1050 Manchester Road, Castleton, Rochdale, Lancashire), but sadly they no longer exist. We currently know of 21 T3 based Foster and Days. While Foster and Day produced a limited number of Motorhomes and the VW T3 was just one base vehicle they used. They also built some larger motorhomes which based on the VW LT, GMC and Iveco chassis (the latter being all ex-Ambulances).


Tischer are more famously known for the demountable living units and we know that only 3 (possibly 4) Tischer Coachbuilts were ever made. These were built specifically for a customer of Tischer for the rental market. We know 2 Tischer Coachbuilts are still alive - one is in the UK. This makes the Tischer Coachbuilt the rarest of all the T3 Coachbuilts.


As all knowledgeable Karmann owner knows, the Karmann Coachbuilts design originated from Jurgens of South Africa back in the early 1970's. It is not known how many surviving Jurgens there are, but we do have one member who owns a T3 Jurgen. The T3 Jurgen's conversion is quite unique. We would welcome any further information on the Jurgens conversion (or indeed any of the coachbuilt types mentioned above).


Karmann Marketplace


Looking for parts and items for your Karmann Coachbuilt?

Maybe this might help.


>>> CLICK HERE! <<<


Club Flyers

No doubt you have spotted other Karmann's during your travels and thought "If I had a pen and paper,

I'd leave a note on their windscreen". Well, here is a club flyer for you to download. Simply save a copy to your PC, print a few copies and put them into your Karmann glove compartment for such occasions. Easy!

Club Flyer (English) Club Flyer (German)
Club Flyer (Dutch)  



T3 Karmann Gipsy & Cheetah - General Information


Gipsy and Cheetah Layouts

Gipsy and Cheetah Differences


Chassis Construction
Where can I find my Karmann Plate? What Gipsy Model do you Own?
Frequently Asked Questions

T3 Karmann Gipsy & Cheetah - Restoration Projects


VW T3 Karmann Gipsy Restoration

byTudor Morgan

VW T3 Karmann Gipsy Restoration

by Grenjs


VW T3 Karmann Cheetah Restoration

by Marv & Clare Jenings

(under construction)




*NOTE* A another 8 detailed restoration projects are inside the Members Area. These include 4x Gipsy's, 3x Cheetah's, a Tischer and soon to come A Foster and Day. *NOTE* 



T3 Karmann Gipsy & Cheetah - Technical Articles


How to TDI your Karmann Gipsy / Cheetah

by Chrismogs

A detailed and step by step guide on how to replace your 1.6JX TD with a 1Z 1.9 TDi Engine. What

Parts you need, Work Sequence and a Pictorial Work Sequence containing over 100 photographs.

Another Gipsy TDi Conversion

by GrenJS

Another detailed TDi conversion from a 1.6 TD JX to a Volkswagen 1Z 1.9 TDi engine.

Parts you need, Work Sequence and a Pictorial Work Sequence containing over 100 photographs.


Gipsy TDI Turbo Intercooler Modification

by Chrismogs



Karmann LT Information


Which LT Model do you own? The LT Gold - The Ultimate Karmann?
Karmann LT Models Differences Volkswagen LT Club Holland
German LT Site

  LT Distance Wide - Restoration Projects



1995 LT Distance Wide

 by stephenc

(under construction)




Karmann Missouri & Colorado Information


Colorado Layouts  


General Karmann Information


Location Map - Where are we all? "In The Press"
Bungalows With Attitude!! Dimensions (Weight / Sizes etc etc)
How to connect the Electrical Hook-Up  


Useful Links


Looking to buy a Karmann? Try these links


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The Official Karmann Site
The Karmann Brochure Download Site
The Karmann Mobil Club in Germany
Professional Engine Conversions

Recommended to all T3 Owners

Club80-90. The Essential site for any

1980-1990 T25 / Vanagon / T3 / Gipsy owner

This forum is both friendly and very helpful.  Dutch Karmann Gipsy & Cheetah Site
Brochures from C.Boltze   Karmann Brochures & Pricelists




There is a lot more Information, Technical Articles, Restorations etc inside the Members Area




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