The day we met Gracie we were in Sydney 2012 collecting a kombi matt from a paramedic named Matt who owned this beautiful 1975, original Westfalia camper.
I was asleep, pregnant with Mae and so tired from the drive. George came and woke me up and said hey you need to come and see this kombi. If you sell Applejack we can buy her. I looked at him and can’t repeat what I said but in my heart nothing was going to replace my kombi.
George on the other hand had just found the kombi he’d spent years searching for and wanted her immediately. Only things holding him back was she wasn’t on the market and we definitely didn’t have the money.
She was almost the love of his life...haha George had only seen kombi’s this well equipped in photographs and in his dreams.
It was a couple of years later, we saw her come up for sale on the internet for $12k. We didn’t have that much money but we did have $5k so George called Matt and reintroduced himself and told him we were now hiring kombi’s and could we take her off his hands for $5k and pay $1k per month until she was paid off but Matt was so kind he said $500 per month until she was paid off. What a beautiful human!!!!
We felt like the luckiest people in Australia and George had finally met what had started his search for the 7 years prior and led to this business.
We love Gracie because of her authenticity. She is the original Westfalia Volkswagen campervan from Germany. What she is in the campervan range is what George describes as the GT Falcon of the Ford and Monaro of the Holdens. In Australia she is very rare.
We were extremely lucky with Gracie as she needed very little work to join the fleet. We changed the foam in her mattress but reused her original material and reupholstered her front seats using fabric from the top bed but otherwise she ran like a dream and joined the fleet in 2014.
The kids have loved growing up in Gracie as they swing her table around and colour in and play games while we drive. They ask to go to bed as they get to sleep up the top with their fairy lights and books and enjoy their own space while George and I have a wine and chill out below.
What makes Gracie even more special to us was she was never built for Australia. Vehicles like her were built for the American and European market and only ever made it to places like Australia as a personal import. A German gentleman who had migrated to Australia had purchased her directly from Germany and when she was ready he flew out to her and spent 12 months driving her around Europe. Having ownership of a vehicle in a foreign country for over 12 months entitled him to bring her into the country without tax bills attached. Matt had bought Gracie from this man so we are now the third proud owners of this rare Westfalia camper.
She started her life white however we weren’t completely in love with white so when a gig with HBO arrived it gave us a push to change her. Their film crew for The Outcasts wanted two kombi’s to look the same so they could film in different locations at once so we painted Gracie yellow to match Applejack and when they were finished with her we decided to paint her green.
We still aren’t sure this is her colour to be honest so watch this space.